how should I "format" my book?

by Cierra

Question: I want to base a book on events in my life. I'm having two issues. 1. Its been through the course of years and need to know if I should compress it down to for the book or break it up into a series. and 2. it has a lot of self conflict that I don't know how to express without it being confusing to the reader. help?!

Answer: Unless you are very famous, you probably shouldn't try to tell the story of your whole life. You probably want to write a memoir.

The challenge is to find the story within the events of your life. You have to be selective and choose the real events that tell the story and omit the rest (hard as that may be).

Think about the meaning of these events. What do they mean to you? What message do you want to convey to the reader?

Then try to structure the story in the basic pattern of a dramatic arc.

What were the key turning points?
Where did it all begin?
How did the challenges and issues deepen?
What led up to the decisive choice that made all the difference?
How were things different as a result of the choices you made?

Your internal conflict runs parallel to your external conflict and how you resolved your internal issues may have affected the choices you made in handling your external issues (that's how the inner and outer connect).

Note, I'm not suggesting you alter history, only that you select the key moments that illustrate the story you are telling so that the meaning becomes clear.

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