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Question
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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Nori J. Muster

Expertise

Writing and publishing books, including e-books.

Experience

I have been writing for publication since 1981, including years as a staff writer, associate editor, editorial writer, and freelance reporter. At this time, I have eight Kindle books for sale at Amazon.com.

Organizations
Lakes of Tempe Authors, Tempe, Arizona

Publications
Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement
Dreaming Peace: Your Thoughts Can Change the World
Cult Recovery Handbook: Seven Paths to an Authentic Life
Child of the Cult
Learning to Flow with the Tao: The 64 Hexagrams of the I Ching
Positive Quotations: Wisdom from the Master Mind
Collected Writings: Five Books by Nori Muster
Noriland Art Gallery: Secrets from the Vault
Spiritual Summer and Other Short Stories


Education/Credentials
UCLA Extension Writer's Program, 1988 - 1994
Master's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Western Oregon University, 1991

Awards and Honors
Interviews:
USA Today, Los Angeles Times, BBC World Services Focus on Faith, BBC Sunday Programme, Salon.com, Glamour Magazine, Portland Mercury News, W-Five TV (Toronto), Publisher's Weekly, Boston Phoenix, San Francisco Chronicle, ABC TV News - 20/20, ABC radio, Associated Press, The Age (Melbourne), Rediff.com, The New York Times, Religious News Service, Dallas Morning News, Columbia Journalism School, Whole Life Times (Los Angeles), Toronto Sun, the John Dayle Show (KFYI AM, Phoenix), the Eliot Stein Show (syndicated radio and Internet broadcast), Discovery with Josh Wagner (KKUP, 91.5 FM, Santa Clara, California), KOGO (News Radio 600, San Diego), Jupiterís Girl syndicated radio show, Lakes Log.

Book Reviews:
Publisherís Weekly, Feminist Bookstore News, Yoga Journal, New York Post, Choice Magazine, Boston Herald, Nexus (Colorado), Gentle Strength Times, Coastlines (UCSB alumni), Theology Digest, Nova Religio, Rapport, India West, Rediff.com, Amazon.com.

Book Signings:
Prescott College reunion; Gentle Strength Co-op, Tempe; Different Drummer Bookshop, Laguna Beach; L.A. Times Toastmasters; Biltmore Plaza Border's Books, Phoenix; Bodhi Tree Bookstore, Los Angeles; Health & Life Enrichment Expo, Pasadena; Sacramento Reads book festival, and others.

Publishers:
ISKCON World Review, Van Dhal Publications, Gentle Strength Times, Arizona Woman, Lakes Log, ICSA Today, Cultic Studies Review, University of Illinois Press, Kindle, steamboats.com, surrealist.org, Apple Books, and others.

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