So What?

Why is the question “So what?” important when writing an autobiography? If you want to interest the reader, you must consider whether or not the reader will be asking that question. If he will be, then the autobiography needs some work.

When writing an autobiography one has to offer anecdotes, dialogues and instances which are relevant to the general history of the autobiography. It has to be something the reader can understand and hopefully relate to. If it’s an instance that only you understand, then I suggest that you exclude it from your autobiography.

When you write an autobiography, you have to think first and foremost about the reader. The book has to be centralized around the reader. If you write the book for yourself, it’ll never sell well. You have to write stories and dialogue, etc., that draw in and entertain the reader.

A good example of this is Twelve Years a Slave, written by Solomon Northup. He was a free black in the North until he was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. He spent twelve years in bondage, eventually regaining his freedom with the help of his old friends. His autobiography was chock-full of interesting and relevant anecdotes which added to the general history of his life. It was a puller! You did not ask “So what?”

An autobiography has to offer the reader a history of that person’s life. If it does not offer an interesting story, then either that person’s life was extremely boring, or it was written without the question “So what?” in mind. “So what?” is an important part of any autobiography.

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