Writing Your Memoir/Life Story

You have a story to tell, but you don’t know where to begin, and how to express your thoughts in a truthful and compelling way that will capture the reader’s attention. What many people do not realize is that writing your life story is like telling your story to a good friend who is there to listen and ask open-ended questions that will lead into the heart of your life.

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Write Wisdom will serve as your interviewer asking you those pertinent questions that reveal your personal story. The right questions can evoke powerful and important insights and themes that will appear in many different scenes of your story.

Each interview session will last approximately two hours, and will be recorded and transcribed. The total number of interviews for a life story is typically ten to twelve sessions. The transcribed material will serve as the basis for a first draft.

Once a first draft is completed, special documents about your life, photographs and other memorabilia such as letters, newspaper articles, awards, and citations are collected that will add color and detail to your story. Often in searching out these materials, they will serve as triggers for additional stories and anecdotes.

Write Wisdom will work with you to select those stories and material that are relevant to your major themes and advise you when to omit material in the interest of the story that you are telling. Not every memory is worth including in your book; you are seeking those memories that have the greatest emotional content and significance; those heart’s desires and turning points in your life that illuminate the meaning and substance of your life and its purpose. On the other hand, Write Wisdom may ask you to “push your psychological envelope” and delve more deeply into certain incidents that you might wish to avoid. It is not unusual that the things we choose to avoid are the very things that need to be revealed. You can always edit these sections out later. To paraphrase Annie Lamott, the great writing teacher and author, “Give yourself permission to write a messy first draft.” Don’t second guess yourself, or say to yourself, “This is really irrelevant,” or “Who would be interested in this?” In rereading those stories you may find fascinating truths and coincidences that can lead to unimagined insights.

A second draft is then submitted for approval and corrections. When needed, Write Wisdom, will provide research to insure accuracy and to give your reader an enriched perspective on your story.

Write Wisdom will organize your memoir into logical chapters using chronology or theme as organizing principles. Your story will be told in your voice using your special sayings, philosophy and commentary. After all, it is your story. You are the author.

A final manuscript that will include photographs with captions will be presented to you. In addition you will receive a copy of all our interviews, tapes, transcriptions. You may elect to have your story published by our subsidiary, Provenance Press.

The process of writing your life story from the initial interview, through two drafts and a final manuscript usually takes between eight to twelve months. The cost depends upon the total number of hours of interviews, drafts and length of manuscript.

You retain all rights to your memoir unless you elect to sign a contract with Write Wisdom to share in future royalties and/or profits from the sale of the book to a commercial publisher. In the event that your book becomes the basis of a film, you also retain all ancillary rights unless you enter into a contractual arrangement with Write Wisdom.