Our lives are made of experiences, big and small, that shape us into who we are. Autobiographical writing shares such experiences in hopes of making meaning of them and conveying their significance to others. To be effective, autobiographical writing should describe an experience vividly and help readers understand why it was meaningful or how it affected you.
For this assignment, you will write about an experience that shaped or affected your life in some way. Consider your readers as you choose your subject: it should be something that you are comfortable sharing with others, as well as something that will engage readers and encourage them to reflect on their own lives and experiences.
The finished essay should:
✓ Present your experience vividly using narration and description—to build suspense, engage readers, and help them imagine what the experience was like for you
✓ Convey the autobiographical significance of the experience, articulating its impact on you, using carefully chosen words and details
✓ Maintain its focus on you, even if your subject is a person—show how that person affected your life (refer to the essay about Rick)
✓ Avoid relying on clichés when explaining the significance of your experience
✓ Include a thesis statement in the introduction or conclusion that conveys the significance of the experience
▪ Introduction: capture your readers’ attention; introduce the subject or begin narrating the experience; state your thesis (*unless it will be stated in the conclusion)
▪ Body paragraphs: these paragraphs should develop the subject by presenting details that make the narrative dramatic, using vivid descriptions, and conveying the autobiographical significance of your subject
▪ Conclusion: wrap things up; reflect on the significance of your subject; state your thesis (*if it is not already stated in the introduction)