3 main mistakes when describing events in an autobiography
Think about it before outlining your autobiography!
K. E. Adamus
In my work as a ghostwriter, I have worked with various clients. Some described an event with a few words only, while others needed several hours to tell a similar story, talking all the time.
Everyone’s storytelling abilities are different, and only some are born storytellers.However, if you want to describe an event in your autobiography, here are some tips on making the content attractive and avoiding basic mistakes when describing events.
Lack of descriptions
Descriptions are mostly seen as outdated — but they are essential. For example, if you are describing an adventure from decades ago or in an exotic country, the reader may be curious to know what this reality was like, especially filtered through your perception and way of seeing the world.
That’s why it’s a good idea to include short, interesting descriptions here and there in the text.
‘I lived in a block of flats at the time. The buildings painted in motley colors occupied whole estates. The ground floors of some of them housed a private doctor’s office, a grocery store, or a hairdresser. The walls were crammed with primitive graffiti, each vying for a better piece of wall and the attention of those passing by. They had nothing to count on for my attentiveness — I was a professor at the academy of fine arts.’And here we come to the history of the imaginary professor.
Lack of dialogues
It is worthwhile to enliven an event with dialogues. If it was important, we often remember the conversations or their meaning for our whole life. If you do not reflect the exact words of the interlocutor — a specific legal problem could arise here — someone can sue you, for example. Therefore, it is always worth changing the names of the actual characters or adding the subtitle ‘fictional autobiography’ to be on the safe side.In dialogues, try to vary the ways of speaking of the interlocutors.
An example of a dialogue:
‘I’m afraid you won’t pass your high school diploma.’ I saw some unhealthy satisfaction in the eyes of Mrs. Smith. I decided to pretend stupid.
‘But why? It’s in six months, and I have good grades!’
‘Keep silent when I’m talking to you,’ she interrupted. I knew I was not in a position to argue with this woman. Not yet.
'You go truant, smoke cigarettes, and misrepresent the school’s image.’ Mrs. Smith started to list all my sins, but I knew something was behind all of this.
'I often get sick!’
‘Be silent! The teachers at this school are very vindictive. But there is a way to dull our collective memory…’
I froze and waited for her to finish the next sentence.
Omitting adverse events from the past
There must be something going on in the event you are describing! Carefully select events from the axis of your life. Try to choose the most spectacular ones, even if they arouse negative emotions in you and you would like to forget them. Have you been arrested? A lawsuit was brought against you? Or you may have invented a new scientific theory that someone else wanted to sign off on authoring?
Indeed such events are more interesting for the reader than a description of life, saturated with successes alone, where the book’s hero (you) does not face any adversity. Sometimes we would like to omit some downfalls or failures, but the book becomes unreliable without them. No one is successful in life alone! Usually, obstacles pile up in front of us.
If you consider these three tips, your book will benefit greatly. Expect more information in future posts. If you want to use my services, feel free to contact me: at firstname.lastname@example.org
K. E. Adamus
Big fan of journaling. It really can improve life's quality!