Writing Books/My Life


I really want to write my life story and have it published and sold.  The only thing is I don't really know how to even start?!  Please could you tell me what initial steps I should take and anything else I would need, as I don't really have an idea of who to put everything together.

Many thanks,


Hello Clare:

First, I would suggest you outline your life in the simplest way possible. Get a pack of index cards and on these write down an incident from your life in a few words, just enough to jog your memory - there should be 10 or 15 of them, however many chapters you want. Choose the important ones, the ones that turned your life aside onto a new path, the ones with deep emotional significance.

Now you must decide how you want to structure your book, chronologically or by some other method. Many autobiographies begin with the individual's birth and go on to the present, others use a different arrangement. If you have not done so, read a few autobiographies to see how they are structured.

Once you have a structure, arrange your cards accordingly, then transfer them to your computer. Now you have an outline. Save a copy of the original, then start adding to
another copy, just anything you think of under the various events. Ask yourself these questions: What changed here? How did I feel about it, what plans did I make? How did my friends feel about it, my parents? What did I decide, what happened, and how did I feel about the result?

Once you have this extended outline finished, just keep adding to it as you think of new things. Try for the widest emotional range possible; experiencing these emotions with you will greatly satisfy your readers. Now you have a first draft. When you reach that point, come back if you need to, and we will discuss the second draft.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 180+ questions.

And good luck with your book!  

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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 http://pygmypress.com, 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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