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Writing an Autobiographical Narrative

For you, by you and about you!

Why write one?

· People write autobiographical narratives to share their experiences and life lessons with others.

Who are you?

· Think of defining moments in your life. · Remember experiences that helped shape who you are. · Recall images that stir up vivid memories and feelings. · Be sure that you are comfortable enough with this experience to share it with your audience.

· Ex: I can think of the first time I covered a college football game for the Pitt news · My red press pass pops into my mind as well as the atmosphere in the press box at Pitt Stadium. It was a defining moment because it took a lot of other writing to prove that I could write that particular story.

Who are you?

Basic Considerations

· Purpose--to describe a experience that had a significant effect on your life. · Audience--the reader (parents, students, teacher) · To show the effect to your audience, you must introduce yourself as you were before the experience.

Basic Considerations

· Ex: · Before I was assigned the Football story, I was a soccer reporter--I had filed around twenty soccer stories and never missed a deadline.

Gather Details

· Details are like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly into different categories.

Category #1: Events

· First, Brainstorm the sequence of events that are central to your narrative, by choosing only those that are relevant to your experience.

Events (Sample Outline)

· As a new writer I would envy those who had the big football stories. · I worked very hard and submitted many soccer stories making sure to do well. · I got the attention of my section editor · He called me and asked me to cover the big homecoming game. · I covered the event.

Category #2 People and Places

yourself through the events you listed. Try to remember as specifically as possible the people and specific places involved in your story. · Jot down factual details · Jot down sensory details

· "Walk"

People and Places continued

· Note specific appearances, gestures, actions, and dialogue of people involved. · Be sure to include yourself! · Dialogue should be informal as it was spoken.

People and Places continued

· As you list details, jot down any figurative language--similes, metaphors, or personification that will help you describe your experiences more clearly and create more effective images.

People and Places continued

· Try to use precise action verbs-- paced or lurched instead of walked for example.

People and Places Example

· Me--hard working, age 21 persistent, outgoing, enthusiastic about Pitt athletics. · Patrick--Editor, has connections, tough, fair, "How would you like to cover the football game this weekend?"

Category #3: Thoughts and Feelings

· Your narrative should reveal what you thought and felt during your experience. · In your rough outline make some notes about your thoughts and feelings at each point.

Thoughts and Feelings Continued · Consider showing your thoughts and feelings through interior monologue--or what you say to yourself in your head as the events of your narrative unfold.

Thoughts and Feelings Continued · You may also want to shift perspectives--by imagining the thoughts and feelings of other people in the narrative.

Thoughts and Feelings---examples · · · · · · Nervous Excited Confident Honored Overwhelmed Intimidated

Reflect on Your Experience

· At the end of your autobiography, your readers should clearly understand the difference between who you were before the experience and who you became after it was over.


· Start reflecting on your experience by filling in a couple of simple sentences. · At first I ______________, but afterward I ___________. I realized____________.


· At first I was an unknown, hardworking soccer writer who hadn't yet established herself on the sports writing team, but afterward, I became well-known in the college writing world due to my accomplishments and my assignment as football columnist.

Side Note

· The reflection sentence should not be your introduction!!


· Sequence--chronological order is the best way to go. · However, you may incorporate flashbacks into your piece.


· 1.

Choose one significant experience from your life as the subject of your autobiographical narrative. Then Plan the Details of your narrative.


· Separate a sheet of paper into four separate sections. · One section will be for Events, One for Details about people, one for thoughts and feelings, and one for your reflection sentence.


· With the exception of the reflection sentence, you should have 8-10 items for each section. · What ever you do not get done with today is due in the beginning of class for a homework check tomorrow.

Writer's Framework

· You will come up with an outline written in the following format: · I. Introduction A. Opener B. Necessary Background C. Hint at Meaning

Writer's Framework

· II. Body A. Event 1.People/places 2. Emotional words 3. Figurative Language B. Event 1. People/Places

Writers Framework

In your body section of your outline, you should have events listed A-E on the outline as you are at least to have five events that correspond with your topic.

Writer's Framework

III. Conclusion A. Reflect B. End with direct statement of the significance of the experience

Rough Draft Set-Up

· Look at writer's model. · As a general guideline, the essay should be at least seven paragraphs.

Rough Draft Set-Up

· Introduction=1 paragraph · Body=5 paragraphs--each event equals one paragraph--extra paragraphs may be needed for dialogue. A dialogue paragraph does not count as part of the five major body paragraphs.

Rough Draft Set-Up

· Conclusion=1 Paragraph

· Please double space your rough draft. You may type or hand write your first draft. Both the outline and draft are due on Wednesday, September 10


Writing an Autobiographical Narrative

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