Memoir Writing – Polishing Your Autobiography in Five Steps

memoir-genre

Granted everyone has stories to tell, but can ordinary people learn the skills and techniques necessary to write meaningful and interesting autobiography?

Yes! Anyone who wants to can learn the tasks necessary to write a memoir to bequeath with pride to their children and grandchildren. Every step in the writing process is important and accessible. Lots of people have done step one: writing down their life stories. Too few take another important step: polishing the stories in the editing process to create a more interesting and complete memoir.

The secret to giving your stories the finishing touch is to read your manuscript as your reader will–with fresh, observant eyes. That’s why, at some point, an outside editor can be so useful, but any writer–even a new one–can learn the basics of editing. Here are some simple points to keep in mind.

  1. Be complete. Have you written everything you need to write about your story to make clear what happened and to whom? Would a stranger understand? If you find yourself ad-libbing as you share your story out loud, you probably have not put everything into the writing. Does your story need additional details of setting, action, or relationships to make it more understandable? Have you provided dates, names and relationships (the who, what, where, when). On a deeper level, have you depicted the inner life (the how and why) that explains so much of what life is all about? Remember, when you’re gone, the story will need to stand on its own–so be clear and answer all possible questions now!

 

  1. Be concise. This may sound like its counter to “be complete” but it needn’t be. Have you eliminated all the extra words you can without changing the meaning of the story? If you find you have restated an idea–even in different words–you are probably being redundant–and that is the opposite of “concise.” Saying it once is enough. Choose the most effective version, and delete the others. Stick to the story. Edit out the material (even if interesting) that does not contribute to the overall impact of your story. (Save it for another story.) This includes all the digressions which, however interesting in themselves, dilute your main account.

 

  1. Use precise language. Avoid vague adjectives like nice, awful, and okay. Replace them with setting, dialogue, or action. “She was poor” is vague but “Her living room had a linoleum rug, tattered at the edges that barely reached from the couch to the chairs” shows a setting that gives a strong sense of “poor.” “She was nice” is vague but “She listened with her head turned to catch my every word” portrays a definite nice. Cut out vague adverbs, too, words like angrily and beautifully. They mean different things to different readers. Imprecise words don’t convey much meaning! A useful exercise is to replace half–yes half!–your adjectives and adverbs with setting, dialogue, or action. This almost always makes your text more forceful and informative.

 

  1. Set your manuscript aside for a while. Time–a month, six months–will provide the emotional distance to evaluate your work more clearly. Time will help you to identify both your strengths and your shortcomings where re-writing is essential. I’m always amazed at how much objectivity I can muster when I reread my own work after a lapse of time. Waiting a while allows me to step out of the role of writer and into those of reader and editor. I can then assess my writing–and edit to improve stories.

 

  1. Show your manuscript to others for their critiques. A mix of readers–family and friends–will produce the varied feedback you need to spot problems. Family members will notice missing details and provide important dates and relationships that complete or explain your story. Friends aren’t familiar with your content and so will ask you for information you may have thought irrelevant or obvious. They will ask for cause-and-effect relationships (“so which did you do first?) And for motivation (“now why did your brother do that?”). You’ll be amazed at how their questions reveal what you take for granted and therefore leave unexplained!

Choose readers who will critique the work and not you. Don’t waste your energy justifying to them why you are writing. And don’t write someone else’s version of a family story. Conversely, people who are blindly supportive are not helpful editors (“Anything you do is great by me, dear!”).

You can post a request at a library, a senior center, or a bookstore to form a memoir-writing group whose members will serve as readers and editors for one another.

Don’t be discouraged when you see the need for changes. Most successful writers are persevering re-writers! Always keep your goal in sight: to create a legacy that will enrich the lives of your family for generations to come.

Know More About Writing The Life-Stories

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Writing the biography is an art of blending memoir with the creativity in a form of life story. Life stories are for life time and the one will last for the future generations. Here, I’ve some very interesting and amazing tips that will show the techniques to create life stories in a unique way.

