How to Write Your Life Story

Overview

Lies About Writing Your Life Story

  • You have to be a famous celebrity.
  • You must have an amazing life.
  • You can't write your life story until you're old and gray.
  • Nobody will read it, so what's the point?
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Overview

Lies About Writing Your Life Story

  • You have to be a famous celebrity.
  • You must have an amazing life.
  • You can't write your life story until you're old and gray.
  • Nobody will read it, so what's the point?
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 4-7 Fletcher gives readers and educators many practical and supportive tips. To get started, he suggests a few exercises, including having budding autobiographers write about their names and draw a map of their neighborhood. From there, writers must find a focus, keeping readers in mind as they write. He explains that the gist of the story should be honest, though dialogue and sometimes even characters might be invented for literary flow. He addresses telling embarrassing facts about oneself; similarly, he gives examples of times when writers reveal unflattering truths about friends and family. Interspersed within the text are interviews with Jack Gantos, Kathi Appelt, and Jerry Spinelli, along with passages from the author's own memoir, Marshfield Dreams (Holt, 2005). Add this title to Fletcher's Poetry Matters (2002) and How Writers Work (2000, both HarperCollins) for the budding writers out there looking to improve on their techniques.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI

Kirkus Reviews
Fletcher addresses budding memoirists in his latest writing manual, offering both practical techniques for getting started and general advice about the craft of writing vividly-from constructing a well-paced narrative to communicating a sense of authenticity. For example, he draws from his own autobiography, Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid (2005), as well as passages from both young writers and professionals, and for further insight he tucks in pithy interviews with Jack Gantos, Jerry Spinelli and Kathi Appelt. Capped by a list of autobiographies written for young readers, and enhanced by examples of the preparatory physical and emotional "maps" that some writers use as frameworks, this is all systematic, carefully constructed and likely to be helpful for both assignment-driven and creative writing. (Nonfiction. 9-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060507701
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Pages: 112
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph Fletcher has always been a special person for children's literature. He is the author of picture books, nonfiction, and novels for young readers. How to Write Your Life Story is the fifth book in Mr. Fletcher's series of instructional writing books, which includes A Writer's Notebook, Live Writing, How Writers Work, and Poetry Matters. Mr. Fletcher lives with his family in New Hampshire.

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Read an Excerpt

How to Write Your Life Story

Chapter One

The Buffalo

When I was little we called Dad's bathrobe his "buffalo." I don't know why we called it that, but we did. He traveled a lot during those years, selling textbooks to schools all over New England. When he came home Friday night, one of the first things he did was to put on that big, white terrycloth bathrobe along with his slippers. We would snuggle hard against his buffalo while he read stories to us before bed.

On Sunday night Dad loaded up his car and left to sell books. By midweek we would start pestering Mom. Could we get out Dad's buffalo? Just for a little while? She usually refused at first, but after a while she'd sigh and give in.

We'd race upstairs to the closet in Mom and Dad's bedroom. The buffalo always hung on a particular hook. We would jostle each other to be the first to pull it down and drag it downstairs to the living room. Then we'd wrap it around ourselves while we watched TV. The buffalo was big enough for two or even three kids to nestle inside its shaggy white bulk. Beyond its warmth and softness, the most wonderful thing about Dad's buffalo was how it had soaked up his essence, his smell. We would sit there, wrapped in the warmth and comforting scent of the father we missed so much. I discovered that if I closed my eyes and breathed in the smell, I could almost believe he was actually there, holding us in his strong arms.

Today the word buffalo makes me think of the mighty beasts that roamed the Great Plains until they were almost wiped out by hunters in the late 1800s. But for me the word has another, more personal meaning that'sconnected to my father. It reminds me of missing him all those nights when he was gone, plus the comfort and security I felt when he came back home.

How to Write Your Life Story. Copyright © by Ralph Fletcher. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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