Written for you memoir

Documenting your life story or your family’s life stories is a significant family milestone. The outcome is a priceless heirloom that will speak to many generations. Let us help you to tell your story in writing. We’re good listeners and can ask just the right questions to move your story along.

Everyone loves a good story. There’s no better way to pass along a sense of connection, a few hard-learned lessons, memories of the wonderful characters in our past, and the insight of a fulfilling life. 

Writing down our stories is the best way to make them last. But in our busy lives, it’s hard to find the time. Many people plan to write their memoirs but discover it’s a bigger job than they bargained for.

 

My Life Stories can help. We work with you one-on-one, in a relaxed, enjoyable series of conversations, to record the events and reflections that have shaped your life. Then we turn your stories into beautiful books, written in your own voice and illustrated with the photos you love.  

Together, we create a written legacy for those who follow. Your stories become a treasured link to the past, amusing, inspiring, and bringing people together for many years to come.  

Even the strongest memories can fade with time.  If preserving your stories is important to you, please contact us soon.

 

The Process

Goal Setting meeting

We meet and chat about where things are at for you.  We talk through what your goal is for this project. Then we make a simple plan to ensure we capture the things that matter to you and your family, during the service and beyond, and what you all want to get out of this experience. We will provide a simple biographical information sheet to gather the basic factual information, such as birth dates, spellings of family members’ names, wedding dates, schools attended and jobs held. That way, when we meet with the narrator for the interview, we can focus on capturing memories and collecting stories.

Interviews

We’ll arrange a series of meetings with you so that you can tell us more about your life. Most people prefer to meet us in their own home. We have found  meeting weekly allows good time for reflections and memories to crystallise, and provides scope for further insights that you may wish to expand upon. Usually each interview session will be up to two hours.

We use our research and writing skills to bring together all the stories you share with us and turn them into a book that you’ll be proud to share with others. 

We also leave the narrators with a small booklet where they can jot down memorable stories or life events, or anything that comes to mind later that they may have forgotten to mention. We make certain to address those items in subsequent interviews.

By asking simple, straightforward questions, we prompt the narrator to share stories that begin flowing easily. We may jump around during the interview, as one story may follow from another, but the organization can come later during the editing process. The important thing is to capture the narrator’s recollections in his or her words.

Transcribing

Outside of the sessions, the audio-recording of each interview is then transcribed and used as a starting point to create a cohesive text. Our goal is to keep close to the teller’s words, so it is true to the way the speaker talks. But we shape the story. We note areas that could use more detail or clarity in our next conversation.

Life themes emerge. Such insights are often the most powerful outcome of this work.

We review regularly allowing you complete control over what is included in your story, so you can remove anything you want excluded and add or extend areas that we first touched on.

Gathering Resources

We ask the storyteller and family members to gather photos and other memorabilia they’d like to have in the final book. We either scan the items at the client’s home or transport them carefully in a fire safe to ensure they remain unharmed. After scanning the photos and backing them up, we return them in the same condition.

Putting it All Together

After the interviews end, we edit the transcriptions into either a first-person or third-person narrative, depending on the client’s desires. During this phase, we conduct extensive research to fill in any gaps and double-check facts and figures. Then we provide a first draft copy for corrections, additions or deletions.

When the first draft is returned, we make any changes indicated, and then design the photos and stories into a beautiful book. A draft of the book is provided to the client and/or narrator for any final changes.

After those changes are made, the book receives a final look for any typographical errors or other problems. When all changes are made, we print the book in either color or black and white, again depending on the client’s desires, and have all the copies bound. You have a beautiful, bound memoir that you can proudly display to friends, families and colleagues.

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Pricing

Documenting your life story or your family’s life stories is a significant family milestone. The outcome is a priceless heirloom that will speak to many generations. Our aim is to make this as affordable as possible by basing our packages on the number of interviews as they are the starting point to creating a book.

Expect to pay $1000-1500 for every two hours of interviews. This covers the cost of initial goal setting meeting, guided interviewing, transcribing, editing, digitalising and enhancing photos, page design, printing and binding for one book. Since all the time and expense goes into creating the first book, the price for additional books simply covers the printing and binding costs. This also includes copies of the audio recordings if you wish. we provide a scope of project before starting so you know exactly how much your project will cost.

At first glance, this can seem a big investment. Have you ever written a speech for a wedding or another event? You will know that writing it can take hours. Delivering it takes about 10 minutes.

Now imagine it wasn’t a short speech, but something that encapsulated your  whole life, your essence, who you are, your history and memories. That is hours of work.

The prospect is daunting. This is why most people simply never get around to telling their story. Sometimes they are too late .

We often hear people want to write their life story “one day,” but they don’t do it because it is a big commitment of time.

With My Life Stories, we take all the hard work out of writing your memoirs. We hear all the time the words “can you help me write my life story”?

Frequently Asked Questions

You are! These are your words, memories, voice, feelings and reflections that come through. This is all about you. It is in your words and your voice will shine through. We send you a commissioning agreement that outlines the specific features of your book as well as the payment schedule. It confirms our responsibility to keep your personal information confidential and that you will own the intellectual property of your book once you have made the final payment. 

We are based in Adelaide, Australia and offer a statewide service. We are happy to travel interstate and overseas, for an additional travel fee. We have also successfully used phone and video conferencing (like zoom) with people.

Many people worry their story isn’t interesting or worth writing. Believe me it is and it is usually the kitchen table stories that are of significant interest to your family and friends. For example, the way you were brought up, the clothes you wore, how you travelled, and how you spent your time, become more fascinating the more the years roll on.

No, it’s never too late. We can help you create a tribute book about your mother’s life by interviewing her siblings, friends, relatives, children, co-workers and others who are willing to share their special memories about her life.

Her siblings, and perhaps her spouse, may recall stories of her childhood, recollections of parents and grandparents and tales of love, romance or other special events in her life. A tribute book, combining the photos with the stories, will be a treasure to pass on to future generations. It’s a wonderful way to honour your mother’s memory

It’s amazing how many stories will start flowing through your mind when the right questions are asked. We can go through photos with you to help trigger memories, capturing stories as they come to mind.

Another great source of early memories are Christmas letters, diary entries, letters between parents and similar personal paperwork. The stories will come; we just need to be there to capture them on tape when they do.

This is never a problem when the final product is a book. The narrator and the client have the final say over what goes into the book. If you didn’t like a particular story, cross it out when you review the first draft.

If you think a relative might be angry about something, feel free to eliminate it. This is your book. Relatives may receive a copy of the book—they don’t have to listen to the tapes. The tapes belong to you—you are free to do whatever you like with them.

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