Write in short paragraphs and short sentences.
- Contact family members or descendants, if available, for permission to write their family member’s memoirs.
- Write memoirs of various clerical or other religious or social leaders.
- Write two to four dozen memorials for houses of worship. Put these memorials in a larger book of memoirs for various organizations, religious groups, houses of worship, or professional associations.
- Find a model for your biographies. These could be centered on any aspect of life, such as religious or community service as well as vocations.
- Read the various awards biographies.
- Focus on the accomplishments that stand out.
- Use oral eulogies used in memorial services as your foundation. Consult professionals who conduct memorial services. The average eulogy runs about 1,500 to 1,800 words. That’ is what’s known as magazine article average length. Focus on the highlights, significant events, and turning points.
- Write biographies, memoirs, and autobiographies by focusing on the highlights of someone’s life or your own life story. Turn personal histories into life stories that you can launch in the media. You need to make a life story salable. It is already valuable.
- Read autobiographies in print. Compare the autobiographies written by ghostwriters to those written by the authors who write about their own experiences.
- If you write a biography in third person keep objective. If you write an autobiography in first person you can be subjective or objective if you bring in other characters and present all sides of the story equally.
- If you’re writing a biography, whose memories are you using? If you write an autobiography, you can rely on your own memory. Writing in the third person means research verifying facts and fact-checking your resources for credibility. How reliable is the information?
- Use oral history transcriptions, personal history, videos, audio tapes, and interviews for a biography. You can use the same for an autobiography by checking for all sides of the story with people involved.
- With personal and oral histories, be sure to obtain letters of permission and to note what is authorized. Celebrities in the public eye are written about with unauthorized or authorized biographies. However, people in private life who are not celebrities may not want their name or photo in anyone’s book.
- When interviewing, get written approval of what was said on tape. Let the person see the questions beforehand to be able to have time to recall an answer with accuracy regarding facts and dates or times of various events. Give peoples’ memories a chance to recall memories before the interview.
- Write autobiographies in the first person in genre or diary format. You can also dramatize the autobiography in a play or skit first and then flesh it out into novel format. Another alternative is to focus only on the highlights, events, and turning points in various stages of life.
- Anne Hart has written 87+ paperback books currently in print with various online booksellers and also several E-books for Amazon Kindle. She's a retired creative writing educator and editor (since 1972) and author (since 1959).
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