montage.jpg

For this session, undertake the same steps as before, but for a historical figure.

It's best to choose someone who is already dead, so that you can look at the entire arc of their life from beginning to end.

Head over to Wikipedia and look for someone who really captures your attention and has an interesting life story to tell.

Use Wiki and Google to map out that person's life story. Remember that you're going for a very brief outline, so you don't need to research in detail.

  1. Look for between 6-8 key stages in their life, from childhood to death.

  2. Identify the key events of each stage and the main message or lesson we learn from this point in their life. Write these down in chapter outlines.

  3. Give each chapter a suitable title.

  4. Pick your point of in medias res. Identify a particularly big event or experience in that person's life to begin your story, before circling back to childhood. Make sure it has a strong hook - a question or unresolved point of tension that will make people want to care.

  5. Write the opening lines (200 words max. in third person).

Finally, consider the following questions:

  1. Does the story follow a traditional story arc? Does it have a beginning, a middle, a climax and a satisfying end?

  2. What is the overall lesson or message you come away with from this person's life?

  3. Is there anything you strongly identify with in this person's life or something you might have done differently?

  4. If you met the person at a party, do you think you would get on well or end up arguing?

  5. If you had to write an epitaph for the person's gravestone, a single line to sum them up, what would it be?

 

CONTINUE TO MEMOIRS