Life stories, autobiography, biography and memoir, are all recreations and discoveries of a life. A well-crafted life story shapes your diverse and colourful assortment of personal vignettes into a graceful, coherent narrative that conveys the larger story and wisdom of your life. This is what a writer does when ghostwriting life stories.
There are many reasons for wanting to write your life story:
• To leave a message and share lessons learned.
• To encourage and motivate others.
• To put closure to a period or episode.
• To reflect upon and process experiences.
• To preserve family history.
• To tell your story and share what and who you are.
It is not always possible to write your own life story, and whether you want to explore your whole life or share a particular aspect of your life, you want your thoughts to be expressed in a truthful and compelling manner that allows your personality to shine through.
Why hire a ghostwriter?
• You lack the time needed to write your life.
• You lack the skills to weave your story in the way you envisage.
• You want to engage someone who excels at writing.
• You want to work with a professional who will be able to produce your vision.
What does a ghostwriter do?
A ghostwriter aims to find the core of your life story by asking questions and prompting you to remember the important details and pivotal moments of your life. They identify critical events from your life and explore how you responded to these. The process of listening and questioning are at the heart of discovering your story. A ghostwriter will listen very carefully to what it is you wish to convey, help you delve into your life and find the narrative arc of your life story. A ghostwriter will conduct interviews and ask many questions in order to collect all of the relevant information with the person whose life is being featured, and/or those with information about the person. The right questions can lead to important insights. They will take notes and record the interviews in order to capture your voice. A ghostwriter may also consider other available records, such as interviews, letters, articles, publications or writings about the person. Then they will sit down and begin the manuscript writing process. The material gathered will form the basis for a first draft.
Your job is to give your ghostwriter time and to tell them your story. Their job is to translate your life into a coherent and well-written story which will entertain, educate and inspire readers.
My business: A Worded Life offers ghostwriting services to those wishing to have their life story written.
Ghostwriting Life Stories Process:
You may never have had any experience with the writing profession, and may not know what questions to ask. The following process is aimed at helping you understand this journey.
When you inquire about A Worded Life’s ghostwriting service, you will be asked to describe what you are looking for so we can define the scope of the project.
You will be asked such things as:
• Do you want a biography written or an autobiography or memoir ghosted?
• Why do you want your story written?
• Who is your intended audience?
• Why are you looking for a ghostwriter to write your story for you?
• What is your time frame for this project?
• How long you want your life story to be: a leaflet or booklet, short story, novella, novel?
• Have written anything down already?
• Have you read any life stories that you particularly liked and hope yours will compare with?
Once we have reached an agreement, we will create a schedule for your project. We all live busy lives and we try to be as flexible as possible to fit around your commitments.
You may have already written some ideas down. Perhaps you or the subject of the book has a body of information already available. Pre-reading can give us a strong sense of the story or what you have in mind.
Interviews give as direct insight into your life. You will be asked to recall the stories you remember and details of each scene. Honestly, with yourself and with us, is vital to the process. We need to hear your ideas, your inner thoughts, all of your ups and downs and the emotions you felt along the way. Life stories are often quite personal. You identify any areas that are sensitive, that need to be handled with care and subtlety so that the interview space can be one of openness. The space we create in interviews is non-judgemental, safe and confidential. Remember, this is your story and you will have the final say over what is written, but through the interview process, it is important to dig below the surface. We want the process of writing your life story to be as comfortable as telling your story to a close friend.
We usually conduct a series of interviews.
While the story conveys your life, sometimes, we conduct background or further research to provide facts that support your story. Fact checking may be required to ensure the information we are portraying is accurate.
After the interviews are complete, they are transcribed, and once other information has been gathered, we begin the writing process. We organise your story into chapters, thematically or chronologically as appropriate. There is often call for further discussions throughout the writing process.
Once the first draft is completed, the manuscript is given to you for review. At this point you make any corrections or updates as required. Remember, this is your life story and you have the final say over what is or is not included. Then you return it to us.
We take your input into account and revise the draft accordingly.
Once the first draft has been rewritten to reflect your changes, we deliver your manuscript to you. You retain all rights to your story. You are the author of the book, though you are welcome to acknowledge the writer, e.g.: ‘written with’, should you wish.
Your life is unique and deserves to be written down. We consider it an honour to help life stories come to fruition.
How you can help start the process:
• Start thinking about your life.
• Make lists of important people, places and events from your life, writing down a line or two that will help you remember these later during our interviews.
• Create a list of themes. For example: school days, illnesses, travel, loves, career, etc.
• See if you can identify 10 core life events which for each theme.
• Write a paragraph or two about each core life events. This does not have to be polished writing – just get the details down.
In this way, you begin to think about the events of your life reflectively and in some detail. This can provide a starting point for our interviews.
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