The Various Formats of Life-Story Writings

If, you are writing the life-story, it is very essential to understand the difference between the memoir and autobiography. The Memoir is more of the emotion-based story while the autobiography is fact-based story of self. So for anyone who is starting to write about own life it is important to know the various forms of story writing. There can be many forms in Autobiographies and mostly they include the intimate writings which were never been published such as letters, memoirs, diaries, and recollections. The most interesting thing to know about the autobiography is that it isn’t necessarily has to be real, it may be written in a fictional manner.

While Memoir is a form of story writing that will be emerged from the recent personal experiences. Memoirs being more emotional will have mostly the feelings, personal point of view and memories. Generally the Memoirs are written with a focus on emotional moments of life. In broader point of view, Autobiographies are written after research, factual data, and historical moments of life while the Memoirs are mostly a collection of the memories that one can recollects from own past.

Where, Autobiography covers a long time period Memoir is usually a collection of small events and series. The writers in memoirs mostly ponder the past events. In memoirs mostly it is noticed that while writing the writer usually has therapeutic effect. Autobiographies are based on the fact and truthful discoveries of life or the life discovering truth.

Another form of story writing and recording is known as audio-video recording or just an audio and just a video recording of the past memories, events and history.

Blending Technology with Art

Yes, in the same way as traditionally histories, memories, and past incidents can be covered, the technology has given additional advantage of having the Web-based life stories covered. This is an emerging, trendy and more recent way of creating the life-stories. Writing life stories was never so easy and creative. This is made possible now, and you can get the online memoire and web-based life-story created. Just like a book, the web-based life-story will be convenient and additionally you can add multimedia effects, images, audio, visuals, etc. created. So if you want to have your own personal life-story writing done, don’t just wait get the online web-based life memories created. The amazing advantage is that you can share the online life-story with your loved ones and friends so easily and make your memories more beautiful.

Talent Acquisition: Top 10 Social Media Hiring Techniques

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The period from April to July is mostly known as the pick period in India to hire people. The same is a scenario out of India during the month from January to April to look for the talented resources. However, there is nothing as such pick period for HR Professionals. They have to be ready with the resources and keep on preparing the pipe line of back-up resources ready all the year long. Talent Acquisition, hiring, recruitment all are the terms used over the time by HR professionals. The trends of traditional hiring have totally ventured into new paradigm. Hiring from online job portals is no more the only option available the increased usage of social media tools has made it more innovative to hire the top niche, and most tricky technical professionals with the use of Social Media. Now, we see every now and then some new social media site comes up.

However, this post will show some very innovative and rarely heard but most used social networking web tools that can really add value to your talent acquisition techniques. There some most popular 30 Social Networking Tools for recruiting talent and some very well know brand companies are using then as an effective talent Acquisition strategy.

  1. www.icims.com

It is a paid site, where Big Brands like Hertz, TRUMP, esurance, etc are registered. It has advanced sourcing and hiring tools along with innovative new employee engagement tools. Special professional social networking and candidate screening tools are the additional features of this site.

  1. www.glassdoor.com

It is a very popular and free social media hiring technique. Companies from mid to large size are having membership here and employers/HRs can provide company information, candidates’ activities, and also a graphical presentation of the talent pool. Names of few membership companies are Walmart, Nestle, H&R Block, etc.

  1. www.smartrecruiters.com

This is also a free social media technique to attract talent pool. Companies like Frank & Oak, White Pages, The ONION, etc are registered here. Once registered you can post make the jobs posting, connect to the prospective candidates, create job ads, source candidates by leveraging Facebook and also hire people through mobile recruitment tools.

  1. www.joberate.com

This is again a free website, where HRs can do social networking with prospective talented resourcing and track their latest activities. This enables to pinch hire at the right time about the profile vacant with you. Companies like Jaguar, Virgin Mobile, British Airways, etc are in membership with this Social Media Hiring tool.

  1. www.theresumator.com

It is a paid web hiring tool that has many advantageous and effectively hiring tools.  With its help you can manage the job positing and share the vacancies on Facebook as well. The enterprise firms like Obama Biden, Omney Ryan, etc are registered here. 

