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I am not sure where to begin. I have an interesting life story I would like to tell. To give you just a brief overview of the content; it involves two countries, a half brother I never knew, an orphanage, a father who abandoned all his children; a controlling grandmother and abuse.

Like I said, I'm not sure where to begin. I sure would appreciate your help!  

Answer
Dear Maria,
Thank you for your letter. There are several ways to go about it. First, you can write your memoir. Make an outline and start to fill it in. Write it just like you would write a letter to someone to tell them about your life. Pick an audience, such as your children or future descendents not yet born. After you write it, make copies for your loved ones and keep a copy for yourself with your important papers.
If you feel your story could reach a larger audience, then consider turning your autobiography into a novel. Publishers usually do not want a memoir, but they are looking for good novels. Many novels are true. My first book, Betrayal of the Spirit, is my true life story for ten years of my life (1978 - 1988). To find out how to write fiction, read the Ficiton Writers Workshop posted at my page for writers:
http://steamboats.com/writing.html
There is a steep learning curve for fiction writing, but it can be very therapeutic to turn your story into a novel. It was for me.
Either way, I suggest you start with your memoir, because that would form the basis of your novel later on. You can use the memoir as your notes for the story.
One difference between a memoir and a novel is that the novel starts in the middle of the action, then fills in the details. A novel will be told in scenes with characters, dialogue, and plot.
I hope this helps, write back anytime if you have more questions,
Sincerely,
Nori

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