Telling Life's Tales: A Guide to Writing Life Stories for Print and Publication

Telling Life's Tales: A Guide to Writing Life Stories for Print and Publication

by Sarah-Beth Watkins


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Telling Life's Tales: A Guide to Writing Life Stories for Print and Publication by Sarah-Beth Watkins

Telling Life’s Tales is a comprehensive guide to writing life stories. It helps writers and non-writers to decide what they want to tell of their lives and how they want to tell it. Giving practical advice and information, the reader will learn story structure, key elements of writing, how to plot and plan and how to check all their facts.

Everyone has a tale to tell and this book will help those tales come alive. Whether you are 22 or 82, Telling Life’s Tales will help the reader to put into words their most memorable recollections.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780996172
Publisher: Hunt, John Publishing
Publication date: 03/16/2013
Pages: 134
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Sarah Beth Watkins a freelance writer with over 20 years of writing for magazines and websites on a variety of topics including writing, parenting, crafts. literature and women's development.
Over the past ten years, she has also tutored a number of writing courses within community settings and as a distance and online learning tutor.
She lives in Ireland.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 What are Life Stories?

What is a Life-Story? 1

Why write your Life Story? 3

Types of Life Story 5

Where to find Life Stories 7

Reading Other People's Life Stories 9

Everyone has a Story to Tell 10

Chapter 2 Getting Started

Becoming a Writer 12

Your Writing Space 12

What You Will Need 13

Time and Commitment 14

Finding Ideas 15

Using your Memory 17

Up in the Attic 19

Moving Forward 19

Your Daily Routine 20

The Action Plan 20

Chapter 3 The Time of Your Life

Where to Start 22

The Main Events 23

Childhood 24

The Teenage Years 25

School 25

Love 26

Work 27

Considering Themes 27

Special Areas of Expertise 28

Travel 28

Skeletons in the Cupboard 29

Bringing your Story to Life 30

Chapter 4 Getting that Story into Shape

Plot 32

Characters 32

Settings and Places 32

Objects and Subjects 33

Event 33

Grand Finale 33

Subplots 34

Timelines 34

Planning your Chapters 36

The Greater Timeline perspective 37

Structure 38

Style and Tone 41

Book Length 41

Chapter 5 You're the Star!

You as the Main Character 42

Writing about Yourself 43

Character Biographies 43

Other Characters 45

Types of Characters 45

Checking your Characters 46

Character Grids 47

Making your Characters Believable 48

Dressing your Characters 49

Viewpoint 50

A Word of Caution 50

Chapter 6 Key Elements of Writing

Settings 52

Description 53

Using your Senses 54

Narration 55

Dialogue 56

Dialect 57

Presentation of Dialogue 58

Creating Intrigue 58

Flash forwards and flash backs 59

Choosing a Good Title 60

Chapter 7 Checking the Facts

Finding Facts 62

Where to Go 63

Using the Internet 64

Checking Family History 65

Looking at World History 66

Organizational Histories 67

Organizing your Research 68

Interviewing 69

How to Prepare 69

Conducting an Interview 70

What to Ask 71

Writing it Up 71

Asking Permission 72

Chapter 8 Editing and Presentation

The Curse of the Red Pen 73

How to Review your Own Work 74

Other People's Opinions 75

Presentation of your Manuscript 76

Approaching Publishers 77

The Query Letter 78

The Cover Letter 78

The Synopsis 79

The Chapter List 80

The Submission 80

Rejection 81

Chapter 9 Getting Published

Doing it Yourself 82

ISBN's 84

Self-publishing Companies 85

Vanity Presses 85

Publishing your own E-book 86

How to Decide what's Right for You 87

Copyright 89

Libel 90

Chapter 10 Writing Life Stories for Magazines

Writing Life Stories for Magazines 92

Researching the Magazine Market 93

The Story Format 94

The Article Format 94

Choosing an Article Topic 95

Writing an Article 96

Style and Tone 98

Letters to the Editor, Fillers and Columns 99

Tips and Suggestions 101

Submission and Presentation 101

Chapter 11 Writing Life Stories for Others

Helping Others Tell their Tales 103

Ghost-writing 104

Writing Family History 105

Stories for your Grandchildren 107

Writing Biographies 109

Chapter 12 Passing on Your Skills

Recognizing the Skills you've Gained 112

Giving Talks 112

Promoting your Work 113

What about a Workshop? 114

Designing a Course 115

Delivering a Course 117

Where to Talk and Tutor 119

Further Reading 121

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