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How To Write an Autobiography Introduction

If you look at the average autobiography introduction, you’ll usually find a story about how that person was born. Even though an autobiography is a life story, to the reader the person is just a character. They need to have a frame of reference in order to begin getting to know this person. The goal is actually rather simple: you’re essentially saying “Hello” for the first time.

How you would introduce yourself to a stranger is essentially how you’ll write this introduction in a memorable way. The stories that you tell to break the ice will do so for your readers if you put them into written words. Including those stories is good, but there are some general rules you may also wish to follow if you want to know how to write an autobiography introduction that is memorable.

#1. Have your introduction focus on the main point you’re trying to make. When you’re telling a life story, there must be a certain thesis woven into the various chapters of your autobiography to engage the reader. There is a point to what you’re writing. If you can include that point within the context of your autobiography introduction to let the readers get an idea of what to expect, you’ll help to pique their interest in the next story you have to offer.

#2. Give your readers a preview of your topics. Autobiographies are a great way to safely ask difficult questions that might not get asked otherwise. This is because you’re using your life as the safety net for those question. When you can give the reader a taste of what topics you’ll be covering throughout the autobiography, you’ll give them the chance to decide if they want to invest time to read the rest of what you’ve written.

#3. Is there one event that forever altered your life? Like a movie which starts at a key point near the end of the story, an autobiography introduction can begin at the one key moment where everything began to change for you. Sharing the epiphany you had can help you connect to readers on a very personal level, especially if they’ve had life circumstances which were similar to your own. Just make sure you bring readers back to this key point somewhere within the body text of your autobiography as well so you create a harmonious document.

#4. Discuss what makes you tick as a person. Sometimes it is more important to establish the rhythms of your narrative in your autobiography than to establish an idea or a thesis statement. This applies when your narrative may be difficult for the average reader to follow. If your writing style is reminiscent of the original publication language of White Fang by Jack London, then you’ll want to pay attention here. By letting the reader see your style before you get into your main stories, you’ll lessen the shock their eyes receive.

#5. Choose something about yourself that you feel is completely unique. This will help readers begin to understand why you are different. You don’t have to be a celebrity to write an autobiography. You just need to have life experiences to share which others may find to be valuable. Discuss in the autobiography introduction what makes you different and why you feel that is important. It will help others begin to connect with you while you establish your credentials as someone who is worthy to have their life stories told.

#6. Remember your formatting. The formatting of your autobiography introduction should be the same as the rest of your document. If you’re writing a novel-sized narration [120,000 words or so], then you may wish to include this introduction as a separate chapter. If writing an essay, you’ll want to follow whatever writing style you plan to follow [expository, persuasive, or analytical]. If you are writing in APA style, remember to cite any outside sources in parenthetical form as needed.

#7. Be yourself. Far too often, an autobiography introduction falls flat because people try to hard to be something they are not. Just be yourself. Write what comes to mind. Edit that thought after you write it down a couple of times to help merge it into the primary text you’ve created. If you’re just starting your autobiography, then use this writing process to form story ideas for the rest of your text. Remember: this is you on a page. It must be authentic to draw readers into the story.

Knowing how to write an autobiography introduction means showing readers who you are and what you intend to share with them. When you can follow these steps, you’ll be able to create something that will intrigue them enough to have them continue reading your story.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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