How to Capture Your Parents’ Life Stories

How much do you really know about your parents’ lives? So many stories took place before you were born, or were old enough to understand. Your parents know your whole history – but chances are you only know a fraction of theirs. As our parents get older, these stories start to become more important to us. A lot of us turn our minds to making a record – we don’t want these irreplaceable memories to be lost. A Story Terrace biography is a great way to ensure your parents stories will last the generations. However you want to record your parents’ life stories, the first step is to start Read more

Three Women, Three Powerful Life Stories

H ave you ever tried to keep a diary? It can be challenging to keep up the discipline - but fascinating to look back in later years at how you felt. But what if you don't have a record? Or you want to turn your experiences into something you can share with your family and friends? Today we are looking at three women - Sue Hodges, Ichko Gomobodorj, and Teresa Samuels - who have tried a new approach. Working with a professional writer & interviewer from private biographers Story Terrace, they created their very own memoirs. These women are part of an emerging trend - ordinary people creating Read more

How to Collect and Record Memories

Turning the meaningless into the meaningful We record memories and keep mementos, often unconsciously, on a daily basis. We know the stories behind the photos and trinkets we keep, but to a stranger, our collection is meaningless.  For example, you may pick up a photo of yourself with friends, sitting around a table. You look fondly at the picture, chuckling 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? Now imagine this same photo, but with the caption: ‘The gang, aged 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 going about our day-to-day lives we are unwittingly writing our own 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

Steal Like An Artist – Memoir Inspiration

Last year I was attending a short story course, and on the reading list was a little book by Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist. I'm a sucker for getting most of the books on any reading list I'm given, and this proved no different. It's useful and inspirational, but it's central tennant is that really, there's nothing new, we are all inspired and motivated by work that has gone before. Picasso said, 'art is theft' and David Bowie echoed, 'The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.' Call it standing on the shoulders of giants if you will. This applies to the writer of memoir Read more

How do you define Life Writing?

How do you define life writing? Life Writing is the blanket term used to describe all written non-fiction recordings of memories. This includes biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, diaries and blogs, personal essays and collections of letters or emails. It does what is says on the tin, life writing is writing about life. As you can see, that is a lot of formats under one term. And if they’re all technically life writing- what makes them different? If you’re writing about life, which format is best suited for your content? We’ve already covered what the difference between an Read more

Creative Writing Tips

Photo by Hilke Kurzke
Whether your project is a short story, a biography, a series of novels or anything in between, creative writing can be hard. The road to greatness is often encumbered by speed bumps. Maybe you have an entire story plotted out in your mind, but you can’t find the right way to fit that cinematic adventure into words. Perhaps you can’t wait to fashion beautiful sentences, but you’ve got no clue what to write them about. Or maybe you’ve written the whole thing, but re-reading it disappoints you because it’s not what you imagined. Overcoming these issues and more is all part of the creative Read more

How the internet has transformed the Life Story

Thanks to Aaron for pressing the shutter release. He is himself an aspiring photographer now, thanks to the Canon AE-1 he borrowed from his dad.  Project365: 233/365
“For many years I have had a big social presence and even though I love using Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, sometimes it is hard to share your experiences on such limited spaces. I love writing and I love making pictures,” writes Ella Dvornik on her ‘I Am Ella’ life story blog. “I am not a professional writer, I am not very literate and English is not my first language so I tend to make mistakes, but I love what I do and I love doing it.” Stories are uploaded everyday. Pictures are uploaded everyday. We write, craft and shape our biographies online without even thinking about Read more

Writing to preserve memories

Photo by Fredrik Rubensson
'Tell me about when you were a little girl.' Coaxing stories and memories out of parents and grandparents was at one time my favourite way of putting off bedtime. Nowadays – and once the stories are written down – it fulfils deeper purposes with broader benefits. Parting the curtains For a child, listening to stories is like visiting the old days hand in hand with the parent or aunt or grandparent who used to live there. It’s a comforting way to open up the past: their past, your past, the stories that shape family life. It’s like peeping behind the curtains that part the generations. Read more

