Take Ten

This creative writing exercise is from Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer

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Take Ten for Writers • No. 07 Creative Writing Exercise


Writing the Opening Scene for a Biopic of Your Life

By Bonnie Neubauer | Updated September 9, 2018

A biopic is a film that depicts and dramatizes the life of an important historical person, sometimes stretching the truth and telling the life story with varying degrees of accuracy.

For this exercise, think of a riveting event from your life; get a good mental picture of it. You will be using it as the basis of the opening scene for a biopic of your life. It’s up to you how screenwriter-ly you are in terms of dialogue and stage direction. If you enjoy this, write more scenes. They don’t have to be in any type of order or linked in any way; just write good, dramatic, visual scenes from your life.

Pick a number between 1 and 10: ______.

Find your number below.


Find your number here. This is a group of suggestions on where in your life story you might find a good scene to open your biopic.

  1. your birth; a moment that moved in slow motion; an educational triumph

  2. an incident involving the police or the law; a special birthday celebration; a childhood illness

  3. a time when you made an error in judgment; a childhood toy; a birthmark

  4. something that happened very fast; a graduation; a fall

  5. a first day; finding out the hard way; an incident involving someone dear to you

  6. on a vacation; a rite of passage; an award you received

  7. a time when being slow cost you; a childhood excursion; last day in a home

  8. starting school; taking a leap of faith; the birth of a sibling

  9. losing your first tooth; at the home of a relative; about being or going fast

  10. at the home of a friend; getting lost; giving advice

Now TAKE TEN minutes and WRITE!

TAKE TEN Take-Away

The distinction between autobiography and memoir is often confusing. Here's the skinny on how to tell them apart: An autobiography is about a total life, from birth to death, often in chronological order. A memoir focuses on a slice of life, in detail, often using fiction-writing techniques to relay the story.

Next: Hearing Voices Writing Exercise

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