The Queen of King Street: Part 2

I heard on the radio today that writing and reading stories is an important tool for young children. It teaches them to problem-solve and to anticipate expected outcomes; in other words, to plan ahead.

Every good story has a structure that begins with an introduction, followed by a body of content and a conclusion. Hearing stories sets up in a child's mind an expected pattern that conditions them for life to plan and execute result-oriented tasks.

Telling the story of autobiographies

So what does an editor do with a biography? The introduction could be 'She was born on such-and-such a date in ...', the conclusion might relate her death and the significance of her life. It's a little harder with an autobiography as the 'subject' is still living.

With The Queen of King Street, the autobiography of Lola Russell, I was given a gift. Lola is a retired English teacher and actress, two professions that deal intricately with telling stories - and hers is a beauty! The underlying premise of her book is that the city she grew up in has changed so that it is largely unrecognisable from the one she was born in. This clear statement is made on the first page and ties up her story on the last.

Melbourne - changed beyond recognition?

Lola's house is now prime real estateIn between are descriptions of a Melbourne long vanished. She lives in the oldest house on a busy corner in Melbourne's CBD. She notes that in the 1920s, when she was born, that it was the 'bread and dripping' end of the city. Nowadays, it is choc-a-bloc full of prime real estate, surrounded by tall office blocks in the finance area of town.

For entertainment, she and her mother would catch a tram to St Kilda; today, as a young relative coolly informed me, it's not a proper holiday unless you go overseas. Her grandfather ran the all-purpose shop which she and her family lived above. He knew everyone in the street (it's half a mile long) and helped them out financially. Most of us don't even know our immediate neighbours.

The themes in Lola's book were easy to find, providing lots of 'coathangers' on which to hang her memoirs. Please like her Facebook page.

If you have written a biography or personal memoir, I can structure your book so that it flows better, making it an even better 'read'. Contact me at susan@creativetext.com.au for a chat.  

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