1. mtgrl
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    mtgrl New Member

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    Hi, advice for a new writer trying to write my life story?

    Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mtgrl, Dec 23, 2012.

    Hi. My name is Jamie Lee Balyeat. I own a jewelry business and do a little painting and fashion design too. So writing is not my main occupation, but it is an art and I love all types of art, and it is something that I would like to try. I'm trying to branch out into different pursuits.

    I have a predicament. Everybody I know has been encouraging me to write. When I was in school, my English teacher didn't believe that I had written one of my stories, and actually googled it to find out if I had copied it. He found a rough draft of the story I'd posted online and showed it to me as if to say "Aha! I've found you out." But then I logged into that account and proved to him that it was really I who had written it. After that, he told my parents that I was the best writer in the school. I also enjoy it a lot, and it seems easy for me. For example, senior paper everybody else was struggling to write 8 pages, but mine ended up being over 60 and the teacher told me I needed to shorten it because it was only supposed to be 8-10 pages long. I also took a career test in high school to determine what career would suit me the best and got writer.

    All my friends have also said that I have a really crazy life. Because I'm always travelling to sell my stuff, I always run into some sort of adventure. I always just seem to be in the right (or the wrong) place at the right time. Whenever my friends ask me how I'm doing, I start some long story about everything that's happened to me since I saw them last week. Sometimes people have told me I should write a book about it. So that's what I did. I started an online journal at mtgrl.wordpress.com with the intent that it might help me make more sales online. I thought, maybe if I prostitute all my secrets, then people would read my blog like they read a tabloid, and I'd be like some sort of celebrity (one can dream), and I could torture and control my readers with ridiculously suspenseful cliffhangers and hooks that would keep them coming back to feed their addiction. And then in between chapters, I could throw in articles that would contain subtle and/or blatant advertisements for my jewelry and I could hypnotize my audience with subliminal messages and make myself a fortune.

    The first chapter was given a warm welcome. The second chapter was basically just a continuation of the first and largely ignored. The third chapter was a smash hit. The first three chapters were just backstory. They start with me graduating highschool, starting a jewelry business, and finding out that I have ADHD. But that was all just really me hesitating to dive right in and tell all the juicy details of my private life. Chapter 4 was me announcing that that's exactly what I was going to do. And the next three chapters were more hesitation and backstory. I got the feeling that it's lacking continuity and is a little bit dry, and I'm distressed by the lack of an apparent plot in chapter 7. But that's the way it is, I can't change my life (atleast not the past). I might not even include the first 7 chapters if I ever were to publish it, or maybe I would re-arrange them and put them some time after Chapter 8. But for now, that's where I am. I graduated high school, started a jewelry business, found out I have ADHD, travelled to Alaska and hiked up Mt. McKinley, crashed Jewel's wedding reception, and stole some hot dogs from a grocery store with a really drunk guy.

    Bear with me here, because I know I am rambling. I don't even know that I have any point to anything that I'm saying. I have no idea what exactly it is that I am trying to express. I posted a preview of Chapter 8. Everybody who read it now can't wait to read the rest. But I don't know if I should write the rest, or how to write the rest. It's not that I have writer's block, in fact, I know exactly what I would write and I know exactly how to write it. Afterall, an autobiography doesn't need any sort of ingenuity on what to write, I have the story and I just need to put it in print. I can't explain how I feel at this present moment. I have a weird feeling about it, like my brain is just so clogged with thoughts that I can't think it through or put my finger on exactly what's wrong.

    It's... a sort of sense of impending doom. I don't know why I feel this way about it. Maybe it's the thought that it's just not good enough. I'll write my story, and then go back and find that it has a weak ending and is largely composed of rants about what a jerk my old boyfriend was. Maybe that's just it though. Maybe I feel it doesn't have a strong enough conclusion because, my life is not over yet, in fact, my story is just beginning. Maybe I just need to live a little bit and let my story unravel on its own. Maybe I'm just not ready for this. I need more to work with, or maybe it's just my artist's temperament. Maybe I just feel uneasy about complete strangers reading and judging my life, although that's never bothered me before. I'm afraid I'll be disappointed in how the plot unfolds and the story ends... and I'm unsure of how to go about it.

    On the other hand, I have this nagging voice inside my head that is obssessed with spilling every secret I have ever kept inside... there is this inner dialogue that is constantly pulling me towards writing and reminiscing on things that have happened to me, telling me to write. I would like to write. But there's a battle going on inside my head. If I don't like what I write, I will be very disappointed in myself. But perhaps moreso if I never try. If I never get it down on paper, I will be haunted by my untold story.

    My reading skills aren't as good. I never have the patience to read all the way through a book, I have lots of them because they look interesting, but I never read them. I might read a few pages of a really interesting one, but then I'll get bored and put it down. I've never done very much reading, I've finished very few books. So I have no idea what kind of things people want to read.

