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I am completely new to writing but have this powerful urge within me to write a book based on events in my life. I know this would be considered a non-fiction work, but I also understand there to be many elements of non-fiction that I am unfamiliar with. I need to know a good starting point that is suggested for most beginning writers at my level. Could you recommend any authors who have written books similar to what I'm attempting to write? What is the first thing you think I should be doing to start my story off? Thank you very much.

Hello Tyrone:

You are right, there are many elements of non-fiction, and a non-fiction writer should be familiar with them all. Unfortunately, they are too many to be dealt with here.

A good starting point that I recommend for beginners is to buy a book on writing your autobiography, like How to Write Your Life Story, by Ralph Fletcher, which you can get for $2.47 at Barnes and Noble. There or at you can find other books on the same topic.

At my web site,, I offer mentoring services at a very reasonable price: $2.50 per "lesson." As a mentor, I will guide you from the very beginning all the way to the very end. Without guidance, you may spend years wallowing around in your material, wondering why you are bored or dissatisfied with your work or why you can't seem to make any progress, although you work hard. Mentoring saves you from all that. It is a rare beginner who can write a page and then be able to tell whether it needs further work. It takes years to learn that. It's much easier to hire someone who has already learned it than to spend years learning it on your own.

I am not sufficiently familiar with your story to be able to recommend other books that are "similar" to what you are trying to write. Almost any autobiography you read can help you, but only if you know what to look for.

I hope this helps. If it has, a good rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 1300+ questions.

And good luck with your writing!  

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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