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    MsJacquiiC Poetica Magnifique

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    An autobiography is a story written by you about you. It is the story of your life. It can be written for private use, as well as for publication. A private autobiography is a priceless gift for both yourself and those you choose to share it with.

    An autobiography is the story of an individual's own life. It is your chance to tell your story. Whether you are writing one page or 500 pages, the basic principles are the same.
    A public autobiography can be inspirational to others. Read on to learn how to write an autobiography.

    Autobiography vs. Memoir
    A person's autobiography is often large in scope, encompassing a large part of the person's life. A memoir is a type of autobiography but has a much more narrow focus. It may only be about a specific time in the person's life rather than the person's entire life up until the writing of the work.

    Growth of Autobiographies as a Literary Form
    While some autobiographies date back to the 1500's, it could be said that the autobiography really came into it's own as an art form during the Romantic movement. This time period, from the late 18th Century through the 19th Century, saw an increased interest in individualism. People began to write down the story of their lives. Due to the rise in education, more people could read and had an interest in books. People in the public's eye, what we might call a celebrity today, took the opportunity to do some self-promotion. The people loved these books, and more were written.

    Autobiographies and Subjectivity
    The interesting aspect to autobiographies is the subjectivity of the material and the mind's inability to remember all facts as they happened. Our memories can sometimes deceive us, making the memories perhaps happier or sadder than they really were at the time. While autobiographies are supposed to be true accounts of someone's life and times, they can also be exaggerated or manipulated in many ways.

    An autobiography is the story of an individual's own life. It is your chance to tell your story. Whether you are writing one page or 500 pages, the basic principles are the same. You need to gather the facts, organize them into an outline, and write your story.

    Step 1: Gather Facts
    Brainstorming. Many people have heard the term, and many student writers try to avoid this part of writing. However, brainstorming is the most important part of virtually every writing endeavor.

    Start by writing down everything you know about yourself and your history. You may not use it all in your autobiography, but by assembling as much information as you can, you increase the potential for a rich and detailed story.

    The reason this step should be done is because of the rich information that you can mine from your own brain. You'll need these details in order to flesh out your autobiography. You can begin writing this as a list or in narrative form. Some people prefer to use mapping or clustering activities. Whichever you prefer, you should get down as much information as possible. Leave your internal editor off for this activity. In other words, do not censor yourself now or you may lose important memories.

    1. Begin by writing down your own memories. If you get stuck for ideas, just start a new sentence with, "I remember when..."
    2. Reminisce through old photos and yearbooks, taking notes as you remember people and events.
    3. Talk to your friends and loved ones. They may remember different things, or have a different perspective on events than you do.
    4. Go to the library and look up magazines and newspapers from various time periods in your life. What were the major world events that occurred during your life? What were you doing when they happened?
    Keep in mind that you may not use all of the information that you gather in this part of the writing of your autobiography. You want the final story to read cohesively, not just be a brain dump of memories onto a page.

    You can return to this activity at any part of the writing process as well. You don't have to stop brainstorming just because you have begun to write your story.

    Step 2: Organize Your Information
    After you've assembled all your data, you'll need to sort through it and organize it before you begin to write. This will ultimately form the outline for your story.

    The purpose of this exercise is not to limit you to just these chronological events, but to help you continue to gather and refine ideas as you begin to write. If you find that you have gaps of information at any time, you can use these steps to help you go back and fill them in:
    1. Layout a chronological timeline, including dates, events, and who was involved at each point.
    2. Look at the timeline, and identify any gaps. Is there any source you can use to get more information about periods that seem to have big gaps?
    3. Group the events into subcategories.
      1. A simple way to group this is by time period.
      2. You can also group events by theme.
    You will probably find as you go along this process that you are constantly revisiting the steps on this page. Writing is almost never a linear process. New memories will emerge as you write about other ones. You will be in writing and editing mode at the same time. It is best, however, to try and continue to write as much content down as possible before starting serious editing. You can get bogged down in the editing process and never move forward on your autobiography. If you get stuck at any point, just start back at the beginning of these steps, regroup, and start writing again.

    Step 3: Write Your Story
    As with all good writing, you need an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. However, you do not need to actually write your autobiography in this order.

    In school, many of us learned to write our introductions first, the body second, and the conclusion at the end. Most professional writers do not write in this strictly linear way. You can start writing your story at any point and then add and delete information as necessary. Writing is a recursive activity. That means that you will revisit the ideas and sections over and over throughout the course of writing the story of your life.

    Here are some more ideas:
    1. Although the body will probably start at the beginning, the introduction does not need to start with your birth. Select a memorable event, and write about it.
    2. If you're not sure where to start, select an event, and write a memoir of that event. A memoir focuses on just one aspect of your life, and could serve as a chapter in your autobiography.
    3. You can conclude with either a look to the future, or a summary of your past.
    4. Add anecdotes, quotes, and tie-ins to external events to add interest.
    Keep in mind that writing is rewriting. You will not get this perfect the first time through. You may not get it perfect the second, third, or fourth time. Only you will know when it is done. If you aren't sure, get someone else to read it and tell you where you need to add information, where the story slows down, and how it flows together. Choose someone to read this who will be honest with you, and not someone who will just pat you on the back for having written anything at all.

    Whether you're writing for school, for publication, or for personal joy, the act of writing an autobiography can be one of great fulfillment. Take time to prepare your information, create an outline, and then write your story.

    [ Source: Mahalo.com ]

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    Posted By MsJacquiiC | Jan 10, 2011

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