How to Guarantee A Great Autobiography

By on April 6, 2016
What Makes A Great Autobiography? - Writer's Life.org

We all have fascinating stories that we can share with the world, and writing an autobiography is a great way to do just that. If you have something interesting about your life, be it past or present, that you feel will engage others, excite them and move them, then writing it down is a great idea.

However, even if you have the most interesting story in the world to tell, this doesn’t automatically make you a good writer! So here are some tips on how to write a great autobiography, one that could even make the bestseller lists!

Make sure, before you start, that you understand the difference between autobiographies and memoirs.

Autobiography spans one's entire life, where memoirs tend to focus on one particular event or period of time. If you are writing an autobiography you need to be able to write your life story in a unique and fascinating way

The main problems, when writing an autobiography, are remembering everything that happened with clarity, and a good level of detail, while also making sure that you don’t write false information.

It is easy to be biased and blinkered when it comes to the retelling of exciting events in one’s own life but if you make sure you proofread, fact check and talk to the other people that were involved so that you can get a clearer idea of everything that took place and see things from different perspectives.

Make sure you think carefully about your tone of voice. How would you like to come across to the reader? Is your autobiography professional and businesslike or conversational and friendly? You need to select whichever works best for your target audience and stick to this throughout. Do you intend to be descriptive, emotive, or just tell the story like it is focusing on facts rather than emotions?

If you don’t have any writing skills then you can brush up on these by taking a short course which will give you the basics on how to write well, and help you structure your story. All autobiographies tend to include the same core elements. These are:

You childhood

Your culture

You Family

The exciting, unusual and interesting events that have taken place in your life

A conclusion that inspires.

The most important point is that your autobiography should be interesting and well-written enough that people will want to read it. It should have a theme, an event which affects all aspects of your life, or a goal that was realized in childhood that drives the story forward.

Start by mapping out your life with dates and events that you would like to include. Make lists of significant places, people and the events that took place around them. Go into detail when it comes to describing each significant person - describe them physically, then write down what made them unique, their unusual character traits and ticks, and why they influenced your life so much. Think about all the best stories from your life be it the funniest, scariest, strangest or most heart-warming times and write all these down - you’ll soon see your autobiography start to flesh out.

Make lists of significant places, people and the events that took place around them. Go into detail when it comes to describing each significant person - describe them physically, then write down what made them unique, their unusual character traits and ticks, and why they influenced your life so much. Think about all the best stories from your life be it the funniest, scariest, strangest or most heart-warming times and write all these down - you’ll soon see your autobiography start to flesh out.

Think about all the best stories from your life be it the funniest, scariest, strangest or most heart-warming times and write all these down - you’ll soon see your autobiography start to flesh out.

Make sure you make your opening exciting and gripping - you need to convince the reader from the outset that your story is one that they will want to read. You don’t have to start at the beginning and work your way through, you could start in the present and then tell your story in a series of flashbacks - whatever you think works best for your story.

Don’t just tell your reader what has happened to you, explain how it affected you and the values and important lessons you have taken from each important experience. People will resonate with you if you can show them that you have learned, and it will inspire them to do the same with their own lives too.

As with any book, once you have finished your autobiography you need to edit it, redraft it, polish it, let other people critique it, re-read it and edit it again. Once you are happy with your final draft, choose a catchy title that reflects your story then you are ready to send it off to literary agents, or simply self-publish on your own.

Writing an autobiography can be a hugely rewarding and satisfying experience, so if you want to share your story with the world, why not get started today?

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Ty Cohen

2 Comments

  1. Namrif

    April 7, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    I’m a younger writer and am just starting out. Where can I find writing groups. And is it better to have an online group or being there in person?

  2. Francillon Philemon

    May 28, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks verymuch .if you need something, please Let’s me know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Captcha loading...