An autobiography is a non-fiction account of an individual’s life, often drafted from their point of view. Often referred to as a memoir, it is highly personal to a writer and not at all impartial. An autobiographer may choose whether they want to tell only specific stories, leave others out, or talk about only specific people.
In this writing style, the writer is free to interject their thoughts and feelings at any point. Since it is a personal life story, how it is told is a personal choice. But it has a significant impact on the reader’s mind. We have seen people often getting confused, wondering about the correct tense and point of view to use in their autobiography. So, if you’re here looking for an answer to the same question, take a sign of relief.
What is the Point of View in an Autobiography?
One must understand there exist two narratives of composing a life history: tense and point of view. While tense indicates the period when the tragedy occurs, point of view is the form of narrating it.
The tense accepted in a story describes it in the past, present, or future. But the point of view is different from it. It typically provides three options to the writer: first, second, or third character. If you’re confused regarding what it means, please continue reading.
The first character is the one narrating a story. You must have watched movies or read books where a person narrates the story. While the actors continue playing their parts, a narrator also continues describing the ongoing events or the purpose behind their actions.
Writing books and narrating movies in the first person gives users a better understanding of the whole narrative. Here, you share the incident. For example, “As I was walking down the hill with a bag full of chips” or “I was composed in my routine when I came across a lost dog one fine evening.”
The memoir of famous Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi “An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments with Truth,” was written in first person narrative, where he shares his life story and talks about his childhood in the first person format.
A second person is also the one telling the story, putting the reader or the audience in their place. It is a common form of story-telling often used by writers in their autobiographies to relate with their audience. It refers to an individual or a group of people addressed by the writer or a speaker. For example, “You unlock the front gate of your house and see someone standing near the chair.”
Here, the writer employs “You,” a second-person form, to notify the readers or listeners what they did. Some of the most famous autobiographies, such as “Bright Lights, Big City” by Jay Mclnerney and “Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas” by Tom Robbins, were drafted in the second character narrative. Books in self-help forms are usually written in this style to connect readers.
The last narrative is the third character, written by an observer. Here the memoir is written by an individual utterly unrelated to the one for whom it is being drafted. Here the writer becomes a bystander and drafts the book similarly. For example, “As he unlocked the front gate of his house, he saw someone standing near the chair.”
Which Point of View is Suitable for Creating an Autobiography?
We hope you now understand the three points of view often utilized by writers to share stories. But not all of them are suitable for an autobiography. Now that you know how a writer tells tales using these styles, let’s discuss the most suitable one for an account.
The first character is a voice often used for memoir documents because it is highly personal. A writer can easily connect with the bookworms using this style to give an account of their life. To learn how to write an autobiography with a step-by-step guide and tips, please visit https://wr1ter.com/how-to-write-an-autobiography.
In autobiographical styles, the second-person format is seldom used. It is so because, in such a writing style, the writer shares their life account, and it is confusing and complicated to let a reader step into their shoes. If you’re writing about yourself or an incident you have been a part of, it is challenging and pointless for the readers to have the same experience.
Although the second-person narrative is an interesting approach, it isn’t easy to pull off in a memoir. That’s why writers often use it when drafting fiction stories. Most self-help books, such as ‘Think Like a Monk’ by Jay Shetty, are written in this style.
Although stories have been narrated in a third person form by writers around the globe, they don’t consider it a style suitable for drafting an autobiography. A tale written using this style is referred to as a Biography. It offers an authoritative feel, suitable for journalism and academic writing, but it is not considered right for an autobiography.
If you’re planning to draft your autobiography, please avoid employing this voice format, as it will turn it into a biography. This narration style is used in writing an account or history of another person, such as a teacher, friend, or ancestor. A writer may go back and forth between the first and third-person format, but it will no longer be an autobiography.
If you’re drafting a novel for the first time, remember that consistency is crucial. Whatever tense or point of view you use, maintain consistency. Otherwise, it will confuse the readers. We hope this blog helps you share your life account in the most appropriate and natural sense. But it is your choice whether you wish to play safe or take some risk with your tense and point of view choice.
Always remember to remain consistent and authentic with whatever style you choose.