On Autobiography Examples, I often get asked the difference between an autobiography, a biography, and a memoir. The truth is that there isn’t a hard and fast distinction between these terms. So while there are some differences between these three types of stories, they are very closely related and often lumped together as “biographies.”
Sometimes people use the word “memoir” to refer to the personal life stories people write about themselves or their lives.
What is an autobiography?
Typically, an autobiography is narrative nonfiction told from the author’s point of view. An autobiography can chronicle an entire life or only a portion of it. It’s typically a life story of its author. Famous examples of autobiographical works are the “The Diary” of Anne Frank and ‘Frost” by Thomas Bernhard
What is a Biography?
Also, narrative nonfiction, a biography, tells the life story of a person. You may tell it from the point of view of the biographer or by using a third-person point of view. Biographies typically focus on prominent individuals, but they may also concentrate on the lives of less well-known people, as in Alex Haley’s Roots (the story of Haley’s family) and Helen Keller
What is a Memoir?
Memoirs also tell the story of someone’s life, but they usually focus on one event, relationship, or period in that person’s life. You can also write a memoir about someone else by someone else. So you could write a memoir about your mother or father, for instance, even if you are not them. Like biographies and autobiographies, memoirs are told from the first-person point of view (using “I” statements), but memoirs are typically written after the events have taken place as a written record of the author. For instance, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls is a memoir about her unusual
How to start an autobiography
When you start an autobiography, first think about what part of your life you want to write about. Then, write a thesis for your autobiography that acts as a timeline for the events you will include. When doing an autobiography writing, focus on including lots of details and specific examples from your life.
Additionally, you can use the third person point of view to make it sound more objective and professional. If you need to revise your autobiography, read through it and make sure everything sounds true to your life story.
Map out your whole life
If you decide to write a formal book-length autobiography, it can be useful to plan it like a novel. Look at your life as if it were a book with four or five acts containing several chapters. For example, you might have chapters on your childhood, teenage years, young adulthood, midlife and old age. Alternatively, your chapters could be based on themes such as the suffering you endured during World War II or the challenges you faced as a new parent in the 1970s.
1. Autobiographies needn’t always start with your birth
Most people who write an autobiography start at the beginning, with their birth. This is fine if you are only aiming to write a short memoir of a few thousand words about a specific incident in your life, but if you are aiming for something more substantial, the beginning of your life is probably not the best place to start.
Instead, pick a theme that captures the main idea of your life up to this moment and start there. For example, if you are writing about your experiences growing up on a farm, you might start with the life story of your first day tending sheep alone in the field as a teenager. The life story can be as short as a paragraph or two or longer than that. It sets the tone for what is to come and gives the reader some idea of where the narrative is heading.
2. Identify your main characters
Make a list of key people in your life who have influenced you and helped shape who you are today. Include family, friends and mentors.
3. Include the best stories
You can write about all types of things that have happened in your life – from what you ate for breakfast as a child to the time you spent a summer in Europe or Asia. However, try to focus on one story at a time, as it can be difficult for readers to follow several stories at once if they don’t know the characters involved.
4. Write using your voice
Write using your voice, not someone else’s. Don’t try to sound like a famous writer or thinker; it will make you sound silly and self-conscious. Just tell the life story as if you were talking to a friend.
Don’t worry too much about sounding artificial or overly formal. Even if you are writing in the first person, your autobiography should still sound like you.
5. Reveal things about your life
This is your chance! Autobiographies are supposed to be honest accounts of someone’s life so far; this means revealing things that might not necessarily be obvious to everyone else (e.g., your hobbies).
6. Show your weaknesses too
Show the good and bad parts of yourself. Nobody is perfect, so don’t try to make yourself look perfect in your autobiographies. You want to be authentic and honest about who you are.
Creating your narrative
1. Build the suspense and tension to make it interesting
Create suspense and tension for a more interesting reading experience and keep them hooked to read further until they reach the climax or resolution of the story and then end it with an unexpected twist, if possible related
2. Think about your climax
The climax of an autobiography is the moment of greatest tension–not necessarily a crisis in the plot. Still, something where the action stops for a minute and the reader wonders how things will turn out. Not every autobiographical book has a climax, but biographies usually do.
So choose what you want your climax to be. Then work backwards. What will have happened just before your climax? What was going on at that point? What preceded that? And so on, until you get to your birth.
3. Also, think about the resolution
When you write a biographical account of yourself, it should be clear what the resolution is. What were the people’s problems? How did you solve it? Then why are you writing this account? Is there something you want us to learn from it?
4. Determine where to start your story
First, think about where to start. Before your story begins, take a few moments to think about the most important events in your life. What things have shaped you and made you who you are? How can you best use these experiences to share valuable life lessons?
5. Weave in your themes
The themes and lessons learned from your life experiences will be what people come away with after reading your book. You can incorporate these themes by weaving them into every aspect of your book: from the stories you tell to how you structure your book.
6. Reflect on the content of your autobiography template
As you write about each event or experience, ask yourself which emotions are associated with that particular memory and how it has contributed to making you who you are today.
7. Add structure to your book by using chapters
Books usually contain a series of chapters so readers can easily navigate between different sections of a book. When creating chapter headings for an autobiography, try thinking about the main ideas or events that define each period of your life.
Sample Autobiographies and Amazing Examples
Check the following autobiography examples for your inspiration
Example of Autobiography on Personal LifeAutobiography Essay Example
Sociological Autobiography exampleSociological Autobiography
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