How to Write an Autobiography
Have you ever wondered how to write an autobiography? You are not alone. Autobiographies and memoirs are one of the top selling genres in bookstores across the globe. The bottom line is people are naturally inquisitive and nosy and, while creating clever characters and enticing story lines is excellent for works of fiction, readers just cannot get enough of reading about the lives of other people. However, when writing an autobiography, it is essential to consider the critical elements of an autobiography, as you want a story that is not only representative of your life but easy to read and so compelling that the reader does not want to put the book down. So what should you include? Here are our five key elements of an autobiography or memoir:
Order Your Story
While it might be tempting to retell a story as you remember it, jumping backwards and forwards in time can get quite confusing. When you start to pull thoughts out it might be that they come out jumbled but you need to bring them into the correct chronological order. Whether you are starting from childhood – which is the most likely point – or having a more focused snapshot of a particular period of your adult life, try and keep it in order.
Speak in the First Person
Writing an autobiography is about you, so people expect it to be written in the first person. This means you would use ‘I’, ‘Me’ or ‘Mine’ when describing events rather than she or he. Naturally, if you are retelling something involving a significant person in your life, they would be referred to as he or she.
Define Your Characters
While this is a work of real life rather than fiction, it is still crucial that the audience understand how you fit into your family life and who the people around you are. You need to bring your characters to life as well as recall the events. Ensure you drop in key details about a person’s character and how they played their part in your story.
Where Are You?
As well as helping the audience understand who shared your journey and how they impacted what happened to you, it is crucial to build your location. Where were you when this was happening? From the significant details like the country you were born or grew up in, to the small details like the hunger-inducing and nostalgic scent of the Sunday roast cooking in the kitchen as you played with your siblings.
The Small Things
When considering how to write an autobiography sometimes it is the small things that breathe life into a work. It is entirely acceptable to tell anecdotal stories. If they form part of your memory and backstory, then include them. People are not looking just to read the significant events; they are keen to get to know the characters and what they did. Who they are, what makes them tick; and if that means telling a story about your childhood, that you may fear insignificant, don’t worry about it. If you feel it has relevance, include it. The colour of hat your mother wore to your cousin’s wedding is just as important as the time you pulled the neighbour’s child out of the pond and stopped them drowning.
Finally, what do you want to say to the reader? Do you want to leave them with a message of hope? When the reader closes the last page, you want them to feel inspired and moved by what they have read, so be sure to include your message to the next generation.
Recordalife produces life stories for extraordinary people, which means for everybody. We create these through an interview process carefully developed to create an amazing autobiography with all the key elements required and more, and printed into full colour hardback books and audio CD as a keepsake for themselves and their loved ones.