Tag Archives: The Autobiographer’s Handbook

Studying Real People

Thanks for keeping me company while I did research for my book throughout the month of February.  This month I’m going to work on characterization.  Because it’s a memoir, the main character is yours truly.

My parents also figure prominently in the book, as a significant part is about my child and teen years.  Since I’ve been with my husband since we started going out in high school, he’s another character.  My grandmother shows up in the book, both as the elderly lady I knew and in a younger, imagined version.

While we are all real people, we will also be book characters.  For me to have enough understanding to successfully capture these characters on the page, I want to study more about characterization in general and about these particular characters in the specific.

I started by reading up on characterization in my favorite creative nonfiction how-to books.  I like what Jennifer Traig writes about being the main character in a memoir in The Autobiographer’s Handbook:

It may be helpful to think of it as a novel with a protagonist who shares your name and life history.

That’s good.  It gives me some distance with which to write.

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Do you have any tricks for making it easier to write about yourself and your own life?250px-Playign_cards-biju

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Filed under Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Research and prep for writing