How to Write Life Stories as Play or Video Scripts, Biographies, Memoirs, Success Stories, or Novels: What steps to take in organizing and planning
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If you’re thinking of writing your life story as a play, or your own autobiography as prose, begin by condensing experience in small chunks or paragraphs as if you’re putting the details into a time-capsule. Use vignettes for one to three acts. Focus on how you solved problems, obtained measurable results, or reached goals. Emphasize how you overcame challenges or obstacles, and transcended or built upon past choices. The last act of the play needs to show your voice of confidence and resilience. Write in short paragraphs and short sentences.
- Contact family members or descendants, if available, for permission to write their family member’s memoirs.
- Write memoirs of various clerical or other religious or social leaders.
- Write two to four dozen memorials for houses of worship. Put these memorials in a larger book of memoirs for various organizations, religious groups, houses of worship, or professional associations.
- Find a model for your biographies. These could be centered on any aspect of life, such as religious or community service as well as vocations.
- Read the various awards biographies.
- Focus on the accomplishments that stand out.
- Use oral eulogies used in memorial services as your foundation. Consult professionals who conduct memorial services. The average eulogy runs about 1,500 to 1,800 words. That’ is what’s known as magazine article average length. Focus on the highlights, significant events, and turning points.
- Write biographies, memoirs, and autobiographies by focusing on the highlights of someone’s life or your own life story. Turn personal histories into life stories that you can launch in the media. You need to make a life story salable. It is already valuable.
- Read autobiographies in print. Compare the autobiographies written by ghostwriters to those written by the authors who write about their own experiences.
- If you write a biography in third person keep objective. If you write an autobiography in first person you can be subjective or objective if you bring in other characters and present all sides of the story equally.
- If you’re writing a biography, whose memories are you using? If you write an autobiography, you can rely on your own memory. Writing in the third person means research verifying facts and fact-checking your resources for credibility. How reliable is the information?
- Use oral history transcriptions, personal history, videos, audio tapes, and interviews for a biography. You can use the same for an autobiography by checking for all sides of the story with people involved.
- With personal and oral histories, be sure to obtain letters of permission and to note what is authorized. Celebrities in the public eye are written about with unauthorized or authorized biographies. However, people in private life who are not celebrities may not want their name or photo in anyone’s book.
- When interviewing, get written approval of what was said on tape. Let the person see the questions beforehand to be able to have time to recall an answer with accuracy regarding facts and dates or times of various events. Give peoples’ memories a chance to recall memories before the interview.
- Write autobiographies in the first person in genre or diary format. You can also dramatize the autobiography in a play or skit first and then flesh it out into novel format. Another alternative is to focus only on the highlights, events, and turning points in various stages of life.
Give Your Characters Choices. Then let them transcend past decisions and move the story forward.
If you’re writing your own or another person’s memoirs for reminiscing, for closure, or as a way to transcend past choices and move on to healthier, higher approaches to your celebration of life, would you prefer to write a first person fictional autobiography, a specific stage-of-life event such as coming of age, or a true-life success story focusing on business or career choices?
Give your characters choices so they can solve the problems in your story, whether it's fiction or true life events. Familiarity sells in commercial autobiography. That's how you solve problems in writing. Can you offer various kinds of solutions to problems for readers or take your characters out of predicaments and dilemmas in believable ways?
Give 'readers and viewers the familiar inside of the unfamiliar because universal values sell big. Don't given 'em Crystal Pepsi when they expect classic Coca Cola to be brown.
In other words, the same Cinderella or Cinderfella story sells in ancient China or Egypt as it did in Europe in 1900 as it does today in Internet romances or virtual worlds avatars.
Three points focusing on creating stability in your characters’ ultimate choices regardless of changing events: 1) familiarity 2) commitment to family and 3) universal values can make best sellers in sagas, novels, multimedia books, and scripts or games.
Whether you're selling mortal combat games to guys or suspense science fiction time travel historical romances to gals, familiarity sells books, and values sell virtues we all want to identify with because it makes us feel important in front of ourselves and others, gives us self-respect, and makes us feel good.
People are afraid of the unfamiliar unless it's packaged as the familiar....an old story in new clothes. The new media is an old story in new clothes....that ancient Egyptian Net poem with an attitude, a fresh delivery, a new twist on a universal that's familiar.
Who does a writer follow, if anyone, when developing memorable characters? A fiction writer's world is focused on telling a story of how one person is related to society and how society relates back to the character in the story or play. And a lot of people don’t like a bunch of talk about popular personality assessments that appear each decade. So in your fiction writing, cut the psychology terminology and focus on what people do, why they do it, and what they get out of doing it.
If you want to write a great story, do you look to Freud who divided people into their id, ego, and superego? You don’t have to if you can divide your characters into three people transcending past choices and moving on: Those who identified more with mom, more with dad, or equally with both and create your dialogue from whether the character oriented negatively, positively, or ambivalently to either or both parents?
If you want to develop characters that make great stories, you want a magnanimous character that inspires the audience to come back for more. So let the characters make their own choices based on what they want and why they want it. How do you champion avatars writing their life stories in a work of fiction or true story?
A great story tells how each of us pursues power and/or commitment. Problems in writing can be solved through selecting universal values with which almost all people identify.
Choices of each of your characters can show the reader of stories, novels, and biographies or autobiographies or the viewing audience of plays, videos, various documentaries, or entertainment films why and how each character acted they way he or she did to move the story toward its ultimate conclusion. In print or digital media, your audience already has more choices to control the emotions of the characters in a story. Add another dimension to your digital or print fiction or creative nonfiction.