Often written in narrative form an autobiography gives the history of a person’s life, written or told by that person.
The definition states:
“he or she gives a vivid description of his or her childhood in their autobiography” Sub sections are memoirs, life story, or personal history.
It differentiates from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing because it is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, rather than a diary entry, which although reflective moves through a series of moments in time. In other words an autobiography takes stock of the writers life by way of memory from the moment of the composition. A distinction on autobiography versus memoir is that a memoir is less focused on self and more on others.
The ‘life’ autobiography may focus on a subjective view of the person’s life, which in some cases can lead to misleading or incorrect information by way of the inability or unwillingness of the writer to recall memories accurately.
A ‘spiritual’ autobiography follows the writer’s journey towards God or other deity, which resulted from a conversion. It is a vehicle to endorse his or her new found religion.
A ‘fictional autobiography’ is a novel about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography in first-person and reflecting on both internal and external experiences of their character.
An I-Novel is a Japanese literary genre used to describe a confessional type literature where the events related correspond to the author’s life. In many cases it exposed the darker side of society or the author’s own dark side.
A memoir differs from an autobiography as it focuses on more intimate memoirs, feelings and emotions, rather than the ‘life and times’ of a writer in a typical autobiography. For example, memoirs about politicians or military leaders glorify their public exploits.
Have you written or are you thinking of writing your autobiography?
Whose autobiography have you read that you enjoyed?
I still vividly remember reading The Dairy of A Young Girl (Anne Frank) at school. It is such a powerful and emotive book. Of course, I have read ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King several times (or more!)
Horror is a genre of fiction, of which, the defining trait is to provoke a response; either emotional, psychological or physical, within readers that causes them to react with fear, dread, disgust, or is frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting and even startles it’s readers with the text.
Horror: Ancient Greece and Rome
This genre has ancient origins with roots in folklore and religious traditions, which focused on death, the afterlife, evil, the demonic and also a ‘thing’ embodied in the person. This manifested as stories of witchcraft, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts.
Horror: Medieval Era
Much of horror fiction derived itself from the cruelest faces in world history, particularly those who lived in the fifteenth-century. “Dracula” can be traced to the Prince of Wallachia Vlad III, whose alleged war crimes were published in German pamphlets in the late Fifteenth Century and resulted in stories of horrifying detail.
Gothic horror: 18th century
Slowly the horror genre became traditional Gothic literature. 18th century Gothic horror drew on sources of seminal and controversial elements of the supernatural instead of pure realism.
Horror: 19th century
After the Gothic tradition blossomed the genre became the horror literature we now know in the 19th century. Influential works and characters still continue to resonate, such as Brother’s Grimm and Hansel & Gretel (1812) and of course Frankenstein (1818) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (1820)
Cheap periodicals became prolific at the turn of the century, leading to a boom in horror writing. Horror writers of the time included H.P. Lovecraft pioneering cosmic horror and M.R. James redefining the ghost story. Also the serial murderer became a recurring theme.
Contemporary horror fiction
As most of you know Stephen King is my hero and it is the best-known contemporary horror writer. His stories have delighted and frightened many of us for decades, from Carrie to Sleeping Beauties and all those tales in-between.
I have to admit as a prolific reader of Mr. King, I am wary of ever writing a horror story because I don’t think I can measure up to his expertise.
Do you write horror? What theme do you favor?
What horror writers/books have you read and ‘enjoyed’?
As writers we want to grip our readers from that all important first line. It is not an easy task and can consume our thoughts for days, weeks or even months.
Today I want to share some of my first lines:
The Rython Kingdom. A romantic adventure set in medieval England.
“He’s coming! He’s coming! Guillem Ruet is here!”
Guillem smiled at the group of children running beside his horse as he rode toward the castle’s drawbridge. Dirty and barefooted, these youngsters would not be lucky enough to hear his newest tale, first hand. That pleasure would be for the inner court alone. It was a strange and most complex tale and all the more mysterious for being made of a dream.
I have introduced the protagonist, where he is and the source of the story’s basis.
Ockleberries to the Rescue. A children’s chapter book telling the story of magical woodland sprites and their forest animal friends.
Curled into a ball with his bushy red tail across his snout, Swift twitched in his sleep. He helped Tansy the previous evening by dashing to the aid of a rabbit. Now his mind replayed his hurried course through the forest to the sprites home.
Again I have the main characters, their home and their a hint of their adventures.
Working on first lines takes effort and we change them time and again. This is true of my latest novel, Life in Slake Patch. It has been revisited many times in the 10 years since I began writing. It was my first NaNoWriMo and the most I had written up t that point. This year I promised myself I would complete it.
Life in Slake Patch. A speculative fiction novel of a matriarchy world and one young man’s journey that changes everything.
Jacob’s persuasion for me to look at an extraordinary book had gotten the better of my curiosity. He led the way down the steps into the old library basement. The building, whose very structure of stone blocks was in stark contrast to our log buildings, stood as a relic of a world before the Grand War.
We understand this is not the present age and two people are gripped in a a secret together.
My next book will be launched on 1st October at a local event called Words in the Park. Clickety Click. A YA adventure mystery of a young girl who discovers a huge secret, which has astonishing changes for her and those around her.
Its eyes widened as it grew closer and closer to her face. Alice was paralyzed with fear, clutching her bedcovers with white knuckled fingers. The creature’s mauve skin glistened with slime and drops fell onto its spindly pointed claws. Alice opened and closed her mouth willing her voice to sound in the dark bedroom. The claws clicked together as the monster’s jaw opened. Click. Click. Clickety-click.
I have introduced Alice, my protagonist and the cause of her terror.
I read a multiple of genres but some of my favorite first lines are:
The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
It was dark where she was crouched but the little girl did as she’d been told. The lady said to wait, it wasn’t safe yet, they had to be quiet as larder mice.
Ferney by James Long.
As he looked for the bones of his long-dead wife, old Ferney came close to death. Caught in the traffic jam that resulted, Gally Martin’s life changed.
The Map of Time by Felix de Palma
Andrew Harrington would have gladly died several times over if that meant not having to choose just one pistol among his father’s vast collection in the living room cabinet. Decisions had never been Andrew’s strong point.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Seebold
My name is Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973.
Room by Emma Donoghue
Today I’m five, I was four last night going to sleep in Wardrobe, but when I wake up in Bed in the dark I’m changed to five, abracadabra.
I could fill this post with Stephen King first lines, as you all know he is my hero.
It by Stephen King
“The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years—if it ever did end—began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain.”
Cell by Stephen King
“The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1.”
As many of you know I am a great fan of Stephen King, so scary stories are part of my every day reading. However, there are a number of other novelists that might peak your interest (or not!)
This list is quite comprehensive. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10411523/15-scary-books-to-terrify-you-this-Halloween.html
Which ones would you buy?
Have you read any of them? Care to share your thoughts?
It is interesting how different things scare different people. As a young single woman I identified with the poor rabid dog in Cujo but decades later as a mother, my fear was for the child. Perspective changes everything, even our fears.
After I had my children my recurrent nightmare was being buried in an avalanche with them – odd as at that time I lived in England so no fear of an avalanche at all. Now I live in Canada it would make more sense – but that’s dreams for you. As a young child my recurrent nightmare was being impaled on a rhinoceros’ horn and it running through a marquee full of people enjoying a party. (I was born in South Africa, so maybe this was a deeply subconscious fear). It took decades before I could even look at a rhino on the TV let alone in the flesh. Until, that is my daughter asked me to touch one. That broke the fear spell.
What are your fears? Do they carry over from childhood? Have they changed?