  1. www.about.me

The small to mid size companies like Genius Recruiter, AIRS, etc are the members here. Being a free website it provides limited but very advanced tools such as search through names, and tags based on skill sets. It has some limited features however, can work as an effective tool to build up the experienced and talented resource pool.

  1. www.branchout.com  

Any user having the presence over facebook can register here and get connected through the talented resources.  Six Flags, UBS, Ralph Lauren, etc are the membership companies with branchout.com

  1. www.hirevue.com

An innovative online talent hiring technique that eases digital screening and sourcing features of candidate recruitment process. Employers can give real time rating to the candidates after interview. Employers with the need to have the organized online interviews, CRM and ATS Solutions can get registered here. It is a paid site and companies like Dunkin Donuts, RedBull, Living Social are registered here.

  1. www.tweetmyjobs.com

   Make the job distribution so immediate and effective was never earlier possible. Here after registering wit nominal memebership fees, you can post the jobs via most popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and website as well. Corporate giants like AT&T, GEICO, etc are registered here.

  1. http://business.linkedIn.com/talent-solutions/products/recruiter.html

You can expand the candidate search by using the professional talent hiring services offered by LinkedIn. It is a paid service that facilitates its Member companies to post multiple jobs and contact the candidates available on LinkedIn Network.

Do Social Media Tools Really Work??

Having almost 9 years of experience in HR, I would be the first person to admit that social media hiring or hiring through social networking may or may not be the technique to hire the right talent.  Most of the surveys have clearly shown professionals not liking about getting job offers through social networking websites, like, Facebook, Twitter, etc. The stats show, that almost 90% professionals said they never got connected through recruiter via social media sites. However, surveys also show that recruitment through Social Media is going to go up by 69% and if you count yourself in this 69% then the above given social media hiring techniques are really gonna be worthy for you.

All the Best for Hiring!!!

Reduce Weight Effectively: Tips to Lose Weight

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To loss weight fast is just like a challenge. You can find fast weight loss tips easily available. Here are the 10 very simple and safe tips given below after all everyone likes to look in shape and fit:

1. Calculate Your Intake Calories: To do so you can use many online available tools. Or you can just follow a simple calculation:

  • Weight(lbs) x 15 + (daily avg. activity (in min. per day) x 3.5 – 500 calories

E.g.:
Your Weight is : 150 pounds
Avg. Activity per day : 30 min.

Then,
(150 x 15) + (30 x 3.5) = 2250 + 105 = 2355 – 500 = 1855

Thus, to lose 1 lbs week you are to target 1855 calories.

2. Eat a lot of Pulses, Whole Grains, Fruits and Vegetables: The fruits like berries, oranges and lime are full of vitamin C, fiber and supplier of healthy carbohydrates as well. Similarly, vegetables like lemon, carrot, spinch, broccoli, green beans etc.

3. Observe the size of you meal: In you diet you are prescribed to eat certain group of foods? Id doesn’t mean that you can eat them as much as possible. You must have balanced and calculated calories only. Never overeat.

4. Avoid Starving and have multiple short meals: Dieting is never meant to starve you hard. Have 5-6 short meals instead of eating everything in 1 to 3 meals only.

5. Buy and Eat Fresh Eatables: Always avoid buying on packed eatables and eating fast food as they contain higher fat, harmful carbohydrates and calories. Let the fresh food be a part of your everyday meal, cook then at home and eat then fresh.

6. Never fall on Myths: We are so much involved in losing our weight we do anything or everything comes in way and trust all we pass through for example:
a) Not late Night eating: No it’s nowhere proved. A diet is always designed in keeping view of a 24 hours cycle. If you consume few calories at day can even have some at night.
b) Fat only raises weight: Wrong Fish oil is full of fats, it’s upon the kind of fat you’re taking.
c) Pills can loss weight

7. Read the product Labels: This mandatory for the packed food producers to mention about ingredients and calories in a particular packed food product. Always read what they are claiming. A sugar free product is not necessary to have low calories every time.

8. Keep a record of you diet: This is advisable to keep a record of what you eat at what time. This will equip you review you food pattern and you can alter them easily.

