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Your Life as Story Paperback – Bargain Price, April 13, 1998

ISBN-13: 860-1400093825 ISBN-10: 0874779227 Edition: 1st Trade Paperback Ed

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Paperback, Bargain Price, April 13, 1998
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher; 1st Trade Paperback Ed edition (April 13, 1998)
  • ISBN-10: 0874779227
  • ASIN: B001VEHZT8
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,002,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Every person's life tells a story, but few of us dare to consider our own story worthy of being written. Tristine Rainer shows us how to apply the structure of story telling to an ordinary life to give it shape, meaning, and clarity. Learning the tricks to becoming a better autobiographic writer may not lead to getting published, nor should that be the goal. Rather, it is a process that helps us re-remember the past so that we can better understand the meaning of the present. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In The New Diary, written 20 years ago, Rainer held that the diary as a literary genre is "a tool for personal growth and for realizing creative potential." This, her latest effort, purports to be a hands-on guide to the craft of autobiographical writing, but it is more like a self-help guide to finding peace and self-fulfillment. Rainer defines the new autobiography as "the application of story structure to...life experiences to give them meaning. It's reading your life as if it were a dream." Her guide is weak on story structure, and only in the final two chapters and appendixes does she address the mechanics of editing and submission (including Internet publishing). For Rainer, the motivations of the writer supersede the quality of the writing and the expectations of the intended audience. Not recommended for serious writing collections, though libraries with writing groups may want to consider because of the support and encouragement offered to the novice.?Denise S. Sticha, Seton Hill Coll., Greensburg, Pa.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This book is enjoyable, practical and full of humour and insight.
S. Chandra Chowdhary
If you can afford to buy only one book to help you write your memoir then buy Your Life as Story by Tristine Rainer.
Natalie Stone
It's packed to the brim with information but it's very easy to read and digest at the same time.
Marilyn Jaye Lewis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

110 of 110 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Most writing books are like diet books, they make miracle promises and as you read, you believe that your success is going to be so easy. Then you put the book down and the next day realise it has given you zero practical guidance.
Tristine Rainer's book is geared, as the title says, to those who wish to write autobiography. However, this book would be equally invaluable to anyone who wants to write fiction inspired from life. She tackles a lot of thorny issues that I have rarely seen covered at all by the other writing books I own - and believe me I have quite a collection! Some of these issues include how best to handle the passage of time - THE single most difficult thing I've been grappling with in my own writing - as well as knowing what to leave out of your story, the ethical dilemmas of writing about family and friends, the pain of telling the truth on the page and last but not least, story structure.
Now story structure has been flogged to death by every writing manual, most notably Robert McKee and all those other Joseph Campbell story-as-myth screenwriting formula bores. Rainer takes this one giant leap further by providing a nine-step questionnaire about your story themes and your own life story, its pivotal moments, that magically turns into a story outline. I'm not kidding, this one ingredient of the book makes it worth the money in itself.
Finally, the author has a funny, engaging writing style, peppered with brave anecdotes about her own life misadventures and an extremely useful range of examples from autobiographers throghout history including Hemingway, Anais Nin and Simone de Beauvoir plus a whole raft of others that I had never come across but will now be reading.
Trust me, you need this book!
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85 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Short on September 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
What Tristine Rainer did for diary and journal writers in The New Diary she does for memoirists in Your Life as Story. Dispelling the myth that memoirs belong to the realms of celebrity and notoriety, she helps us realize that each of our personal stories is worthy of the written word. Whether your aim is preservation of family history, self awareness, or the New York Times bestseller list, you will find expert guidance within these pages. The author's grace and wit shine throughout and make the writing experience a joy. Reading it will inspire you to start writing your memoirs today!
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49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. Jacobs VINE VOICE on February 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does an excellent job of prodding one to dig deeper, asking pointed questions and directed short exercises to get you thinking. In writing my memoir, I had a hard time going beyond the surface events and revealing myself. This book asked me just the questions I needed to consider to remove my focus from events and to look at my inner emotions and conflicts. Reading the book and doing the exercises provided throughout results in a very helpful compilation of thoughts and structure that can give shape to a story.

I found the book's style to be sometimes overly chatty, especially at the beginning. But despite the fluff, all of the meat is in there, providing very useful tools to writers seeking to make a compelling story from their life experiences.

Take your time to go through this book slowly, doing the exercises in order. It took me several months. But at the end, I had a vision, an outline, and some very useful first draft material. I was finally on my way to putting together a manuscript. Follow Rainier's instructions and it will happen.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
Rainer has done it again -- captured the current trend in autobiographical writing and added depth and inspiration. In her former book, The New Diary, she gave tips and examples for journal keepers. Here, she captures the memoir wave and tells how to write your life story with a novelist's grace and style. Guaranteed to give you fresh ideas and motivation to get on with your own reminiscences.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By D. W. Butler on January 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
Ms. Rainer provides practical, useful tips and excercises for creating you memoir, whatever your motivation, be it for personal satisfaction, a legacy for your children or for publication.
The author dispells the myth that only the "rich and infamous" can publish autobiographies. She challenges us to find the pieces of our lives which are truly unique and to present them as literature.
In summary, this book is an excellent tool not only for autobiographers but also for aspiring (or accomplished) writers and for those struggling with some aspect of their life.
Get it, work it, and share it!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By L. Ellis on March 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
I am reading this book for the third time, very slowly, practicing as I go. I had been 'stuck' for years, unable to make sense of my personal stories, until I came across Rainer's wonderful sourcebook. It's given me the answers I needed: how to decide what to keep and what to leave out, how to weave it all together, how to remember the emotional truth, how to choose the details that make it real. I am finally writing my stories with "Your Life as Story" as guide and encouragement.
[As for a previous reviewer's criticism that Rainer didn't know that Cinderella's mother died, not her father -- they both died in the story I read. There are many versions of the old fairy tails, and they all have something important to tell us.]
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