I love reading books. Since June 17,1959 I've been writing books, writing articles about books, writing articles about how to write books...writing more....and sometimes illustrating the covers of several of my books.
How to research, record, and write creative, salable biographies
Before you begin writing or publishing works, remember the quote from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action." Your goal in memoirs writing or writing biography and autobiography or in recording and writing life story highlights is to stimulate memories in creative ways. Check out my video lecture on Internet Archive, "So You Want to Be a Personal Historian."
The one hour and 44 minute talk is at the Internet Archive site:
Your project to enhance creativity in writing skills would include how to interview older adults, write their stories, or video record them for future generations to make time capsules, keepsake albums, recorded oral history/transcribed also as text, or salable life stories. It would appeal not only to writers but also to personal historians and others interested in life story writing and recording.
How to Stimulate Memory by Memoirs Writing
How do you help others (and yourself) by teaching or coaching a course in how to increase memory efficiency by writing one's life story as a salable non-fiction memoir, autobiography, play, skit, monologue, or transcribed oral history recording?
The technique would be of interest to anyone working with older adults, stay-at-home moms, or persons at any stage of life from high-school graduation life stories (to be looked at a generation later) to working with senior citizens through intergenerational writing--where young and older people work together on life story writing, recording, and transcribing for memory stimulation/reminiscing. Focus on how to make a time capsule of memory from life story highlights, turning points, and significant events.
Here's how your course in writing memoirs could operate, run, and play
Writing Memoirs to Enhance Memories and Creativity
Start with Vignettes
To stimulate your age-wise memory, start by writing short vignettes about an experience that emphasizes significant events, turning points, and individual stages of life. Use insight, hindsight, and pitfalls to avoid. Use foresight if you’ve had the premonition. Put direct experience in a small package and launch it worldwide.
Write your life story in short vignettes of 1,500 to 1,800 words. Write eulogies and anecdotes or vignettes of life stories and personal histories for mini-biographies and autobiographies. Then condense or contract the life stories or personal histories into PowerPoint presentations and similar slide shows on disks using lots of photos and one-page of life story.
1,500 word vignettes provide a slice-of-life biography of an experience or life story highlight
Finally, collect lots of vignettes and flesh-out the vignettes, linking them together into first-person diary-style novels and books, plays, skits, or other larger works. Write memoirs or eulogies for people or ghostwrite biographies and autobiographies for others.
If ghostwriting is too invisible, write biographies and vocational biographies, success stories and case histories, and customize for niche interest groups. Your main goal with personal history and life stories is to take the direct experience itself and package each story as a vignette.
The vignette can be read in ten minutes
So fill magazine space with a direct experience vignette. Magazine space needs only 1,500 words. When you link many vignettes together, each forms a book chapter or can be adapted to a play or script.
By turning vignettes into smaller packages, they are easier to launch to the media. When collected and linked together, they form a chain of vignettes offering nourishment, direction, purpose, and information used by people who need to make choices. Here's how to write those inspiration-driven, persistence-driven life stories and what to do with them. Use universal experience with which we all can identify.
Included are a full-length diary-format first person novel and a three-act play, including a monologue for performances. There's a demand for direct life experiences written or produced as vignettes and presented in small packages.
Save those vignettes electronically. Later, they can be placed together as chapters in a book or adapted as a play or script, turned into magazine feature, specialty, or news columns, or offered separately as easy-to-read packages.
Use General Statements, Proverbs, Slogans, or Mottos, and ‘Brand’ the Event
Here’s how to write, edit, dramatize, package, promote, present, publish & launch gift books as personal histories, autobiographies, biographies, vignettes, and eulogies: launching the inspiration-driven or design-driven life story and detailing your purpose.
Use personal or biographical experiences as examples when you write your essay. Begin by using specific examples taken from your personal experience, personal history, or biographical resources.
Start with a general statement, motto, slogan or proverb to connect the public to your client or the client’s attitude, purpose, achievements, or service. Then relate the general to your specific personal experience. You don't have to only write about your client or yourself. You can write about someone else as long as you have accurate historical facts about that person, and you state your credible resources. ‘Brand’ your client’s event as a stage of life celebration. With a business success story, ‘brand’ the type of event, such as a grand opening with the most important reason or purpose of the event—a good product.
Here's an example of two opening sentences that state the general and then give the specific personal experience. "Mom's a space garbage woman. She repairs satellites." Let's analyze all the different parts of an informed argument essay. By analyzing the result in depth instead of only skimming for breadth, you will be able to write concretely from different points of view.
You'll learn how to construct a memoirs or commemoration gift book from bare bones--from its concept. You start with a concept. Then you add at least three specific examples to your concept until it develops into a mold. A mold is a form, skeleton or foundation. Think of concept as conception. Think of mold as form or skeleton. Think of awning as the outer skin that covers the whole essay and animates it into lively writing.
