Be a Better Writer--BIOGRAPHY

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Re: Be a Better Writer--BIOGRAPHY

Post by Anja » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:09 am

I have a question, though not entirely about writing a biography, per se.

My mother-in-law is writing the story of her mother's life. Jennie is not of any particular significance historically other than that she's from a pioneer family and that she'll be 108 years old one month from today.

She is a treasure.... still mentally agile and a delight to all.

I had the opportunity to read the little biography last Sunday, written in 3rd person by Leona, Jennie's firstborn, and 86 years old herself. Leona writes of herself as "Leona," not "I."

My question.... the MS needs help. Grammatically speaking. Punctuation issues, noun / verb agreement, noun / pronoun agreement, and so on. A few issues with continuity. It's a delightful read, otherwise.

It'll be a private printing. For family only, and probably copies to the local museum and library. I would gladly proofread it for them, but as a relative newcomer to the family, I don't want to offend or step on toes.

Do I just never mind?
Ann Grover Stocking

"What remains of a story after it is finished? Another story..." Eli Wiesel

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Re: Be a Better Writer--BIOGRAPHY

Post by glorybee » Thu Sep 04, 2014 11:17 am

That's a good question.

My first thought, since you're newish to the family--ask your honey to say something like, "Hey, Ann's really good with words. Want her to look it over for typos and stuff?"

If that's not feasible, I don't know. If it was just going to be family, I'd say to let it go. Since you say it might also go to a few places where it would be available to the public--

What would Leona want? Would she be more embarrassed by your offer of help, or would she be more embarrassed to find out, after the fact, that the writing was less than perfect?

Another thing to think through--do Leona's errors give it a sense of voice, of time and place, of authenticity?

Sorry that I don't have a clear-cut answer for you, but maybe I've given you some additional things to consider while you decide. Let me know what happens, please!
Jan Ackerson -- Follow me, friend me, give me a wave!
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