Synopses & Reviews
In Your Life As Story, autobiography expert Tristine Rainer explains how we can all find the important messages in our lives. Like Mary Karr or Frank McCourt, we can shape those stories into dramatic narratives that are compelling to others. Blending literary scholarship with practical coaching, Rainer shares her remarkable techniques for finding the essentials of story structure within your life's scattered experiences. Most important, she explains how to treasure the struggles in your past and discover the meaning within those experiences to capture the unique myth at work in your life.
"A compelling sourcebook for all writers interested in putting their life stories down on paper . . . at once encouraging, forceful, and thoroughly convincing."
"Your Life as Story is like a French dessert: rich and luscious, to be slowly devoured and savored for all it offers."
"A book both practical and inspiring. Rainer knows how to shape autobiography into art, and she shares this knowledge with clairty, enthusiasm, and a knack for choosing writers' words that best illustrate her point."
Bernard Cooper, personal essayist and memoirist, author of Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum Memoirs
About the Author
Tristine Rainer is the director of the Center for Autobiographic Studies in Pasadena, California. She teaches autobiographic writing at the University of California Los Angeles and at the University of Southern California.
Table of Contents
1. The Story Only You Can Tell
2. The Evolution of a New Autobiography
3. What Is a Story?
4. A Story Depends on How You Slice It
5. The Nine Essential Elements of Story Structure
6. Genres of the Self
7. Tricks Memory Plays on You and Tricks You Can Play on It
8. Finding Your Voice
9. Portraying Yourself: You Are Your Hero
10. Portraying Others: Casting Your Story from Life
11. Truth in Autobiographic Writing
12. How to Write What You Dare Not Say
13. Dealing with Your Dark Side
14. Writing the Body
15. Theme: String for Your Pearls
17. Anatomy of a Scene: Description, Inner Responses, Dialog, and Structure
18. Jumping and Leaping through Time
20. Dressing Up before Going Out
21. Emotional, Legal, and Ethical Concerns
22. Finishing the Unfinished Story
1. Forming or Finding a Memoir Group
2. Selling Your Story for Fame and Fortune and Other Good Alternatives
Bibliography of Autobiographic Works and Critical Works on Memoir Cited in the Text