Denis Ledoux



I believe in the power of telling our personal and family stories. These are our hero's journeys, and by telling them we honor ourselves and the people we have come from. An important early task for the writer is go inside and find the story that is worth telling. The story is not about "nice" words; it is about honest words, visceral words.


Stories have always played an important role in my life. I grew up in a three-generation home with paternal grandparents who lived upstairs. I heard tales of my extended family and their history recounted by the family storyteller, my grandmother Ledoux. These stories were a food for my soul. I could not get enough of them, and her gift to me was that she was a voluble, entertaining storyteller.

I began writing as a short-story writer, drawing on family characters, settings, and stories for my fiction. In 1989, I won the Maine Fiction Award for Mountain Dance & Other Stories. My other titles include What Became of Them and Other Stories from Franco-America (1988), and Lives in Translation: An Anthology of Contemporary Franco-American Writings (which I edited in 1990). In 1992, I published (and it is still in print) Turning Memories Into Memoirs / A Handbook for Writing Lifestories; in 1996, The Photo Scribe / How to Tell the Stories Behind Your Photos; in 2009, The Consumer's Guide to Ghostwriting, in 2013, a memoir—We Were Not Spoiled. E-publication includes the books listed here in Smashwords as well as others.


It was a natural leap from my own family stories to helping others to record their stories in well-written accounts that apply all the techniques of fiction writing to autobiography, family reminiscence, and scrapbooking.

In 1996, I was honored as Lifewriting Professional of the Year by the Association of Personal Historians.


Today, I continue to work as a writer, educator, teacher, autobiography co-author, memoir-writing coach, editor and publisher. I direct The Memoir Network, an international group of lifestory writing teachers who use my method and materials to lead the popular Turning Memories® and Photo Scribe® workshops and programs.

My Memoir Network offers Memoir Professional Packages for individuals wishing to do what we call memoir work in their communities. [] Please inquire if you are interested in becoming a Memoir Professional.


You will find a number of my memoir-writing e-books on Smashwords. Begin to purchase them now so as to develop your memoir-writing library. These are the best memoir-writing books available anywhere at any price.


If you need more than these great books, give me call at 207-353-5454 for a free consultation to determine whether coaching, editing, or ghostwriting is a good fit for you.

Keep writing and stay in the memoir conversation.

Smashwords Interview

So tell us a little about your interest in memoirs. What got you started? How much did your passion to find your own story figure into the mix?
As a child, like many people who write or teach memoirs, I was a story listener. My grandparents lived upstairs from my family, and when they had family visiting, I would go up to their apartment to listen to everyone. I would (literally) sit at their knees on a stool, and without especially looking at either my grandfather or grandmother, I would listen attentively. In my workshops when I ask how many attendees were this kind of kid, I am always see a majority of people lift their hands. It’s just who we are and who I was. It’s a gene memoir writers have

So, I’ve always been passionate about personal stories. Why did something happen? How did you feel about it? How did you react and why? What did others do and say? Later, I went to the university far away and said to my friends, “You know how when you were little and your granduncles and grandaunts were visiting and you wanted to hear about how it was when they were little or when they were young and so you hung around to hear the stories.” I was genuinely surprised when people responded with “I don’t know where you grew up, but where I grew up, people weren't like that.”

But, they were wrong. There were people like that were they grew up. I have come to understand that the difference between these people who were my friends in college and me was not where we grew up but some part of who they were and some part of who I was. They did not have the memory gene.

At one point, naturally enough, I wrote autobiographical fiction and I would read from my stories to audiences. Since my tales were historical—often my history I would ask people for their story, their history. It was not much of leap from there to leading the Turning Memories Into Memoirs workshops and then producing all my books that enabled people to write their stories.

Of course, I also wanted to preserve the stories I heard in my childhood and I wanted to write about my own life and have done so extensively. One of my favorites is We Were Not Spoiled, a memoir I co-authored with my mother.
Your interest in memoir writing goes way back to the late 1980s. What was it like in those early years before the popular surge in interest? Did people look at you like you were crazy?
When I started leading memoir-writing workshops in 1989, people would say things like, “I have this crazy idea that I want to write a memoir.” So they didn’t look at me as if I were crazy—they looked at themselves that way. Many were apologizing for wanting to leave a lifestory behind. By about 1995, I wasn’t hearing that any more. It had become part of the culture to leave a memoir.

