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Teacher Tips and Answers

Warm-Up for Phase Autobiographies

We all go through special phases that shape who are we and who we will become. This unit will show you how to write a compelling narrative about an important phase in your life.

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What Is a Phase Autobiography?

Phase Autobiography
© Thoughtful Learning 2016

A phase autobiography is a special form of narrative writing in which you write about a period in your life when you changed or grew in important ways. All people—especially young people like you—go through changes. A move to a new city may force one person to become more outgoing and personable in order to make new friends. The arrival of a baby brother or sister may cause another person to take on more responsibilities in the family. Learning how to play an instrument may show still another person the value of dedication and hard work.

You can write about a life-changing week, month, season, or year. Your biggest challenge may be choosing what to include in your writing and what to leave out. If you try to tell everything, your writing will go on and on, and may even become boring. Instead, plan to share just the key encounters, actions, and places as well as their effect on you. By doing so, you will create an effective narrative that readers can enjoy and learn from.

Thinking About Narrative Structure

The best narratives (stories) display a common structure characterized by rising action that builds interest to a peak before falling again toward a satisfying resolution. This structure mirrors the shape of the most rewarding experiences in life, so it is not surprising that phase autobiographies often follow this structure.

The following graphic shows how narratives build suspense through a series of actions that raise the stakes, leading to a critical moment or climax, when the main character confronts the central struggle.

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