Your Life as Story: Writing Narrative Non Fiction
Lisa Dale Norton
Everyone Has A Life of Stories
"People who dream of writing their life story must do the hard work of learning the craft . . ."
Everyone has a life of stories . . . but not everyone can turn that life into a manuscript that will excite and engage readers. People who dream of writing their life story must do the hard work of learning the craft of writing.
I often hear from people who tell me their life is amazing, they want to write a memoir, their story will help other people.
I believe this.
And yet, there is much more involved than simply recognizing that your life is full of lessons.
The first thing you must have is basic understanding of sentences and punctuation. I know this sounds rudimentary, but many people do not understand punctuation, or even what a noun is or a verb, or where either go in a sentence. They think someone down the road will fix this stuff for them.
This is a misunderstanding.
If you know basic composition, great! If you are challenged in this area, or a little rusty, take a community-based class before setting out on the journey to put together a manuscript. If you do not, you will meet with frustration as you attempt to achieve your writing dream.
"What do the stories that you love do, as a structure, as a work of art?"
Then learn what a story is. Really think about it. What do the stories that you love do, as a structure, as a work of art? In other words: Why do you love them? How do they keep you interested?
A lot of being a writer has to do with paying attention to the art of the stories around you. We are all born story tellers, some more gifted than others no doubt, but it is in us as humans to order information into structures to make sense out of it. How do you make your mark on the stories you tell?
"Listen. And learn the basics. "
And learn the basics.
Then you will be ready to set out on the fascinating journey of creating a manuscript.
About Lisa Dale Norton Lisa Dale Norton's new book about memoir, SHIMMERING IMAGES: A HANDY LITTLE GUIDE TO WRITING MEMOIR (St. Martin's Press), is in bookstores now. Lisa is the author of the acclaimed memoir HAWK FLIES ABOVE: JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF THE SANDHILLS, a work combining memoir and nature writing. She teaches for the UCLA Writers' Extension Program and speaks nationally on the process of memoir. She lives in Santa Fe. www.lisadalenorton.com