How to Collect and Record Memories

Turning the meaningless into the meaningful Collecting memories and mementoes is something most of us do, often unconsciously, on a daily basis. The advantage is that we know the stories behind the photos and trinkets we keep, but to anyone else, this collection is pretty much meaningless.  For example, you may pick up a photo of yourself with friends, sitting around a table and you might look fondly at the picture and chuckle to yourself, remembering all the events that occurred that night. But, let’s say your great-granddaughter picks up this same photo 40 years from now.What would she see? Read more

Does Your Story Have Legs?

The second instalment of The Life of a Backstory. By fleshing out the backstory and asking some key questions, writers can easily determine whether their idea has the potential to be more than just an idea, or whether it could be a bestseller. She doesn’t need to see to hear them fighting. She doesn’t need to see to know what expressions they wear. She doesn’t need to see to feel the house shudder as the front door slams. He’s gone. She never breaths during these exchanges, she’s tried to, tried to relax, but she can’t. Now she sucks air in so deep her shoulders and abdomen Read more

Questions to Inspire Memories and Life Stories

A great way to learn about someone’s past is to start by asking them questions about their early life. It’s not always easy to know where to start, so here’s a few ideas of questions you could lead with to inspire rich memories and life stories. Storytelling: For most people, preserving both their own stories and those of friends and family is very important, after all, that’s how we remember people after they’ve gone. Storytelling has forever been the most effective way of sharing knowledge, and as soon as we, as humans, began to record these stories, civilisation was effectively Read more

How To Write My Life Story

I once came across a quote by the author Kate Rockland, which read: “Relationships consist of telling your same life stories to different people until someone finally appreciates them.” Although, a little on the soppy side, this idea about the power of the life story and the realisation that our stories literally make us did really hit home. Now, most people wouldn’t consider themselves storytellers and definitely wouldn’t consider themselves authors. In actual fact, that is exactly what we all are; storytellers. By merely going about our day-to-day lives we are unwittingly creating Read more

Ghostwriting: Myths and Misconceptions

Ghostwriting can be loosely defined as the process of writing a book on someone else’s behalf. The contribution of a ghostwriter varies from book to book and from writer to writer. A ghostwriter’s task can range from predominantly editing to writing a complete novel or biography based on someone else's story or idea. Outside of the publishing world, the ghostwriters existence appears to be just as elusive as their name suggests, with many people being blissfully unaware of the ghostwriters contribution to the trade fiction sector. It seems to be widely accepted that biographies and cookbooks Read more

How to Write a Memoir

First-things-first, let’s establish precisely what a memoir actually is. It is not an autobiography. An autobiography is an account of someones life written by that person. So what exactly is a memoir? Well, memoirs are personal accounts of specific memories or stories from your life; it is not a record of your entire existence. One: that would be pretty much impossible to write down, and two: that would probably be a rather boring read. Learn more about the difference between a memoir and an autobiography (What's the Difference Between a Memoir and an Autobiography?)  Memoirs, like autobiographies Read more

The Life of a Back Story

I’m a starer. My husband is always picking me out about it because it’s so obvious, so blatant, so (God forbid) rude. I can’t help it though; some faces just keep drawing my eyes back to them. It could just be the face, but sometimes it’s the whole package: the way the lips move in conversation, or eyes stare unblinking at seemingly nothing or move constantly, a subtle mannerism or prodigious gesticulation. Sometimes it’s as simple as a pair of shoes. I can’t help it because I’m thinking: I wonder what his / her story is. I stare as I try to put together the pieces of a total stranger’s Read more

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