What's a good sentence to start my autobiography?

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gkopf's profile pic

gkopf | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

You want to start your autobiography with some kind of "hook" to grab the reader's attention.  Without knowing much about you, here are some ideas:

  1. Start with a quote from a famous person.  The quote should reflect the kind of person you are/your experiences.  Think about your overall theme for your autobiography.  Is it about growing up? Overcoming hardships?  Love?  Choose a quote that mirrors your theme.
  2. Start with a short story/anecdote.  It should be something about you that sets the tone for the rest of the story.  For example, if your autobiography focuses mostly on your relationship with a sibling/parent, start with a story about one of them.
  3. Ask a question.  The rest of your autobiography should be about answering that question.  For example, if your autobio focuses on meeting a significant other, try, "How do you know when you've found your soulmate?"  Then use your autobio to talk about that relationship.
miketeachkc's profile pic

miketeachkc | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

What I suggest is to start with "I am going to write about..." and then keep writing.  The point is to START, and that can be difficult.  Now, you should ALWAYS revise your writing after the first draft.  When you do, take the "I am..." sentence OUT of the next draft.  It was only there to get your fingers and brain moving in the right direction.  

Once you start the second or final draft, you want to make sure you have a solid topic sentence that also has something that will catch the attention of the reader.  What is the big story in the paper or what was funny or sad or in some way would emotionally grab the reader?  What have you done that others might find interesting?  Any of these would be a good topic for the first sentence.

marvy23's profile pic

marvy23 | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

What you are looking for is your hook--the first effort to convince a reader that your writing is worth reading. Think of what sorts of first sentences grab your attention when you are reading. You might make a seemingly nonsensical statement that will be cleared up in the rest of the essay ("Ducks give good advice"); you could create a sense of suspense ("Neither my mother nor my father had any idea how important the date March 23 would be"); you could state your life's #1 guiding principle so far ("I may not be where I want to be yet, but I am grateful that I am not where I was"). Your first sentence should intrigue the reader while setting the tone for the writing that follows. It might be funny, witty, or profound--but strive to make it not commonplace. First impressions are crucial! 

The best way to start an autobiography is to describe a situation in your life, use a short quote, or even use an intro sentence that is the opposite of who you thought you would become.

Examples:  My life is so different than I ever thought it would be....

"Be the change you wish to see in the world."- Mahatma Gandhi.  This quote embodies the path I am taking in my life.....

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