The book has lots of terrific tips in writing one's life story/memoir, like:
1. Don't lose stories. We are the stories we tell. We are the stories which family members tell about us and themselves.
2. A life story is a gift one generation bestows to another generation.
3. See which family patterns are revealed across generations.
4. Make a list of 10-20 of the most important events in one's life.
5. Look at your life in a sociological, historical and cultural context.
6. Create an extended list of relationships/events which shaped your life, then group them, to narrow down to a core list.
7. Think of people as characters in a story. Create a story with plot, action, and settings. Refer to senses - don't use abstract words.
8. Stories also need a point of view and tone. A tone could be pity, admiration, etc.
9. Start stories close to the climax, in order to create suspense.
10. Different choices for organization - chronological, thematic (like religion, careers, etc.), and biographical, or a combination.
11 Chronologies can be dull - add action and suspense, which imply consequences later on.
12. Besides just facts (the "what") go into the "why".
13. Underlying the writings should be a theme/message - the way you understand the story. The theme is "who am I", "why I became so", etc. It is OK to begin w/o a theme and discover it in the process. The theme affects every fact in the story. Having a theme can also help to avoid writer's block.
14. Personal myths - how we perceive the world/life can be part of the story. Archetypes - instincts, patterns of thought - like a martyr being always a giver, orphan who doesn't develop or maintain personal ties, prince-left-at-the-pauper's-door like always aspiring to more than is expected.
15. There is no correct sequence in writing one's story.
16. Don't preach - just tell your story.
17. Use transitions to link stories. Write in the active voice, not passive. Write in the first person. Always italicize foreign words.
18. Don't recap, it's an insult to readers. Always look to eliminate the last paragraph.
19. Verisimilitude - must seem true, real - not too many details. Avoid cliches, stereotypes. Be complete, concise, not redundant. Use the 10% rule look to eliminate 10%, to force conciseness.
20. Slow down. It's a process.
A terrific book!