Writing Books/non-fiction


i have already written about my childhood life .As a child whose is abandoned by a rich father at the age of 1 month; living in rural africa and looked after by my mother.My question is how do i organise the material;which is mostly still hand-written, and the writing techniques required and where i can get assistance considering poverty in africa.Thank you.

Hello Kwanga David:

Your question is in three parts:

1. How you organize your material depends on what your premise is. Before you start to write, you must plan. A steady, relentless, thoughtful approach is the best way to write a book. A premise is a statement of what the reader will learn from this book. An example: "If you are poor and black in Africa, you will need courage to survive." A book with that premise would show how the author learned courage and the importance of courage. In other words, what has your life experience taught you? You should be able to state this in one sentence.

2. So you have your premise. Now, how can you write to support your belief? What events in your life shaped your life lesson? Get yourself a pack of 3x5 cards and on each, write a few words or a sentence or two about one of your life events that proved to be a lesson about your premise. Just a brief description to remind yourself of the details. Can you isolate the time when the lesson really came home to you?

3. When you finish, you should have a handful of cards listing some of the events of your life. Lay them out and look at them - do you see any that seem to go together? If so, put them together. The reason you think they should go together is the key to the way you will organize your work. For help with this, I will direct you to a website http://www.rscc.cc.tn.us/owl&writingcenter/OWL/Types.html (You will have to cut and paste as this site does not support hyperlinks). Study the different types of essays and read the samples. A non-fiction book is nothing but a long essay. Find one that seems to fit your material and what you want to do with it. Then adopt that structure. Once you see how essays are put together, you should have no trouble organizing your material.

As for the writing techniques, there are far too many to list here. You will have to do some studying. If you will go to my website, you may find some help there.

About the subject of poverty in Africa, I typed that into google.com and came up with 3.230,000 hits, so there is plenty of information available.

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 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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