    My book would basically just be about my personal life. Sometimes exciting crazy things happen, like some really weird coincidences. I guess a lot of it revolves around my love life, it would be somewhat of a drama. And that's what's bugging me. I mean, 50 Shades of Grey, according to the Wikipedia, has basically no plot, but it has porn, so that makes up for it. My story wouldn't have that. I mean it will definitely have its share of sex scenes, but nothing really graphic, and I certainly wouldn't be writing anything like "He stabbed my kidney with his penis" which honestly, just does not appeal to me, either as a writer or sexually. (I don't know what else that book is about because that's all I care to know about it.) Twilight is a romance without any hardcore porn or clear plot, but it has vampires. I can most definitely say that my life story will not include any vampires or werewolves, or any other sort of mythical creatures, bloodsucking, or extreme action and killing scenes. It has adventure... drama.. romance... and suspense. The best description of my life is, sadly, the wikipedia's definition of a soap opera plot:
    "The main characteristics that define soap operas are "an emphasis on family life, personal relationships, sexual dramas, emotional and moral conflicts".The storylines follow the day-to-day activities and personal relationships of these characters. "Soap narratives, like those of film melodramas, are marked by what Steve Neale has described as 'chance meetings, coincidences, missed meetings, sudden conversions, last-minute rescues and revelations, deus ex machina endings.'" These elements may be found across the gamut of soap operas, from EastEnders to Dallas.
    Romance, secret relationships, extramarital affairs, and genuine love have been the basis for many soap opera storylines. In US daytime serials the most popular soap opera characters, and the most popular storylines, often involved a romance of the sort presented in paperback romance novels. Soap opera storylines sometimes weave intricate, convoluted, and sometimes confusing tales of characters who have affairs, meet mysterious strangers and fall in love, and who commit adultery, all of which keeps audiences hooked on the unfolding story twists. Crimes such as kidnapping, rape, and even murder may go unpunished if the perpetrator is to be retained in the ongoing story. Unexpected calamities disrupt weddings, childbirths, and other major life events with unusual frequency."

    That's a pretty accurate description of my life. Oh, but I hate soap operas. I could also liken it to an LMN movie, but without that much murder.

    If you want to read the plot, let me know. I don't want to reveal what happens to everybody, but if a few would like to know what it's about, I can send you an overview of the plot.

    So what am I trying to say here? I don't know... and that's just it, I'm afraid I'm going to get to the end of my story and I won't know how to conclude it! So I'm terrified to even begin...
    I don't really know how to describe it... I just have all this angst about it.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Welcome to Writing Forums, Jamie Lee Balyeat!

    I hope you find what you're looking for here, whatever your interests in writing.

    This forum aims to provide the best workshopping resources on the internet, and to that end we have a few rules which you should familiarise yourself with before you get stuck in. The main section of the site is the Writing Workshop, where members can post their writing in order to receive critique of their work.

    However, before we allow members to post their work, they must have met some basic requirements. Firstly, you must have been a member for fourteen days, and have made twenty posts on the forum overall (please note, posts in Word Games do not count towards this). This is so that members, when they post their work, have familiarised themselves with the forums and contributed to them (as well as hopefully learned something for themselves). Secondly, members must provide two constructive reviews of other people's work for each piece of their own that they wish to post. This is because we believe that the focus of workshopping should be equally upon giving reviews as receiving them, as they allow a writer to practice and improve their editing skills, which they can then apply to their own writing.

    Beyond the Writing Workshop, you will find that we have extensive forums for discussion of aspects of writing, as well as a community area for general discussion. We also run periodic short story and poetry contests, which are good for challenging yourself and expanding your skills.

    If you have any questions or problems, then the moderators (myself, Cogito, Lemex and Dante Dases) should be your first port of call. Any technical problems with the site itself should be directed to Daniel, the site administrator and owner. I would recommend you have a look over the rules so that you know what to expect, and what is expected. But aside from that, I hope you enjoy your time here.


    Banzai
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    welcome to the forums, JL!

    re your probs with whether and/or how to write your autobiogaphy, i've rewritten autobios/memoirs for clients and may be able to help you figure out how to proceed, so if you want some free mentoring help, just drop me a line...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  4. Tales of Anima
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    Tales of Anima Member

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    Welcome to the forum!

    First off, it seems you meet the first requirement for writing an autobiography (namely, having a life. ;P).

    Secondly, you seem to have made it clear from the get-go that the chapters bound from one crazy event to another; you yourself admit that you're reminiscing is done as if with a will of its own, to get it out on paper. Make that the theme, if you will: "A crazy life begets a crazy mind, and it wants to share the crazy with the world. Let the world bask in the crazy. If you witness the crazy, then you too may one day be crazy." Compile that with a lesson about getting out and actually living life instead of waiting for something to happen, because you state that that is one of your worries: you fear imperfect writing, and yet you dread even more the thought of doing nothing. Bring that into the equation, and you've got something cooking.

    Third, "He stabbed my kidney with his penis" is like, the most erotic line ever.

    So, welcome! Hope you enjoy yourself.
     
  5. mtgrl
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    mtgrl New Member

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    Thanks! :) And thanks for the advice. I will consider it
     

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