We’ll start with some of the obvious questions about memoirs:
If you could write an autobiography about your whole life, why would you choose to write a memoir focusing on a limited part of it? Doesn’t that restrict your book? And doesn’t it leave too much unsaid?
One of the hardest things about writing an autobiography is trying to say everything you want to say in the available space. Conversely, one of the most liberating things about working on a memoir is knowing that you don’t have to say everything.
Your memoir can focus in on what’s really important
When you home in on one or two elements of your personal story (e.g. your career, your love life, your struggles, or your passions) you remove all the extraneous noise. You’re left with a very clear remit and all the space you need to create your memoir.
For example, I’ve worked on a lot of real-life mental health stories as a memoir ghostwriter. In these books, the named author focusses in on their experience of mental ill health, its effects, and their responses to it. They can focus on their struggle with mental ill health, without having to tell the story of their whole life (of which their struggle with mental ill health is just a part).
In the book Up to Me that I worked on as a memoir ghostwriter, the named author talked about lots of incidents from throughout her lifetime, but with a focus on incidents relating to issues of race and abuse. We didn’t have to join up events from her life in date order. We were able to flit in and out of her personal timeline, focussing on themes rather than strict chronology.
Equally, people who want to talk about a life of elaborate holidays may not want to talk about their normal day-to-day life. People who have been successful in life may only want to talk about their struggles. People who are known for one thing may want to talk about another thing…
So, there are lots of good reasons for choosing a memoir over an autobiography:
- Perhaps you feel bored by the prospect of writing about your childhood, adolescence or everyday life.
- There might be parts of your life you want to leave private.
- Or you may have a very clear sense of a topic or angle that you want to explore in detail in a memoir that you wouldn’t be able to do in an autobiography.
How can a memoir ghostwriter help you tell your story?
A memoir can go in so many different directions. It can be as precision-focussed as you wish. And the whole process can certainly be made easier with a memoir writer. So what is the process of working with a memoir writer like?
Your memoir ghostwriter will interview you at some length. They may ask some questions that go beyond the scope of your memoir. Even if this information doesn’t explicitly find its way into your book, it will help your memoir writer develop a broader sense of who you are and why this memoir matters to you. It will also help them to define a structure, and a way of writing your story that is unique to you.
Yor memoir may need a variation of thematic and chronological structure, or could be subdivided into individual reflections on a theme. So your memoir writer will help you structure your memoir – and help you decide what to leave out, as well as what to put in.
As well as helping you to refine – or define – your ideas for your memoir, your memoir ghostwriter will suggest ways of telling your story that reflect your personality.
Best of all, a memoir ghostwriter will do the hard graft so you don’t have to. Working from their interviews with you, they’ll write your entire manuscript; that path from first interview to finished memoir couldn’t be any easier, or quicker.
Your memoir can still reveal more about you
We’ve talked a bit about what you don’t have to include in your memoir. But if you want to include more details about your life, you can. And sometimes, you probably should…
For example, if you wanted to write your parenting memoir, you could still reveal plenty of additional information about your own childhood, and your relationship with parents and siblings, showing how those elements played into your experience as a parent. You could relate your children’s school days to your own, and so on.
If I were to write a ‘for-my-eyes-only’ account of being a memoir ghostwriter, it would be a much more effective read if I also included a chapter describing my childhood spent studying Doctor Who novelisations in great detail, leading to my passion for writing. I could also include a chapter on how it felt to get my first writing commission; these things give little windows into a wider world that give a memoir more meaning.
What kind of memoir do you want to write?
As mentioned, the memoir is a great tool for issue-led books. But there are lots of other ways of writing a memoir. Here are a few ideas to get you started, and you can talk to your memoir ghostwriter about the best approach for your memoir…
Your love story memoir
Why shouldn’t your life story be your love story too. Your significant relationships can be the focus of a very special memoir, for your partner, sibling, child, or friend. Memoirs like these are a wonderful way to show someone how much they mean to you.
Your work memoir
A work memoir doesn’t just have to chronicle your life at work, it could focus in on your unique approach to your job, your innovations, your friendships, or even the outrageous stories you’ve accumulated along the way. I could write a memoir about my experiences as a memoir writer, you could write a book about your experiences in your own field of expertise.
Your interests memoir
I’ve worked with people on books that have heavily focused on their favourites – their desert island discs, their favourite travel stories, their collections, and more. (These kinds of memoirs work even better if you talk about your passions in relation to the people, places, and moments that give them meaning.)
Your survival story memoir
Whatever you’ve faced has only made you stronger, and your memoir proves it. You can talk about as little or as much of your life as is pertinent to your theme. Many memoir writers find that writing the story of their triumphs against adversity helps them move on more effectively. Perhaps your book can help your readers overcome their issues too.
Helping you choose the right approach as part of my memoir ghostwriting service
By now, you know what I think about the value of writing a memoir:
If your career, or your innovative ideas can help or influence others, write a memoir. If your stories will serve as a lasting memento of a life well lived for your family and friends, write a memoir. If the lessons you’ve leaned will help someone else, write a memoir… You get the idea!
We’ll talk more about your options for the kind of memoir that’s right for you when we start working together. It may be that you already have clear ideas about the direction you want your book to take. Or you might want to talk over some different approaches.
My memoir service starts at just £1,125 for a 7,500 word manuscript, with options for much longer manuscripts, print books, and various design and print options, so you can choose the memoir service that’s right for you.
We’ll kick things off with a memoir ghostwriting call. Book a time and day to suit you.
Chris has a great talent, and an incredible skill for getting to the heart of the narrative. He really imprints your heart and identity on your story. I’ll never regret my decision, it was worth every penny and I loved every moment we spent working on my book!Colin Mackell – author of Broken Roads Lead Me Here
Do you know someone with their own great story? Take a look at options for commissioning a biography or memoir as a gift.