This week I finished reading my last autobiography for the 9th Grade English course. After watching all of Dr. North’s video lessons and reading the assigned autobiographies, I learnt one very important thing about writing autobiographies. In this essay, I am going to talk about what that thing is.
When writing an autobiography the author must always have one question in mind. “So what?” Whenever they decide to talk about a certain event they must always be thinking “so what?” What’s the point of this story? Will it be interesting to the reader? Authors that keep these questions in mind produce the best and most enjoyable autobiographies.
For example, when I had to read Henry David Thoreau’s autobiography about his time living on Walden’s Pond, it was tedious. Thoreau would spend paragraphs upon paragraphs talking about insignificant topics that do not interest the reader.
But while reading Jim Lehrer’s autobiography in the beginning of the year, it was fun to read his book. The stories he told was entertaining and had meaning to later parts of the book. The stories he would tell from his childhood were so entertaining that I doubt the reader would mind if the story did not relate to a later topic. For example, in the first chapter of his book he told the story of how he accidently wet himself as a young boy while playing on a pinball machine. Once the incident happened, he panicked and ran to hide in the bathroom, where his father found him.
As you can see, writing an autobiography is not as simple as writing anything and everything from your life onto a page. The writer always has to keep the reader in mind. By always thinking “so what?” the writer will not only keep the reader’s attention, but will also make their stories unforgettable.