9. Exercise regularly not excessively: The most important tip is exercise to let your body burn fat. That doesn’t mean that you need to exercise overly, the recommended time for exercise if 20 to 30 min.

10. Drink Water: Instead of drinking tea, coffee and cold drinks drink water, it makes you feel full. On average we must drink

Eat Well, Live Well: A 3 Stage Diet Plans

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There are a thousand of Weight lose plans available, in the form of books, websites and other products. But it’s entirely your personal decision upon what do you wish to trust and go with. Here is a diet plan that is really very common, simple and healthy way to lose weight. It is carved up in 3 stages:

1. Everyone knows, while you consume anything to eat, it generates calories in your body and anything you do burns up that calories. Now you will ask if, our body is doing this, what is the need to read about the diet plans to lose weight? It’s because this is the case only if, you have the same amount of calories to match up the amount of calories that burns out. But, it is not easy to happen. So, to look healthy and fit is to maintain the level of calories you consume and burn. In easy words to understand, the amount of calories you consume each day will maintain your present weight, that’s your balance level and if your diet plan matches to the level, your body will not put on weight but, mark my words that if, your diet plan is made of less calories then, gradually you’ll lose you weight. Now your thought process started, are you concluding with the idea that now you need to eat less and reduce your calories by starving on anything you take as food? Wrong. Because thus, you will only lose muscles not fat. Why don’t you think on the other prospective of working out more to let your body burn out, what you are gaining in the form of Fat?

2. The second stage is, to make you design your own diet plan. The first step is to calculate your daily diet balance level. To do so you can take help of many online calories calculators and get the amount of calories according to your sex, weight, height and age. You can do so even by weighing yourself daily and keeping records of your weight by having certain amount of calories each day. Now after getting the amount of calories your body requires, what you need to do is to reduce 500 out of the amount e.g. if your body requires 3500 calories just deduct 500 and you’ll get 3000 calories, and now divide it into 5-6 small meals instead of having 1 to 3 large meals. This will speed up your metabolism process. But remember that, the calories you gain must come from right sources of food, such as:

a) Proteins: nuts, beans, milk, fish, eggs etc. on an average of 0.5 grams per pound weight.
b) Fats: Fish, nut, olive oil etc. about 25% of calories from Fat.
c) Carbohydrates: brown rice, beans, oat and wheat meals etc. the balance of required calories after deducting fats and proteins, must be filled with carbs.

3. The third and last stage is to maintain your Diet, in the way it was started and to measure your weight regularly.

A Passage To India..

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“Why can’t we be friends now?” said the other, holding him affectionately. … But {the horses…the earth…the temples, the tank, the jail, the palace, the birds, the carrion, the Guest House… didn’t want it,} they said in their hundred voices, “No, not yet,” and the sky said, “No, not there.”

This extract is from the ending part of A Passage to India where meet two of the representatives of the British and the Indians who were friends early in the novel. The British one wants to reconcile but the whole situation opposes it. Thus it clarifies how evident the racial conflict was.

E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India was written at a time when the end of the British colonial presence in India was becoming a very real possibility. And as a result, racial conflict between the British and the Indians was a recurrent happening in India.

As part of the ideology of colonialism, throughout the novel, the English demonstrate their belief that they are superior to the Indians.
“Forster draws an unforgettable picture of the tensions between colonial rulers and the Indian professional class (Critical Survey of Long Fiction.1141).”
The comments and treatment that the Indians receive from the English characters in the novel show the common attitude toward the Indians during this time.

In order to legitimize their colonizing India, not legally obtained, the British colonizers set up a “degenerated” image of native people partly through imagination or misunderstandingThe new coming British people in India are injected such notion by the early comers. Mrs. Turton tries to convince Mrs. Moore:
Don’t forget that. You’re superior to everyone in India except one or two of the Ranis, and they’re on an equality.
Most of the English characters, especially females, always keep a neglecting distance from the Indians. For example, an English lady doesn’t reply to Dr. Aziz’s
“You are most welcome, ladies.”
rather takes his carriage without asking him. Even,
“Indians are not allowed into the Chandrapore Club even as guests,”

On the contrary, the Indians have a differing attitude towards the English. Actually they want their association but the British don’t. The action of the novel begins with the Indians’ discussion on
“as to whether or no it is possible to be friends with an Englishman.”(chaper 2).
But, the novel ends with the conclusion that it is not possible until the British leave India, as quoted in the beginning of our discussion.