I did not meet any other memoir professionals until I went to the Association of Personal Historians conference in Amherst Massachusetts in 1996. (Shameless plug: they voted me 1996 Memoir Professional of the Year!) Before then, the only people I was aware of who were engaged in memoir work were academics whose books I had read. Until that conference, I thought I was a one-of-a-kind.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Denis Ledoux online

Where to buy in print


Memoir Writing 101 / 10 Steps to Crafting a Compelling Memoir
Price: Free! Words: 5,380. Language: English. Published: June 24, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Ever wish you had a short guide to outline which most important steps to take—before you invest too much time and energy—to write the best memoir you are capable of? This book is the guide you were looking for! This little book has great must-do suggestions. As a workshop leader, coach and editor, Ledoux has helped many would-be writers to shape memoirs that have found appreciative audiences.
We Were Not Spoiled, A Franco-American Memoir
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 53,690. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
To read We Were Not Spoiled: A Franco-American Memoir by Lucille Ledoux as told to her son, memoir author and teacher Denis Ledoux, is to travel back in time and place and experience the daily life of a woman from a different generation. When Denis’ mother, Lucille, was in her mid-eighties, he decided to preserve the stories about her life he had heard throughout the years.
How to Write to the End / Eight Strategies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,900. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
How to Write to the End / Eight Strategies will help you write and finish your memoir.
The Photo Scribe: How to Write the Stories Behind Your Photographs
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 26,400. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Art, Architecture, Photography » Crafts - General, Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Reference
The guide for scrapbookers who want to give the stories the same care as the photos in their albums.
The Nice-Nice Club Holds Its Last Meeting
Price: Free! Words: 7,640. Language: English. Published: March 12, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Relationships and Family » Dysfunctional relationships
In this short, tightly-written memoir, a family of adult siblings disintegrates when the aging mother who invested in holding the family together is no longer able to do so. In The Nice-Nice Club Holds Its Last Meeting, the family's "we love one another" façade which had “worked” for a long time crumbles, showing inner workings that were badly in need of fixing.
Memoir Writing Maps 101
Series: The Memoir Writing Guides. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,650. Language: English. Published: April 5, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Biography » Personal memoir
Want to write better memoir? Memoir Writing Maps 101 shows you proven ways to access pertinent, detailed memories that make for vivid, interesting lifestories. The book is full of tested strategies to explore memories that add meaning to a story (and its characters) so that your tale comes alive. "Maps" is especially useful for a writer who claims to be blocked or unable to remember. Great value.
How to Add Stories to Your Photo Albums
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 2,790. Language: English. Published: April 3, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
How to Add Stories to Your Photo Albums/ Photo Scribe Your Scrapbooks gives a quick introduction to making sure pictures saved in scrapbooks tell more of the story of one's life. Tips and techniques included in this book help take photo albums beyond what is visible in the images.
Don't Let Writer's Block Stop You
Series: The Memoir Writing Guides. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 9,020. Language: English. Published: March 13, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
WHO FACES WRITER'S BLOCK? At one time or other, every writer faces "writer's block." For some, this will doom them to a tedious halt. It may even bring a deadly blow to the manuscript. For others, writer's block is temporary and they push through, producing a manuscript that's better than the one they had originally conceived. In this book, you'll learn techniques and practices to get going again.
Your Memoir: Getting Started, Keeping Going
Series: The Memoir Writing Guides. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 6,100. Language: English. Published: February 27, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Literacy, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
Your Memoir: Get Started is full of proven ideas and approaches to successfully move you from wanting to write to producing the finished family stories or memoirs you know will be a treasured legacy for your children and grandchildren.
Jumpstart Your Memoir Business Success
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 6,300. Language: English. Published: January 25, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Small business and entrepreneurship, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Home-based businesses
Jumpstart Your Memoir Business helps Memoir Professionals—people who teach, coach, edit, ghostwrite memoirs—to establish sound business practices so that they will be able to continue in this important work while reaping the financial and emotional rewards it offers. Denis Ledoux's extensive experience with memoir work is featured throughout this book. A must-read for Memoir Professionals.
A Consumer’s Guide to Ghostwriting Services
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 11,540. Language: English. Published: January 18, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
You don't have to be a writer to create an interesting and meaningful memoir. Within A Consumer’s Guide to Ghostwriting Services, you will learn all about working with a ghostwriter or co-writer.
The Memory List Question Book 101
Series: The Memoir Writing Guides. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 4,270. Language: English. Published: January 10, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Education and Study Guides » Literacy
The Memory List Question Book 101 is chock full of questions. It includes some of the most useful questions you can ask yourself as you write about your own life or your subject's life. This book will direct you to recover information that will make your lifestories accurate and vivid.

Denis Ledoux's tag cloud

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