Write A Story About Your Life – Would-be autobiographers often mail us asking, “How can I write my story?” Try these 7 life writing tips to get you started:
There are many ways to approach life writing. You can follow a non-fictional approach and place dates, facts and memories as close to the events as possible.
- 1 Write A Story About Your Life
- 2 You Define Your Own Life. No One Gets To Write Your Story.
- 3 Amazon.com: Writing Story Of Life Wall Art Wall Decal Quote Vinyl Lettering When Writing The Story Of Your Life (black, Small)
- 4 Your Life Is Your Story
- 5 Tips For Writing Your Life Story
Write A Story About Your Life
The second option is fictionalizing and blurring the line between fact and fiction. This approach to life writing can be helpful if you want to:
Steps To Writing A Story About Your Life — Pictures And Stories
Barth gives the reader excerpts written in the third person, interspersed with captioned photographs of his youth. For example, in a passage entitled “Arrogance” he writes:
He has no attachment to victory proclamations. Tired of being insulted by others, when he sees victory somewhere, he wants to go somewhere else. Barth, Roland Barthes, p. 46.
By describing himself in the third person, Barthes gives the reader information about his thoughts and values, much like a typical autobiography. However, in their fragmented third-person presentation (no narrative), they become more like short, philosophical musings, rather than a traditional linear “story” with character development. memoir much has been said
For example, will your book contain birth-to-date details? Or several weeks or months spanning either side of an important life event?
The New Way To Write Your Life Story: The 10 Themes Of Legacy Writing
First-person narrators in fiction provide us with examples of descriptive approaches to time that we can adopt in writing about our own lives.
Starting from the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I am told and believe) on a Friday at twelve o’clock at night. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield (1850), p. 5 (Wordsworth edition of 1992).
I was born in Blunderston in Suffolk, or “so” as they say in Scotland. I was a posthumous child. My father’s eyes were closed to the light of this world for six months when my eyes were opened. Dickens, David Copperfield, p. 6.
This approach to time gives a linear sense of the way life progresses from childhood onwards. This is a common narrative approach among many
You Define Your Own Life. No One Gets To Write Your Story.
For example, you might begin with an important event that occurred at the end of adulthood and return to scenes from the past that highlight the background story and help the reader understand how later events unfolded. what was the reason.
Many writers feel intimidated when starting work on a new project. This is often especially acute when you’re writing about more personal experiences where you don’t have the protective shell of fictional characters.
When Virginia Woolf’s famous biographer Hermione Lee was asked if fear was a useful emotion for the biographer, she replied:
Fear must somehow be channeled into the energy of action. When you do this, I think you should feel that she is yours and that you are the only one who understands her. But to reach that feeling, you have to deal with and overcome the fear. Hermione Lee, interviewed for The Paris Review in “Hermione Lee, The Art of Biography No. 4”, available here.
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I go to my desk every morning and I hear these little voices saying, “He doesn’t know what he’s doing!”. And I raise my hand and just sweep, sweep them off the table.’
Find your own way to calm any fears, whether it’s changing the names of big celebrities or even completely inventing your life.
The life of any person is a vast collection or treasury of important experiences and memories. As Hermione Lee says, the enormity of this “source material” can seem overwhelming.
As an initial step in deciding how to write your life story, summarize the main events you want to include. Try to write just two lines for each event or scene you’re thinking of including (you can create and organize scene summaries in our scene builder).
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Great life writing (like great fiction) often has an essential internal conflict and/or external conflict at its core. The main stress or experience facing the autobiographer. tweet this
As in fiction, in life writing in the memoirist’s voice helps create a distinct sense of character.
Acclaimed memoirist and poet Mary Carr gives great advice to aspiring biographers in her book
Every great memoir lives or dies 100 percent based on the voice. This is the author’s experience delivery system – the high-bandwidth cable that delivers sparkling clarity to every pixel of indoor and outdoor experiences. Mary Carr, The Art of the Memoir (2015), p. 35.
A.d. Posey Quote: “your Life Is A Story. Write The One You Want To Read.”
Carr cautions readers not to hide aspects of his voice to appear more attractive. She said:
The voice must allow for a range of emotional tones—very wise, and denying sympathy; Very pathetic, and it’s bittersweet. This distance from both the material and the reader varies and varies – from quiet and hesitant to high strung and close. The writer does not so much choose these styles as he is born, based on who he is and how he has experienced the past. Carr, p. 36.
In Carr’s chapter, “Truth Contract Upends Writer and Reader,” she discusses the value of telling the truth (rather than “exciting yourself” to your audience):
But how does telling the truth help the reader’s experience? Let’s say you had a very bad childhood – tortured, ridiculed and hungry every day – beaten a lot with belts and pipes etc. You can write repetitive, rubber-knife, boring sad memoirs. But will it be “true”? And is that true of how you hold it locked now, or the lived experience of that time? Back then, those same bullies were probably feeding you something, or you would die. Carr, p. 2.
Your Life Is Your Story
Carr’s words emphasize that the “truth” is often more complex than what makes us look good (or makes others look bad).
An important lesson in learning how to write your life story is how to portray people as more than heroes and villains. In fact, to show slices of life between people’s better and worse choices, more complex images with more colors (and more shades of gray) emerge. As Carr says:
It’s the inequities of your childhood, your life in the midst of kicking ass, that give the reader sharp relief to the pain of the past. Carr, p. 2. 7. Get help getting your life story right
Writing a memoir or fictional autobiography is challenging because you’re dealing not only with the standard story elements (conflict, narrative, voice, and more), but also with personal areas. Some of these may be more challenging to revisit (or capture in prose) than others.
My Life Story Book — Paper Wings
Because of the many challenges involved (including the challenge of subjectivity), don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Carr writes about submissions that include drafts of memoir manuscripts to ensure that embellishments don’t detract from the persona or the story. Beta readers can make valuable contributions, especially if they were spectators or active participants in the events you describe.
You can also enlist the help of a writing coach to help you weave personal experiences and anecdotes into a better, complete story.
Jordan is a writer, editor, community manager and product developer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Music from the University of Cape Town.
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