help in writing a biography
The biography is a popular creative writing form. You may wish to document your family history and want to record the life story of an ancestor. The bulk of my biography clients want to write their own life story, which, of course, is then termed an autobiography.
Writing an autobiography does not mean you are vain or self-seeking. Your life is unique and you have experienced many changes, lived through historical events and eras and done much. You have experienced times of sadness, joy, defeat and triumph. Told well, details of the most humble life and career can be as interesting as that of an astronaut or movie star. Even if you feel the world would not be interested in your life story, your children and grandchildren certainly would be.
As well, exploring old family photos can be fun. You never know what you might find.
Even a ghost image! Look closely at this old photo. Supposed ghost images attract a lot of attention, but is this strange naked and headless torso a ghost in the photo or just a superimposition caused by the film not winding on? There also seems to be a disembodied face separate to the torso and out of proportion, as well as a tiny face superimposed on the chest. At least I know the photo is genuine. That solemn little boy is me!
The problems you face
- Where do you start? There are so many possible starting points other than recording the date you were born. You could start at a key point or major change and work backwards or start with your grandparents and work forwards.
- What do you include? Some details are trivial and boring. Some unlikely aspects can be fascinating. As author, you can be too close to the subject to know the difference.
- What should you leave out? The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is fine for the courtroom, but can end up seriously hurting someone you care about ... or see you sued for defamation! When you write an autobiography, it's seldom just your own life that is covered.
- What narration style will you use? Yes, there are many and it is always a choice. What anecdotes will you use and will you try to present dialogue? It's possible you will try to draw a moral or find a theme. What tone will underlie the text? Will you address it to someone in particular?
- What structure will best suit your work? You must make a decision about the use of chapters and your divisions - decades, great events or places you've lived, perhaps. Will you incorporate photos and other documents? Will you make excursions into famous events or maybe describe fads and fashions.
- Do you have the basic writing skills? Of all the questions, this is the first one that pops into many potential writers' minds and scares them off before they start. Many of my clients make tentative inquiries and say "I wasn't all that good at school' or 'It's a long time since I was at school.' Some will come right out and say: "I can't spell and I don't know where the commas should go." Again, that's where I come in.
it's not so hard to write an autobiography with a little mentoring help
- Free Autobiography Writing Skills Assessment: If you do have some writing problems, let's find out what they are and deal with them. To download the free assessment task sheet, click HERE.
- Autobiography Mentoring Starter Deal - $59 With questionnaires and an email dialogue, we will answer all the questions listed above and set you up ready to write. From here you can either go it alone, or continue with the full mentoring service. For further information and application, click HERE.
- Full Mentoring Package: The full service starts with an obligatory autobiography mentoring starter deal ($59) to ensure your overall autobiography strategy is sound. Thereafter, I work with you on a chapter-by-chapter basis, which includes a regular email dialogue until you are ready to proceed with the next portion. This service costs just $7 per 1000 words. That's right! A 3000 word chapter would cost $21. For more detailed information and application, click HERE.
- Full Line Edit: Whether I have mentored you through the writing process or not, you would probably like to have your work checked for errors of spelling, grammar, expression and punctuation before you publish it or distribute it to family. The average manuscript edit costs $1.50 per 100 words; however, I usually discount this for mentoring clients. For editing fees, see my other Oz-Edit Proofreading site.