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!)
Our emotions and physical condition certainly influence our moods and in turn our writing. Strong emotions, such as anger or depression subdue our creativity while feelings of love and happiness enhance it. If we are suffering an illness, our mind is filled with pain, discomfort or tiredness. Our concentration is in short supply or our focus limited. To pour out these feelings in words can dispel some of them.
As writers, we learn to use these emotional insights to the benefit of our craft. It gives us an idea how our characters may react to a certain situation and thus breathes life into our stories. Of course when we are in the midst of these feelings they are possibly too raw to even contemplate using but as with all things time heals. Jot down how it felt to be angry, shocked, sad, joyful or happy.
Did your body feel different?
Was your mind erratic or focused?
When the feeling passed, what changes did you notice?
When you can look back at that emotion and look deeply into it, it is there we find inspiration – it will strengthen our writing – and also (hopefully) help resolve barriers in character development.For example, after feeling angry does your ‘action’ scene have more impact? Did you channel the forceful nature of your feelings into your characters? Or when relaxed and comfortable can you imagine a characters reflection on a certain subject better?
How do you find your emotional state affects your writing?
Have you used a personal emotion to good effect in your writing?
Did an emotion inspire a story?
Taking your inspiration from this image, write the story of where the toadstools lead.
Enjoy this prompt and leave your response in the comments. 1000 words maximum for a short story. Poems can be any length.
A quarterly prize will be given for the most voted for response.
Join in and enter for the quarterly prize for the top voted response to these weekly prompts – so make sure you comment below to enter the contest. 1000 word maximum.
Using this image write a poem or short story. Is this essence of life? A soul? Magic?
What does the image conjure up in your imagination?
Remember to vote for your favorites.
We all feel directionless from time to time, whether it is work related boredom, a relationship stagnating or our writing process requires refreshing. We suffer the emotion and frustration in different ways depending on its source.
As for a writing malaise there are tools to get us back on track. We can employ the multitude of writing prompts available via the internet, whether they are pictures, sentences or random words to spark our imagination. There are word games we can purchase as well. And of course there are the numerous ‘filed’ ideas on our computer or notebooks that can be read through and reworked. Or we can explore the outside world for inspiration. Even the experience of quietly sitting in a cafe, library or other public place and people watching can spark a new idea or story.
Another ‘trick’ is to rewrite or create a story but change your usual genre or even the gender of the main character. A different perspective harnesses our creativity and ensures enthusiasm in writing again.
My current malaise is more overload than a lack of inspiration. With freelance clients, reviewing a friends new novel and a manuscript progressing tantalizingly slowly on top of ‘normal’ life, work, chores, family etc. etc. I feel discouraged coupled with anxiousness at what needs to be done and the apathy I am feeling. I need a break from the ‘norm’ to refresh and renew.
What methods have you used to ‘refresh’ your Muse?
Awake the God Thoth again!