Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Writing a Life Story - Sara-Beth Watkins

Circle Network Book Review: Telling Life’s Tales – A Guide to Writing Life Stories for Print and Publication by Sara-Beth Watkins Published by Compass Books 134 pages paperback £9.99 

So many ordinary people want to write a memoir, an autobiography or life story but do not know where to start. The market is competitive so you must be well informed in order to give yourself a very good chance of writing a really readable, enjoyable and interesting book.  This primer provides the best start for a total beginner. The author is a tutor The Open College and teaches creative writing. She has 20 years’ experience as a freelance writer, has written three fantasy e-books and two other books for
writers ‘The Lifestyle Writer’ and ‘The Writer’s Internet’.

The author provides all relevant information on how to interview and write dialogue and do valuable research via the internet. We are reminded of some very important points which are best remembered, such as gaining permissions, copyrights, libels and other legalities. We are supplied with the definition of a ‘life story’ and examine good reasons for writing one. All the usual elements of a storyline are detailed, such as structuring the plot and subplot, fleshing out the characters, creating settings, tone and dialogue, finishing the story and choosing a title for the work. Nothing is missed out. We are informed of how to present our manuscript to a potential publisher by way of a ‘query letter’, how to write a synopsis of our work and how to cope with rejection letters. Many writers do not know the difference between traditional publishers, self-publishing and vanity publishing and these are explained. After we have published, then the hard work starts of marketing through promotions, talks, workshops, courses, writing for magazines, etc. I enjoyed it and think all the important points were covered well.  Reviewer: Wendy Stokes www.wendystokes.co.uk

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