Writing your life story is one of the greatest gifts you can give your family. In writing it you will find yourself drawing even closer to your children and grandchildren. You will also find it an exciting and fascinating process, one that helps you to make sense of your own life. Writing your own life story is also a very good way for creative writers to find inspiration and get started in the 'habit' of writing.
This step-by-step guide will steer you through different ways of telling your life story, in ten easy steps:
- HOW TO BEGIN
- USING THE POWER OF MEMORY
- HOW TO START YOUR RESEARCH
- DIFFERENT WAYS OF STRUCTURING YOUR LIFE STORY
- HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE STORY STAND OUT WITH PICTURES, COLOURS AND SMELLS, ETC
- HOW TO PROVIDE A CONTEMPORARY FEEL TO YOUR LIFE STORY
- BRINGING THE REST OF THE WORLD INTO YOUR STORY
- HOWTO END YOUR LIFE STORY
- AND MAKE SURE THAT IT DOESN'T HURT ANYONE (INCLUDING YOURSELF)
- HOW TO PRESENT YOUR LIFE STORY AND GET IT PUBLISHED
- STORIES TO INSPIRE YOU
Nowadays, you can publish your life story should you want to do so. For a small amount of money, you can get a few bound copies or you can publish it free on the net. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to write an heirloom which will last for ever.
Sophie King is author of such novels as The School Run, The Supper Club and The Wedding Party for Hodder. She also writes under the name of Janey Fraser for Random House. Her other How To Books are How To Write Short Stories for Magazine, How To Write Your First Novel and How to Write Your Life Story in Ten Easy Steps. Sophie is an active creative writing tutor and attends many of the annual writing conferences as a speaker.
Introduction; STEP ONE HOW TO BEGIN; 1. Who do you think you are?; Introducing yourself to your future readership; What exactly should you say?; Why you are writing this; Summary; STEP TWO USING THE POWER OF MEMORY; 2. Do you remember when?; Using memories to write your life story; Your first memory; Triggers to help release early memories; Triggers for later memories; How to use your memories in your life story; Summary; STEP THREE HOW TO START YOUR RESEARCH; 3. Researching the spoken word; Talking to living relatives; What to put in - and what leave out; If your parents have died...; How to find relatives and friends to talk to; Summary; 4. Researching written records; Tracing your ancestors; Not forgetting these written sources...; How to use this material; Summary; STEP FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS OF STRUCTURING YOUR LIFE STORY; 5. How to structure your life story: chronologically; Using the simple chronological approach; How to start; The early years; Getting bigger; The teenage years; Young adult; Middle years; Later years; Conclusion of your life story; Summary; 6. How to structure your life story by using specific timespans; Advantages of this method; Disadvantages of this method; I'll never forget the day/week/month/year/when...;Summary; 7. Where were you when...? The Death of Diana, Princess of Wales, 1997; 9/11; The Queen's Coronation 1953; 7/7; Summary; 8. Desert Island Discs method; How to start...; Piece of music; Advantages of the Desert Island Discs format; Disadvantages of the Desert Island Discs format; Summary; 9. You've got a first!; How to start; My first...; Summary; 10. Places I have lived in...; Guidelines; Case studies; Summary; 11. Quirky ways of telling your life story that you might not have thought about; Recording on tape; Telling your life story in the third person; Summary; STEP FIVE HOW TO MAKE YOUR LIFE STORY STAND OUT WITH PICTURES, COLOURS AND SMELLS, ETC.; 12. Pictures; Using pictures to add interest; Summary; 13. Noises, smells, colours; Bringing the senses alive; How to use this; Summary; STEP SIX HOW TO PROVIDE A CONTEMPORARY FEEL TO YOUR LIFE STORY; 14. Fads, gadgets and innovations; Fads; Gadgets and innovations; Traditions; What we didn't have - and how we managed without!; Summary; 15. Making a song and dance!; How to use them; Dance/theatre; Television programmes; My favourite book was...; Summary; 16. How much did that cost?; Old and new money; STEP SEVEN BRINGING THE REST OF THE WORLD INTO YOUR LIFE STORY; 17. Writing a timeline; How to start; How to find out the answers; Summary; STEP EIGHT HOW TO END YOUR LIFE STORY - AND MAKE SURE THAT IT DOESN'T HURT ANYONE (INCLUDING YOURSELF); 18. How to end your story when you're still alive!; A summing-up; A profile; A spiritual summing-up; Lessons in life; Sayings; Poems; Message for future generations; My hopes for the future; It's your funeral!; Good advice; 19. Ouch! The importance of thinking about other people's feelings; 20. Writing a life story for someone else; How to go about it; Writing a life story as a commission; Cost; Summary; STEP NINE HOW TO PRESENT YOUR LIFE STORY AND GET IT PUBLISHED; 21. Presentation and getting it printed; Presentation; Bound copies; Is my life story good enough to be sold in a bookshop?; How to contact an agent and/or publisher; Self-publishing Magazines; 22. Problems and solutions when writing your life story; STEP TEN STILL STUCK? TRIED AND TESTED REMEDIES; 23. Writer's block; Still stuck? More tips to help you write your life story; Stories to inspire you; Useful contacts.