HOW TO MAKE YOUR STORY INTERESTING
No one wants to write a
life story that no one wants to read. After investing so
much time in your project, you want a story that readers
find interesting as well as informative. You want a story
that keeps readers turning pages to find out what happens
· Let Your Feelings Show--Writing
about feelings is difficult—more difficult for some than
others. Your life story will be only as interesting as your
ability to express your feelings on paper. How do you do
it? Describe how your body reacts to emotions. "My heart
raced when I heard John coming up the front walk." Show how
feelings translate into behavior. "I sat right next to the
phone and kept checking my watch every 15 minutes." Create
a scene that dramatizes emotions.
· Be Honest--You've
likely read family histories written by well-meaning
relatives who make everyone in the family seem like saints.
Everything is whitewashed to create a picture of a noble
family living in an idyllic world. These kinds of stories
bore the daylights out of us because they don't seem real.
It's difficult to know what to believe. So be honest.
· Show, Don't Tell--You
can tell someone how to wash the dishes (fill the sink with
warm, soapy water, scrub the dishes with a sponge, rinse,
etc.), or you can show them by demonstrating what you mean.
We all know that showing communicates far more effectively
than merely telling. The same principle applies to writing.
You can tell your readers that your sister was depressed or
you can show the depression by describing your sister's
messy house, her inattention to her appearance, and failure
to answer the phone--all examples that illustrate
depression. Try to avoid summary statements. Use plenty of
illustrative details to demonstrate how things look and
· Include all the Senses--Let
your readers know how things sounded, tasted, and smelled.
Too often we confine our descriptions to the sense of sight.
Including the other senses makes your writing come alive.
· Include Suspense and Conflict--Like
novels, life stories need conflict and suspense to keep
readers interested. Every good story needs an antagonist,
something or someone the hero (you) struggles against,
whether it's society (prejudice), nature (weather), internal
demons (addictions), or other people (your cantankerous
spouse). When you dismiss your life struggles with cursory
summaries, you keep your readers at a distance. You hide key
information that helps them understand you better. So,
develop those conflicts. Your life story should be filled
with incidents that let your readers visualize your hopes,
dreams, and worries. They'll love you for it and they'll
root for your success.