You don't want your memoirs or other gift book to be flat writing. You want writing that is animated, alive, and able to move, motivate, or inspire readers. Finally, you cover the mold with an awning.
The mold is your pit, skeleton or foundation. Your mold contains your insight, foresight, and hindsight. It has the pitfalls to avoid and the highlights. You need to put flesh on its bones.
Then you need to cover your mold with an awning. You need to include or protect that concept and mold or form by including it under this awning of a larger topic or category. The awning holds everything together. It's your category under which all your related topics fall. That's what the technique of organizing your essay or personal history is all about.
In other words, concept equals form plus details. Story equals form plus details. That's the math formula for writing an essay if you'd like to put it into a logical equation of critical thinking. C = Fo + De. That's what you need to remember about writing an essay: your concept is composed of your form (mold, foundation, or skeleton) and details. A concept isn't an idea. It's the application of your idea.
A concept is what your story is about. Your concept is imbedded in your story. A story can mean your personal history or any other story or anecdote in your essay, or any highlight of your life or specific life experience. A concept also can be a turning point such as rites of passage or take place at any stage of life.
When writing the informed argument, you will be able to give examples backed up with resources. That's what makes an essay great--knowing what examples to put into the essay at which specific points in time.
Gone will be general, vague, or sweeping statements. Therefore, I'd like each of you on this learning team to start planning your essay by analyzing and discussing the parts that chronologically go into the essay. That's how you organize essays in a linear fashion.
Take an essay apart just as you would take a clock or computer apart, and put it back together. Now all the parts fit and work. Taking apart an essay helps you understand how to plan and write your own essay-writing assignments or personal history as a time capsule.
Here's how to take apart a memoir or life story or a business success case history. Some of your gift books will commemorate an event such as a coming of age ceremony, confirmation, sweet sixteen party, graduation, wedding, baby shower, anniversary or retirement. Your business clients may want to commemorate a grand opening or narrate a business history. To analyze a memoir in depth, you break the significant events into its six parts: statement-of-position, description, argumentation, exposition, supplementation and evaluation just as you would take apart a persuasive essay. Use the same format as if you’d write a persuasive essay destined to convince.
This is your foundation or umbrella. On top of this framework, you’d add the creative elements that make the life story or business success narration able to hold the attention of the reader. Remember that this is a coffee-table type gift book.
If you need to find out what the parts of a persuasive life story are, they are similar to the six parts of a persuasive essay. You can organize the parts of a life story as you would organize the six parts of an essay as explained in the book titled, The Informed Argument. (ISBN: 0155414593).
Use the same technique when writing life stories, skits, plays, persuasive essays, and gift books based on significant events of lives or business histories. This technique works because readers look to be convinced by experiences backed up by facts. It works for persuasive essays, and it works as well for life story experiences. Action verbs also help you organize your gift book topics or chapters by achievements done and results obtained or problems solved. For more ideas, you also can look at some action verbs in another book titled, 801 Action Verbs for Communicators. (ISBN: 0-595-31911-4).
Argumentation is part of a memoirs gift book if handled with courtesy and details that can be fact-checked or verified, if at all possible. Include resources and photos or video clips or audio interviews on a disk placed in an envelope at the back of the book if at all possible. Or use interviews in text in print paperback books. Before you even get to the expressive part of argumentation, you have to state your position and describe it by using specific examples. Then you get to the informed argument in the middle of your essay.
After you've finished arguing logically using critical thinking and your resources, you use exposition. Then you use supplementation, and finally evaluation. To practice writing personal history essays in text or on video, define and analyze the words 'exposition' and 'supplementation.' Use exposition and supplementation in at least one sentence each as an example of how you would use it in your essay. Don't stick to only what is familiar.
My dictionary defines 'exposition' as "a careful setting out of the facts or ideas involved in something." The principal themes are presented first in a 'music' exposition. Apply it now to an essay. Present your principal themes first in your personal history. Supplementation means adding to your work to improve or complete it.
The goal of an essay is to analyze your informed argument in depth. That's why there are six parts to an essay. Knowing what those six parts are as well as showing examples gives you the experience you need to plan and organize your essay. The result is that once you have organized your plan in writing, the essay almost writes itself.
Use proverbs, quotations, (with credits) and flesh out the proverbs or quotes with details of life stories and events. Keep an old proverb or quotation in front of you when you write. A memoirs book is about wanting others to know that your client cares
One goal of a memoirs book is to let the reader know that the client cares more about the readers than the readers would care what the client knows. It's a great saying to remind others why the client is creating a book. Everyone has a life story of great value.
