Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ethan jennings, Jun 20, 2013.
I really need help if your intrested please inbox me or just post below
autobiographies are my favourite genre and I've read hundreds, sportstars, actors, rockers, everybody.
I like a good autob to start with a major event, like the guy who has everything but wakes up in a detox unit, drunk or drugged, bleary eyed, maybe in a straight jacket and he has time to reflect on his life and begins telling his journey from where he came from to where he is now. The ups and downs, the affairs, the broken hearts, the money lost, the people damaged, the massive highs etc.
A lot of actors, sportstars, rockers etc are not writers however and normally enlist a ghost writer or someone who'll at least hold their hand all the way through.
One of my heroes was Mick McCarthy, who wrote an autob, afterwards he told me he just filled cassette after cassette with stories and anecdotes and gave them to a journalist friend so obviously a lot of cheating goes on.
Getting back to yours, I would start with a major event - it doesn't have to be waking up in the back of an ambulance, it could be in Hollywood collecting your 5th Oscar or collecting the World cup trophy at the Maracana Stadium in Rio, or when you first landed on the moon - you get the jist, then tell us how you got there.
Bring me on the journey with you, I want to drink with you, get high with you, sleep with all those women hanging round you. I wanna wake up in that gutter covered in piss, shower under a waterfall in Yosemite while your clothes dry under a burning sun then do it all again, over and over till your wife leaves with the kids, you go cold turkey to get them back but find she's living with your best friend. Your agent has dumped you and you've been blacklisted in Hollywood. The mafia want you to play Vegas but you don't wanna get mixed up with them again - not after the last time - and definitely not in Caeser's Palace! Your only hope is.... You can finish it - just bring me, as your reader, with you!
Have you done the research/notes/diary and you're asking about structure? We need a bit more information.
It was dark and damp and the walls were closing in on me. I had to get out, but how? Before I could realize what the light was, another force started pushing me towards it.....
Well, Ethan. Maybe it's just because I'm tired today but, my first suggestion to you would be to take a crash course in grammar and writing. Your post has 5 errors in 22 words. That's a 23% error rate.
What is it about your life that compels you to write an autobiography? Start there.
Are you the CEO of a major corporation? Supreme Leader of a small Third World Country? Inventor of a cure for gingivitis?
In broader terms, why would anyone want to read your life story? Are you even old enough to have a life story?
These are the first steps to writing an autobiography. You have to have a compelling life story to tell.
Maybe you do, but there's something about the way you asked that doesn't sound like you do have such a story - yet.
...first step: answer the questions cog asked...
second step... do what wordsmith advised...
In a way I am more interested in reading about a common man, perhaps a man whose been on drugs his entire life and in and out of crime. Maybe that's just me. I get bored easily of reading how good superstars and alike have it.
If you think you can make a good autobiography, only you know how to do it. Look at people like Ricky Hatton. His autobiography was fantastic to read because he just showed his thoughts and insights and how hard his life had been.
You don't necessary need to be excellent at writing. Because you're not writing a novel, you're writing about yourself.
I don't agree with this at all. It's just as important to write well, because ultimately, you're telling a story. Memoir and novel writing aren't really all that different. The biggest problem with memoir is that you have to be careful to stick to the facts, which is why many people end up writing a novel instead -- one that is heavily autobiographical.
It doesn't matter how important or interesting the subject's life is, if it's poorly written. On the contrary, something written very well could make even an ordinary person's story a great read.
One day, I was born...
That one may be a bit snarky, but it would get to the point. If you're writing your life's story, you need to pick what point starts. If I were to start mine, I'd start with a willful moment of exposition.
"There are many points in my life where the story seems sufficiently interesting enough to start this autobiography. We could start at my birth, but I don't really recall that too much (aren't we all thankful of that). I could start with experiences that were told to me from others that happened, but those may not be so much in the realm of 'auto'. I could begin with my first memory, but that one will seem out of context, since my next one was at least a week later. A good starting point, therefore, is a moment of rejection, or a stupid decision I made as a kid. For instance, the time when..."
You need to stop moaning!
What have you done to help yourself so far? We're all keen to help, but not to those who'll just sit back and expect others to do all the work.
Have you read any other autobiographies? What did you learn? Is there anything there that you could emulate? Read plenty, and you'll find answers to basically all that you've asked.
Do you mean, how do you get started writing, or what should be the beginning of the book? I suggest that you start writing with any scene that you're fairly sure that you want to be in the book, and you don't worry about how the book will start until you've gotten into the writing. And, don't worry about whether the writing is of publication quality at this point either; just start writing, and keep yourself open to learning from the experience.
Maybe you have a half dozen stories in your mind. Write these and link them all together down the road.
For mine, I wrote about the orphanage, my time in gaol and my joy at finding the lottery ticket. I wrote about all the times I had intercourse, the good and the badass. I wrote about my three fathers and how I sent the manuscript to the New Yorker - in America, and how I was discovered, finally dancing alongside Dame Nelly Melba at the Carnegie Hall. If only the war had not destroyed my dreams, forced to fly a spitfire, a child pilot. Enough...
My journey has inspired millions. Be inspired my brother and get the words on the page.
+1. I just suffered through a little less than half of an autobiography written by a former Marine drill sergeant that was so poorly written I would literally moan out loud at times. I can't bring myself to throw books in the trash, it seems sacrilegious. But this horribly written-I can't believe it ever got published-are they sure it wasn't written by a 12 year old-"book", is taking up valuable space where dust might need to gather some day.
One should never approach the page with the idea in mind that it's okay if the prospective story isn't well written.
A writer should certainly plan for anything that he wants to publish to end up being of high quality.
But I would argue that it's fine to approach dozens, hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of pages with the knowledge that his skill is still developing and each page may not yet qualify as well written.
Separate names with a comma.