Maury M. Breecher, PhD MPH
Let’s Talk About Your Book
Every Life Has a Story that Is Worthwhile to Share.
This site Gets You Started on Chapter 1 Free.
Need More Help? Join my Autobiography/Memoir Class and Get Help From Me Personally.
Welcome to the Autobiography/Memoir Creation Classroom
Here you will learn how to actually get started writing or recording the first chapter of your life and learn about a method that will help you continue the project.
On this site you will find a series of free questions to help you get started on Chapter One of your autobiography or memoir as well as motivation and encouragement to continue the creation of the story of your life. Everybody has a life purpose and everybody’s life, when explored, reveals life lessons learned while striving to achieve that purpose.
Those lessons should be shared with others, especially children, grandchildren, and other descendants. It’s a rewarding, enriching experience to write your life story, and a grand gift, a legacy to leave your loved ones.
I have ghostwritten and helped others create over two dozen memoirs or autobiographies. The difference between the two is that a memoir focuses on one time period of a person’s life and an autobiography covers the entire life.
A memoir might include a great escapade or adventure, or a time of joy such as an event- filled childhood that molded you into the person you have become or it might be a slice of years such as living through the Great Depression, serving in World II or the Korean War, or just surviving through those times.
An autobiography, on the other hand, is the saga of your entire life from birth to the present, ending with a statement of future aspirations and plans.
To encourage you to create a written or recorded autobiography or memoir from your life, I have developed over 1,500 questions including over 100 main topic questions and hundreds of follow-ups designed to help you develop your narrative and remember important details of your life.
These are the same questions I use when I am hired to interview and ghostwrite the memoirs or autobiographies of individuals who can afford my ghostwriting services and who recognize the importance of handing down a record not only of what they did during their lives, but also the life lessons they have learned. Right now, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the same questions and write, or record, your own autobiography or memoir with assistance from me and my assistants.
A few paragraphs from now I’ll get you started on Chapter One for free, but to join the class and receive individualized attention, it takes a relatively small investment, less than $10 to begin.
If you can’t type, you can record your answers and have a family member or a transcriptionist convert what you have created into a digital file so it can be sent to me via e-mail. You will have answered questions about your life and started your narrative. I and my assistants will look at what you e-mail us, answer your questions, and review what you have written or have transcribed.
Realize though that a first draft or a word-for-word transcription is NOT a book manuscript.
Even if you have written or typed out the answers, your work needs to edited, polished, and clarified. We won’t do all your work for you but I, or my assistants, will do some light editing — enough to show you how to do the rest yourself — and we will also make suggestions and ask questions designed to improve what you have created. At the end of this process, chapter-by-chapter you will have created a book-length manuscript. When your work is complete, as a bonus I will pay to have your manuscript transferred onto a CD. That will make publishing soft or hardcover copies easier. With the new Print-on-Demand technologies, you don’t have to order a large print run. You can print as few as five books. Of course, you can print as many as you want. The more you print, the lower the cost per copy.
To begin, let’s assume you are writing an autobiography. That way I can share some questions that can get you started writing about the first chapter of your life. Fill in the blanks and answer the following:
This is a story of a person who started out as a _________, who struggled to overcome_____________ and developed into a person who _______.
I was born ______________(location and year, and under what circumstances? Here’s an example of circumstances: In the midst of the Depression or, during World War II, or even in a Nazi concentration camp, or on a farm in Nebraska far from a hospital). Ask yourself:
How did your parents get into that situation? Then ask yourself: How did being born during those times or in those circumstances affect your childhood and your later life?
Don’t forget your heritage. Where did you or your family come from? What hardships did your parents, their parents, and other ancestors have to cope with or overcome?
When you think back on your childhood, what is your first memory? If unclear about the “first,” what are you earliest memories? What images, sounds or smells come to mind when you cast your memory back to those days? Describe the images, sounds or smells and explain how they made you feel as you write about your memories.
Are these happy thoughts or images, or troubled memories? Why? Describe the happy thoughts or images, and mention the troubled memories but when doing so emphasize how you coped.
Here’s a technique that might help: Imagine yourself walking down the street on which you lived, or another street that you remember in your neighborhood or town. Describe what you saw and who you encounter in your vision. Can you recall your reactions at the time? How did you feel, what did you think or say?
Here’s another memory prompter: What was the best thing that happened to you in your childhood?
What’s the most frightening thing?
In either case, describe what happened and how it turned out. Don’t forget to describe your feelings.
Have any fears from childhood remained? Why have you permitted it to do so? The answer to that question may form the basis of a subsequent chapter.
Writing a memoir or one’s autobiography allows one to re-examine and re-evaluate and make peace with decisions and choices made at earlier ages. Some of those decisions or choices, even the mistakes, can provide valuable life lessons for your descendants.
What do you remember about your parents? What types of things did you do that upset your parents? How did they react? What did you get the most praise for? What did you learn from those episodes?
As you now comprehend, these questions make you think.
The questions listed above are just a sample of the types of questions I would send you on a monthly, sometimes a weekly basis. Each mailing will consist of questions keyed to a specific stage or chapter of your life. There are hundreds of questions both topic and theme questions and follow-up queries to develop the topics or themes as well as memory joggers that can elicit a wealth of memories that you can write about.
You are in charge. It’s your life and your book or audio or video production. You can choose what to answer and what to write about, and how to record it, audio only or audio/video.
My promise to you is that if you write (or record) answers to a majority of the questions you will succeed in creating at least a first draft of your autobiography. Don’t worry about writing everything down perfectly in the first draft. Professional writers know that the best writing is rewriting and I and my assistants will be glad to guide you on that task too.
I bet you are anxious to get started. Here’s how to begin: Join my Autobiography/Memoir Creation Class.
Every week I will send you a grouping of questions keyed to chronological stages of your life. You can write at your own pace, but the weekly mailings will encourage you to keep going and complete the project. Also, the weekly pace eliminates opportunity for Writer’s Block and keeps you excited about the project.
Benefit from my experience. Enroll in my Autobiography/Memoir Creation Class. The 10-day introductory class is only $9.95. You will be able to email me for guidance twice during that 10-day period. The follow-up introductory trial session of 20 days is only $19.95. You will be able to e-mail me and receive comments and suggestions on your work up to three times during that introductory period.
The regular monthly price for this class is $97 and that is what you will be billed every month for 24 months after the trial periods end. Don’t get sticker shock. Remember, it would cost you thousands of dollars more if I interviewed you and did the writing for you.
If you finish your book before 24 months, the recurring billing will stop as soon as you inform me that the book is finished. If you need to stop in the middle of the class for a vacation or trip around the world and need to put your subscription on “pause,” just e-mail me and I will halt the billing until you return and reactive your class membership. Don’t procrastinate. Join now. Writing is fun!
You can drop out at any time and the automatic billing will stop plus the fee for the month you canceled in will be refunded.
And here’s a bonus: If you subscribe now, or within the next 30 days, when your manuscript is complete I will make you a master CD. That will expedite publishing your work to hard or softcover editions. With 21st Century Print-on-Demand publishing, you can publish as few as five books and thus don’t have to pay for a large press run as was necessary in the past. Of course, the more copies you print, the less each copy will cost individually.
Health and Happiness, Maury M. Breecher, PhD, MPH
Your Personal Historian or
Family History Ghostwriter