Autobiography, memoirs, life writing, rite of passage - all these terms come under the umbrella of ‘Personal History’.
Your assignments will grow like a patchwork quilt. Like many beautiful quilts, the big picture will emerge towards completion, when we'll show you how to create any links and bridges that you need to hold it all together.
If you intend to write about an overland journey on foot from Poland to England or your life as a mortuary beautician or the five years you spent living on Pitcairn Island then you will have a clear idea of the structure of your book from the beginning. Its shape is predetermined by the event. Or you may wish to draw on memories from all of your life. The choice is yours and the course adaptable.
We will spark your imagination, suggest methods of organisation and help you learn lively writing and language skills.
The pleasure of writing a personal history. Why and how do you do it? A whole life or just a remarkable period? Characters. The importance of who, what, how, why, when and where?
Where your story will begin. The importance of context and opinion. Relating how it was to how it is. Whether to write a plan.
The joys and otherwise of grandparents and parents. Organisation. Vivid verbs. Interviewing. Putting it together.
Research - libraries and the Internet, newspapers, statistics, encyclopaedias. Names. The importance of primary sources and what are they?
Creating and organising a memory bank. Creating a family table. Other people's memories. Entertainment.
Think about extended family, hidden family, the family unit. Characterisation.
We all have turning points. Success and otherwise. The power of language.
Or no home. Expanding and organising your thoughts. 'The happiest days of your life' - school friends (and others), to teach is to touch a life.
Stop the sag. Emotions.
Young love. Courtship and tying the knot. How did it turn out? It takes all sorts.
Your ideas. Family traditions.
Inventions. Digging up your memories.
Book contract. How? Which? E-publishing, self-publishing, blog or website, desktop publishing. Promotion.
Opening - again. Structure. Bridges. Organisation. Style. Reference books. The end. Other suggested headings. What have you done?