The novel’s main action begins after two English women’s coming to visit India. They intend to know India through close observation. The Turtons arrange a “Bridge Party” in their honour in order “to bridge the gulf between East and West.” But the irony is that the bridge attempt leads to misunderstanding and racial conflicts.

Actually cultural misunderstanding is an important reason behind the racial conflict. Differing cultural ideas and expectations regarding hospitality, social properties and the role of religion in daily life are responsible for misunderstandings between the English and the Muslim Indians, the English and the Hindu Indians, and between the Muslims and the Hindus.

The racial conflict reaches its climax in A Passage to India when Adela Quested accuses Dr. Aziz in court of attempting to seduce/rape her in Marabar Caves. It seems that Chandrapur is preparing for a war: it is divided into two groups. However, Fielding joins the Indians, for he believes and knows that the accusation is false.

Even their hostile attitude to each other becomes evident in the trial/court room. McBryde while presenting Aziz’s crime, makes a strict racial comment generalizing the common tendency of the Indians as “Oriental Pathology”,
“the darker races are physically attracted by the fairer, but not _vice versa_ this, not a matter for abuse, but just a fact which any scientific observer will confirm.
{However, this racial attack was not without a counter attack: Adela’s physical structure is satirized by onme of the Indians
“Even when the lady is so uglier than the gentleman?”}
Actually, we find McBryde’s predecessor in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest where Prospero, a racist, treats Caliban in the same way accusing him of ravishing Miranda:
“…thou didst seek to violate
The honour of my child.”

Longman Dictionary of Modern Literature sees Dr. Aziz episode as “a tragedy of racial tensions and antagonism” in the following quote:

The novel is essentially a tragedy of racial tensions and antagonism, in which the case of Dr. Aziz is a symbolic episode’ (Longman, 2000:410).

In the novel, the British characters repeatedly mention the influence of the landscape and climate in forming the national characteristics. In this respect also they seem to be superior. The reviewer of Harcourt Brace published Forster’s A Passage to India(1984) summarizes their Orientalist idea,
First, the idea that the climate forms the national characteristics. In the case of India, the characteristics is the colorless heat, that drives British crazy, and that make Indians “born” as the irrational. Second, the idea that the land represents its people, and vice versa.
{That is by birth, Oriental Indians are stereotypically considered to be exotic, sensual, passive, and backward, as opposed to the intellectual, civilized, progressive Westerners who have come to civilize and rule the Indians. }

To draw a conclusion of our discussion, racial conflict is one of dominant themes of A Passage to India. The final message of the novel is that though Aziz and Fielding want to be friends, historical circumstances prevent their friendship. Paul Armstrong suggests that A Passage to India reflects Forster’s
“recognition of the impossibility of reconciling different ways of seeing”(365).
His argument is fairly accurate, for Forster leaves us a very uncertain ending. In colonial India, cultural difference indicates a kind of superiority or inferiority, the centre and the periphery, {the dominating and the dominated, order and disorder, the authentic and the inauthentic, the powerful and the powerless}m who cannot be reconciled. But in post-colonial world, this colonial mentality has been rooted out, and the central position of the West destructed by writers like Kiran Desai who with her novel The Inheritance of Loss(2006), challenges the dominance of the West and the “reality” of an orderly, civilized “center” told by the West.

Works Cited

Armstrong, Paul B. “Reading India: E. M. Forster and the Politics of Interpretation”. Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 38, No. 4, Winter, 1992, pp. 365-385

Forster, E. M. A Passage to India. San Diego & NY: Harcourt Brace, 1984.

Longman Dictionary of Modern Literature. London: Longman, 2000

Desai, Kiran. The Inheritance of Loss. New York: Grove Press, 2006.