This is the essay for lessons 81-85 in the Autobiographies course from the Ronpaul curriculum. In this blog post, I will be covering the question: What can you do to make your biography less disjointed than Twain’s?
Mark Twain is a very well known and famous writer. But I’m not here to tell you about his normal books, I’m here to talk about his autobiography. Twain’s autobiography isn’t as good as his normal books. This is because there is very little structure to it, with no overarching message. Twain knew his autobiography was like this and he tried to fix it multiple times, but he never succeeded. There were also other problems in his autobiography, like some details changing between chapters. For example, in one chapter he says that his father bought 75 000 acres of land and in the next, he says that it was 100 000 acres of land. Let’s look at how you can make your autobiography better than Mark Twain’s.
One of the first steps to making your autobiography is to write down anything interesting that happens. These things could range from commenting on a world event to a change in your mindset on life. Continue doing this until you’re ready to do your autobiography. This is important because otherwise, you might forget the details in some events that end up being important. Twain didn’t do this and he couldn’t remember some of the exact details in the events he included in his autobiography. Although this method is good, it’s not essential. If you don’t do this then your autobiography would still end up fine without it. This just makes it easier to add extra detail to events in your autobiography.
When you’re ready to start making your autobiography, you shouldn’t immediately start writing. You should write your autobiography as any good writer would. What I mean is that your autobiography should have moments of intensity and moments of relaxation. Of course, these moments mean different things for everyone. because not everybody will be beating the bad guys like in fiction books. So you should figure out what your version of these moments is like. If you are able to pull off this combination of ups and downs, then your book will be very exciting to read. Otherwise, your book will feel like a history textbook, which just spits out facts with no excitement. These kinds of history books will be interesting for a person wanting to learn more about you, but not to the average reader.
I have left out the most important thing that belongs in any book, which is an overarching theme. An overarching theme is similar to having moments of intensity and relaxation. Most likely if you have one you already have the other, but it is a real possibility that this is not the case. I would recommend that this overarching theme is about your personality and how you changed over the course of your life. I recommend this because this is the difference between an autobiography and a biography. You know yourself best and what you’re like. Somebody else who writes about your life doesn’t have all of this information. They might have some of it, but definitely not all of it. The overarching theme also differentiates good autobiographies from the best autobiographies. If you have ups and downs but don’t have an overarching story then at the end of the book the reader will have read an exciting book that told them about your life, but not much about your personality. If you are able to succeed in the last two steps, there is a strong possibility that you have made an autobiography that will be read for years to come.