Inspirational books and memoirs are pretty hot right now, almost half of the books on recent best seller lists are inspirational stories or memoirs. Do you know the difference between a biography and a memoir? A biography is the story of someone’s entire life while a memoir covers just a certain period or event in someone’s life, for example: “My Years in the White House”, “Marley and Me”, “Eat, Pray, Love”.

Many of my students write books based on their own experiences. To create content for your story, ask, think about and then write down the key words or phrases that answer the four questions below. Use these key words and/or phrases to create your Manuscript Grid™. Once you have completed your Manuscript Grid™, you can then create your storyboard and either talk or write your book.

1) What Happened?

What happened to you? What did you experience? How did it come about? What was your intention or outcome? What happened instead? Describe the event, what occurred? Who else was involved? How was it resolved? How did you feel when it was over?

2) How did it affect you?

Physically. Emotionally. Financially. Spiritually. How did you current relationships change? What new relationships came about? How did your world change? What steps did you take to recuperate, heal, move forward, get out of the state you were in? What tools or strategies did you use? Were there any books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, people, coaches, trainers, mentors that helped you?

3) What did you learn?

What lessons did you learn after the event? How much time has gone by? What have you learned since the event? Would you do anything differently? How are you a better person? What tools, strategies, techniques, steps, books, web sites, resources, groups, coaching, etc., did you use to get through your experience? Where are you now?

4) What would you like to teach others?

What is your message? What could others learn from your experience? What “technology”, steps, system did you develop that you want to share or teach to others? Name the top 3 things that are the gift of this experience. Write about each one.

Inspirational stories and memoirs lend themselves to ancillary products, which is where the real money is. More about that tomorrow.

Ann McIndoo, your Author’s Coach

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