Co-Writer Personal Stories

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GSWaddell
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Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:26 pm Post

Hello everyone,

I am new at writing so forgive if this is a Duh type of question. When you are co-writing a book, how do you handle it when you want to tell a personal experience story. This is a non-fiction book and throughout we are using first person plural. But what do you do when it comes to telling a personal experience?
Is there an industry norm for this?

G

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kewms
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Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:48 pm Post

The method I've most commonly seen is something like:

One of us (GS) has some personal experience with this. He went down to his local grocery store, and...

Or else set off as direct speech, something like:

GS writes: I once had to deal with this myself. I went down to my local grocery store, and...


The first version probably works better with shorter anecdotes, the second version with longer ones. For the second version, I'd definitely suggest using distinctive formatting for the quoted text.

A third approach, suitable for an even longer first person narration, would be to simply put it in its own first person chapter, headed "GS' Story" or similar.

First person is generally more intimate than third. Whether that's desirable of course depends on the content.

Katherine
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Hugh
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Wed Nov 30, 2011 8:31 pm Post

I've only one addition to make to Katherine's advice. In the early chapter in which you set out your stall - tell your readers why you're writing the book, what it will say in general terms and what its structure will be - I'd introduce the idea that one or both of you will separately be narrating personal stories at points in the narrative, and roughly where this will happen and, again in general terms, why. As a reader, I would expect to be "warmed up" to the idea in this way.
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'

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GSWaddell
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:49 pm
Platform: Windows
Location: Mississippi
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Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:18 am Post

Great advice!

Thank you both for taking time to answer. Wow. This site is not just about a piece of software. It's a writer's forum. I love it!

G