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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 next. 

      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 feel.    

      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.



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