Writing Your Life Story

A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO WRITING YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY

By NANCY SMITH

Section 1
Show how to plan your book (essential if it is to be a coherent read and not a confusing jumble of memories), how to select and organize your material and structure individual chapters. Advice is offered on developing a good writing style (finding your own ‘voice’, as it is sometimes called). Finally, the importance of beginnings and endings, both of chapters and the book as whole, is discussed and illustrated with examples from published autobiographies.

Section 2
Demonstrates how to make your story more colourful and entertaining, and thus an interesting and entertaining read , by using those techniques employed by all successful fiction writers,

Section 3
Tell how to write up separate episodes of your life which you may then, if you wish, try to sell to newspaper or magazines in the form of feature articles. In order to make the larger project seem more manageable, to help you gain confidence in your writing ability and ‘test the water’, initially, by producing short pieces, you may like to study this section , first.

Section 4
Suggest ways of taking your life story a step further, if you wish, in the form of an autobiographical novel, perhaps, or writing up your family history. Or you might think of recording other people’s stories, those of family members or neighbours, maybe, so that these will not be lost to posterity.

Section 5
Deals with the practical aspects of writing which you also need to consider. This includes the importance of correct grammar and spelling (mentioning a few of the main errors), the right way present your MS(Manuscript)/typescript to an editor, matters of copyright and libel and so on.

Section 6
Contains several pieces of autobiographical writing which illustrate something of the wide variety of people’s lives. A few of these have already appeared in print while the authors of others are still seeking publication.

How to begin

1. If at all possible, find some space for yourself, even if it is only a table in a corner of a room, where you can not only write but can keep your MS safely in folder, lay out your notes , photographs or any memorabilia that will help you in your task.

2. Try to organize your daily routine so that you have at least an hour or so at the same time each day because our minds are rather like clocks, they work best if wound up regularly.

3. Make a habit of jotting down any ideas, incident or episodes immediately they occur to you. Just a few key words

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