2 Describing a turning point . . . From Reading to Writing In “A White Heron,” Sylvia is unable to betray the location of the heron to a hunter: “She cannot tell the heron’s secret and give its life away.”
3 Describing a turning point . . . Just as such a turning point can reveal character in a story, similar incidents can reveal some aspect of your own attitude or personality. Writers include such autobiographical incidents in their memoirs and essays.
4 B a s i c s i n a B o x Autobiographical Incident at a Glance Middle BeginningRecreates the incident using descriptive detailsMakes the significance clearEndConcludes by reflecting on the outcome and significancePresents the writer’s feelings about the experienceIntroducing the incident including the people involved and the settingRUBRICStandards for WritingA successful autobiographical incident shouldfocus on a well-defined incident or a series of related incidentsprovide background information for the incidentuse elements such as plot, character, and setting as appropriatemake the order of events clearuse description or dialogue as appropriateinclude precise language and specific detailsshow why the experience was significantmaintain a consistent tone and point of view
5 Prewriting Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 1PrewritingBegin by choosing the incident you will write about. You may choose to focus on something that happened to you, or you may decide to write about an event you witnessed but did not participate in.Make a list with three columns: People, Places, Things.List all the things that come to mind in each category that represent something important to you.
6 Prewriting Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 1PrewritingYou might also remember meaningful events in your past by using the phrase, “I remember when. . . ,” then jotting down the thoughts that come to mind.When you have chosen the event you want to write about, follow these steps:
7 Planning Your Autobiographical Incident 1. Test your topic. Do you remember the incident well enough to write about it? Why is this memory important? Will you be comfortable sharing the memory? Will writing about it show what you learned from the event or what impact it had on you?2. Think about your purpose and audience. How can you show readers how and why the incident affected you?3. Choose some of your building blocks. What other people took part in the incident? Is the time or place important? What are some of the key events?
8 Drafting Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 2DraftingGet your memory down on paper. Don’t worry about how it sounds. You can make improvements later. If you find yourself losing interest in the incident or have trouble telling it, choose another memory. As you draft, consider the following hints:Use some or all of the story elements—plot, character, and setting. Include any background information that the reader needs to know.
9 Drafting Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 2DraftingUse dialogue when you can.Use language that appeals to the senses.Organize your incident. Usually chronological order is the clearest method of organization, but you might decide you can make a greater impact by starting in the middle of the incident. In that case, you can use a flashback to fill in all the missing parts.
10 Drafting Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 2DraftingAfter you finish your first draft, let it sit for a while. Then reread it. Ask your peer readers for reactions, too.
11 Revising Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 3RevisingI can’t write five words but that I change seven.Dorothy Parker,American writer and humorist
12 Revising Writing Your Autobiographical Incident 3RevisingTARGET SKILLMAINTAINING CONSISTENCY OF TONEYour autobiographical incident will have more impact if the tone is the same throughout. A humorous piece that unintentionally turns serious or a serious piece that suddenly becomes sarcastic will likely confuse the reader.
13 Editing and Proofreading Writing Your Autobiographical IncidentEditing and Proofreading43TARGET SKILLPUNCTUATING CLAUSESYour incident will have more impact if you vary the sentences you use to tell about it. To avoid too many short, choppy sentences, writers combine ideas into one sentence with two or more clauses.