Memorygrabber Family History Workbook
A language autobiography tells the story of how you came to be the language user you are today it focuses on those influences you perceive as most important, the ones that shape how you read, write, speak, and think. The following list offers some suggestions for constructing a language autobiography.
A profile tries to give us a short (say 1,000- to 10,000-word) biographical summary of a person. The sketch tries only to get at the essence of a person, not his or her life story. Personal histories (autobiographies) are written by the person involved, whereas profiles and sketches are written by someone other than the subject. A personal history, by my loose definition, is of book length (say 50,000 words or more) and may be written with almost any structure the person wants.
Autobiography n. the art or practice of writing the story of one's own life the biography of a person written by him- or herself. Much of what I have written about personal narratives is also true of autobiography. You usually write in the first-person mode ( I ), from remembered experience, in more or less chronological order. As in personal narrative writing, you remember as best you can, and invent what you need to make it more credible. However, in autobiography you may have an even greater need to be selective and inventive, depending on how far back you attempt to go to make sense of your life.
Changing viewpoint in a short story, where unity of effect is so crucial, usually makes the story seem disjointed. In a novel, there may be several viewpoints, but one must clearly dominate. That's because every story is ultimately one person's story above all others, just as your life story is yours and yours alone. It's a fatal error to let your viewpoint jump around from character to character, with no viewpoint clearly dominating, in terms of how much of the story is experienced from that viewpoint. Life isn't like that. Fiction shouldn't be, either.
The second time you might want to consider vanity presses is if you want to put together a nice little book that you can give away to your family and friends, and you have the money to spend, and you are under no delusions that what you are doing is in any way related to being published, and you realize that vanity publication is, in the world of publishing, worse than having no publication history at all. If you really want to have a book with your name on it, and you have no interest in making money from writing, go ahead and pay someone to print your book. This is a legitimate route to consider if you're big in genealogy, for example, and you have your entire family tree mapped and you've written a family history. By all means have copies printed and give them to your relatives - this isn't the sort of book a publisher would ever print (unless you have some fascinating, famous relatives).
For many creative writers, the sole motivation for writing their autobiography is to provide a family record for future generations. A written record will be enhanced by the inclusion of cap-tioned family photographs and thanks to the growth of desktop publishing, on payment of a relatively small amount, you can have your family history professionally printed and bound. This will ensure that all the information is kept together and is presented in an attractive, user-friendly way.
Jack had a lot of problems trying to write his story and couldn't get a handle on it. I spoke with him and soon discovered that he was too close to the story, because he was actually going through the pains of his wife's recent death. Every time he'd write a particular scene he'd begin to re-experience his pain all over again. Since he wasn't detached and couldn't get enough distance to look at his screenplay objectively he couldn't write it. In reality, Jack was writing his actual life story as he was living it. This didn't make for an exciting script and his writing wasn't dramatic. It also wasn't healthy for him to write about such a painful situation so soon after it had occurred.
There's really no way to compete with the big conglomerates about current hot topics in the news. These companies even have writers on the payroll who have already started scripts about worldwide hot topics that are seen on the news programs day and night. The writers are just waiting for the actual ending of the real life story, so they are able to complete their screenplay with the correct facts.
We will explore realism and its developments in other chapters on prose narrative. What are its implications for fiction writing, writing for children, writing autobiography Should we think of a split between realism and fantasy or myth, or does all narrative share a common root Were the events in Beowulf true Was there a dragon Did Jane Austen's Emma really believe Mr Knightly wanted to marry Harriet Like a jury we use our sense of what evidence counts, even though we know for a fact there wasn't any Emma or Beowulf. These characters become real to us through a manner and style of presentation, through the rhythm of words, through our notions of what forms of story we can accept, through our own relationship with time. We have to believe that somehow their realness will be to our advantage, that we will, as a result, understand ourselves and our own shaping that we will do this by hearing, moment by moment, how their experience shapes time.
Persona is most immediately and directly revealed when a writer discusses himself or herself. For instance, a clear personality emerges in the following passage from Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography. Franklin is explaining that when he educated himself as a youth he learned to drop his habit of abrupt contradiction, and positive argumentation and to become more diffident in putting forward his opinions. (He is, of course, talking about the same thing we We sense a different personality in these paragraphs from Bertrand Russell's Autobiography
Since the Greek root word logos means such varied things ( word, saying, speech, discourse, thought ), I feel safe referring to the following as other kinds of logs journals, diaries, memoirs, court records, personal letters, official letters, telegrams, memoranda, messages, headlines, and news reports. These written records of people communicating with each other are useful in nonfiction articles and books. A fiction writer may invent such communications to lend verisimilitude, to make his or her story sound real. In nonfiction, the writer uses these sources to help communicate the fact that what he or she is writing is the truth, not fiction. These sources also add variety and can help the creative nonfiction writer reinforce a point he or she is making in the more straightforward summary parts. Because the writer frequently sets these special forms of communication in their original format, sometimes including photographic reproductions of handwritten diary entries, for example,...
If you're like most people, however, your life story might well lack significant drama, so figuring out a way to make it interesting becomes the big challenge. Finding an angle or hook is vital. For example, a law school applicant with ordinary grades but outstanding credits in
The former tenant of our house, a priest, had died in the back drawing-room. Air, musty from having been long enclosed, hung in all the rooms, and the waste room behind the kitchen was littered with old useless papers. Among these I found a few paper-covered books, the pages of which were curled and damp The Abbot, by Walter Scott, The Devout Communicant and The Memoirs ofVidocq. I liked the last best because its leaves were yellow. The wild garden behind the house contained a central apple-tree and a few straggling bushes under one of which 1 found the late tenant's rusty bicycle-pump. He had been a very charitable priest in his will he had left all his money to institutions and the furniture of his house to his sister.
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