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Writing Books/non fiction: how to write a real life story


Hi Susan,

I am thinking a writing a book about my life experiences.But not getting a start.I would like to know how should i start it.Your response is awaited. Thanks in advance,



Dear Archana:

So you have decided to write a book, great! Many writers find themselves confused about how to begin.

Before you start to write, you must plan. A steady, relentless, thoughtful approach is the best way to write a book. So here are some things for you to think about:

1. What is your premise? What is your book "about, other than your life experiences? There must be something you will want to say about what your life has taught you - what will the writer take away from this book? An example: "Love + money = a good marriage." You should be able to state this in one sentence. Your premise should be global, in other words, it should apply to all people, and all the life experience you include should support your premise.

2. Get yourself a pack of 8x5 cards and on each, write a few words or a sentence or two about one of your life events that you will include. Just a brief description to remind yourself of what you're talking about. Does there seem to be any pattern to these events?

3. Now comes the creative part. Arrange the cards in the order you want to write about them. Only you can do this, and it will take some thinking, but sooner or later some pattern will appeal to you. Go with that one.

4. From the pattern you see, make an outline. Number the cards in the way you want them to go, and transfer the information on them to your computer. Under each event, write down how this event supports your premise.

5.  Now you can start your first draft. Follow the outline, making necessary adjustments as you go. Don't worry about how good it is or whether it will be published, just write straight through, as fast as you can.

When you have gone that far, come back and we'll proceed to the next step.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 450 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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