How do you present the outcome of significant events, family or business history, or commemorations as a gift book? How do you publish the book? You start with your time and money budget and only then begin to break your organizing, writing, editing, and publishing into weekly tasks. The first week is for interviewing and gathering significant facts, events, and turning points.
A gift book may be presented also as a skit, play, or monologue and/or as a narrative book of highlights. For business histories and success stories, the narrative also can be turned into a 28 ½ minute infomercial script with two or more people interviewing the client.
The business success story infomercial, like the life story interview, needs a list of questions to present in advance that would take a specific time to answer such as a half-hour to an hour. Business infomercials usually are limited to 28 ½ minutes. Attention span for viewing is short. So write in seven to 10-minute chunks of reading or viewing time that allows time out for breaks.
“The Mind that Alters, Alters All” __ William Blake
Create a course on how to produce life stories, biographies, or personal and/or corporate success stories or similar histories and teach it
Course Overviews: Weeks 1 through 5 - 6
1. Put Direct Experience In A Small Package And Launch It Worldwide. Make Time Capsules.
2. Write, Record, & Publish Purpose-Driven Personal History
Dramatize, Package, Promote, Present, & Launch Your Purpose.
3. Edit, Dramatize, Package, Promote, Present, Publish, Record, Produce, & Launch Time Capsules of Personal Histories, Autobiographies, Biographies, Vignettes, and Eulogies: Launching the Inspiration-Driven or Design-Driven Life Story and Detailing Your Purpose.
Use Simplicity and Commitment in Personal History Writing, Time Capsules, and Videos. Here's useful insight to those who may someday write fiction, or their life stories, true experiences, or other people's life stories as vignettes or books created by linking a dozen or more vignettes together into a publishable book. Your aim is to produce time capsules or keepsake albums and other family history-related books, videos, audio projects, memory and/or prayer boxes, or memorabilia as heirlooms.
Look for insight, foresight, and hindsight. Mentoring is about pointing out what pitfalls to avoid. Instead of a formula, aim for simplicity, commitment, and persistence. Use simplicity in your writings.
How to Motivate People to Interview One Another for Personal History Productions
People are "less camera shy" when two from the same peer group or class pair up and interview each other on video camcorder or on audio tape from a list of questions rehearsed. People also can write the questions they want to be asked and also write out and familiarize themselves with the answers alone and/or with their interviewers from their own peer group.
Some people have their favorite proverbs, or a logo that represents their outlook on life. Others have their own 'crusade' or mission. And some have a slogan that says what they are about in a few words...example, "seeking the joy of life," or "service with a smile."
A play can come from someone's slogan, for example. A slogan, logo, proverb, or motto can form the foundation for a questionnaire on what they want to say in an oral history or personal history video or audio tape on in a multimedia presentation of their life story highlights.
Week 5 – 6 (Summary)
1. Document Recovery
2. How to Open a DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting and Production Service
1. Overview: Document Recovery
How do you rescue and recover memories from mold using conservation techniques? You transport horizontally and store vertically. Store documents and photos in plastic holders, between sheets of waxed paper, or interleave with acid-free paper. Books are stored spine down. Archive DVDs and CDs in plastic holders and store in plastic crates. To conserve time capsules, according to the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), in Washington, DC, neutralize that acid-wracked paper.
2. Overview: DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting Service
A memoirs gift book may include a report on DNA-driven genealogy test results. Include an interpretation on how to understand and ‘read’ the test, findings, or other information about genetic anthropology and its possibilities concerning genealogy. This information may be included in a memoirs gift book slanted to genealogy information when records of surnames can no longer be found.
If you decide to open an online, home-based DNA-driven genealogy reporting and production service, reports and time capsules could include the possible geographic location where the DNA sequences originated. Customers usually want to see the name of an actual town, even though towns didn’t exist 10,000 years ago when the sequences might have arisen.
The whole genome is not tested, only the few ancestral markers, usually 500 base pairs of genes. Testing DNA for ancestry does not have anything to do with testing genes for health risks because only certain genes are tested—genes related to ancestry. And all the testing is done at a laboratory, not at your online business.
If you're interested in a career in genetics counseling and wish to pursue a graduate degree in genetics counseling, that's another career route. For information, contact The American Board of Genetic Counseling. Sometimes social workers with some coursework in biology take a graduate degree in genetic counseling since it combines counseling skills with training in genetics and in interpreting genetics tests for your clients.
Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, debator, and prime minister in England (elected to parliament), wrote many novels, including a trilogy "Coningsby,” "Sybil," and "Tancred.” and The Life and Reign of Charles I (1828). A nearly three-page listing of Disraeli’s quotations appear in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.