Author Topic: Writing an autobiography  (Read 838 times)

Lin

  • Guest
Writing an autobiography
« on: February 10, 2009, 08:30:22 AM »
When writing an autobiograpy which tense should I use?

Lin x

GondorianPrincess

  • Guest
Re: Writing an autobiography
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2009, 12:01:00 PM »
Auto is about yourself, savvy?
Well, I suppose you could use past/pesent tense.
I do apologize if I am wrong.

Offline Gyppo

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 72246
  • I've been writing ever since I realised I could.
Re: Writing an autobiography
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2009, 02:01:35 PM »
A personal opinion, others are entitled to disagree, and if they can make a different viewpoint work then it's the right one for them.

Autobigraphy is usually looking back, so the past tense comes naurally..

Present tense can work for a while but I feel it seems a bit frantic and strained after a while.  As if the writer is trying to get the story finished before the reader gets bored and pits it down.

Example.  Present tense.

Jake stops momentarily as I make my initial dent on the ground, feels the resistance as he tries to stretch my trapped leg, and kicks me in the ribs as he tries to move away.  I jack-knife forwards and try to free my boot from the stirrup as he kicks again, half-heartedly. My foot is bending in ways no foot is designed to bend and behind there's the thunder of hooves as the other two catch up.
 
A whole book in this 'immediate' style would seem too much.

Here's the gentler and more nostalgic version past tense, with a few extra paragraphs as well...

Jake stopped momentarily as I made my initial dent on the ground, felt the resistance as he tried to stretch my trapped leg, and kicked me in the ribs as he tried to move away. I jack-knifed forwards and tried to free my boot from the stirrup as he kicked again, half-heartedly. My foot was bending in ways no foot was designed to bend and behind there was the thunder of hooves as the other two caught up.

Jake galloped into action again, desperately trying to get away from the object hanging at his side. Stretched out flat on my back, head banging up and down until I stiffened my neck I was sliding feet first as he headed for the gap into the next field...

...The gap edged by barbed wire, and worst still - a sturdy old earthenware sink doubling as a water trough. A rock hard object in just the right place to fracture my skull if Jake dragged me through. A desperate kicking with my trapped leg brought no release, and just drove Jake to greater efforts.

My consciousness was fading in the rapid pounding but - in a moment of sudden clarity - I resolved on a plan of action. Jake's back leg was hitting my shoulder with nearly every step now, and I coldly resolved to grab it and bring the bugger down before he dashed my brains out against the trough. I was more willing to take a chance on being crushed than risk that gap in the fence.

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Lin

  • Guest
Re: Writing an autobiography
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2009, 03:55:10 PM »
Thanks Gyppo.  A very good example much appreciated.

I was wondering whether I should change tack on my novel, but I think I have now decided to go for the biographical option and not the auto.

I know that sounds weird and probably makes no sense to you,  but it makes sense to me LOL ::)  I'm sticking to the devil I know than the devil I don't - ok call me a coward, but its better for now to leave it as it is.

Ta for the help

Lin x

GondorianPrincess

  • Guest
Re: Writing an autobiography
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2009, 03:58:26 PM »
Gyppo has the best idea, you should go with that.  8)