Nepal Earthquake One Year On: The Earth Moved

Last April, Row and Tom Smith were celebrating a successful climb to Tsergo Ri peak in Langtang, Nepal when they were caught in the aftermath of an avalanche – at least, that’s what they originally thought. Later on, they, along with the rest of the world, realised that they were almost at the origin point of the 8.9 Richter Scale quake that devastated the mountainous country which is now known as the "Nepal Earthquake". Exposed to the disastrous power of nature, their hiking group was escorted back down the mountains to the valleys where they saw the true extent of the damage. Buildings Read more

How to write a good biography

Picture by starmanseries
The best biographies are written for novel reasons. A biography aims to inform, captivate, enrage, inspire, or all of the above. They offer us an extensive insight into the life of a remarkable person. They are the lifeblood of any section marked ‘Non-Fiction’. The worst biographies are written for no reason at all. Or no real reason, anyway. They fail to capture the imagination and, as such, are often abandoned mid-way through, left unread on the dusty shelf of an obscure bookshop or marked as spam in a potential publisher’s inbox. And trust us, it happens all the time. But it doesn’t Read more

Thank You Mama Gatha | Testimonial

  'Emily and Judy had lots of time and patience in collating, editing and putting my book together. Thank you again, it's like a miracle come true.' -- Eleanor Brooks A tribute to Mama Gatha Eleanor Brooks came to Story Terrace having already penned her incredible life story. But with her manuscript in a Word document, she wasn’t sure how to capture it in a book for her family. Story Terrace matched her with Judy Brown who provided editorial expertise. Together Eleanor and Judy created a memoir of Eleanor’s life and a moving tribute to her grandmother, Mama Gatha. Eleanor was born Read more

Memoir vs Autobiography: What’s the Difference?

Memoir vs autobiography. Autobiography vs memoir. What's the difference? The words autobiography and memoir exist as distinctly separate, albeit similar, words that describe the first-person, written depiction of the author's life. For hundreds of years, as the popularity of sharing life stories has grown, the two forms have co-existed in playful harmony. Chances are you're confused about the similarity between these two terms - don't worry, you're not alone! It seems that people these days use the two words interchangeably – a common mistake! Well, fear not, gentle reader! Let's set the Read more

5 Incredible Memoirs & Biographies to Read Now

Looking for a new life story to read this spring? We've got you covered with this list of recently published memoirs and biographies that share amazing stories of resilience and determination.     A Different Kind of Daughter: The Girl Who Hid from the Taliban in Plain Sight by Maria Toorpakai This memoir tells the story of Maria Toorpakai, a brave young woman from northwest Pakistan who refused to let society and the Taliban dictate whether she could or could not play the sport she loved -- squash.  As a youth, she played the game by disguising herself as a boy, but later rose Read more

4 Unique Luxury Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this Sunday and if you're like us, then you're probably still searching for the best type of gift to give. We all want to find that special-something, a unique gift our mum will treasure as much as we appreciate her.  In the spirit of sharing ideas and stories, we’ve partnered with English luxury lifestyle brand Thomas Lyte (who provided the gifting images) to bring you 4 special gift ideas. The Thomas Lyte company has a distinct link to genealogy and history (two of our favourite things!) through its name, which echoes back to 1610 and the story of the Lyte Jewel. King Read more

Kickstart Your StoryStarter Biography Group Gift

Looking to give someone special in your life the opportunity to write their life story and create their own biography? We can help! With our crowdfunding platform StoryStarter, you can collaborate with friends and family to share stories, memories and photographs, and pitch in on the funding.  Once the crowdfunding portion is completed, the person receiving the biography as a gift will be sent a Welcome Pack with a compilation of all the shared stories and photos. Find out more information on the next steps in the Story Terrace biography process here. This step-by-step guide will help Read more

Sue Hodges Testimonial Video

Last month, we brought you a case study of Sue Hodges' book Don't Switch Me Off with exclusive excerpts and photos.  Today, we have a special testimonial video, in which Sue shares her personal reasons for wanting to create a bespoke book to pass on to her children and grandchildren. She also discusses her experience working with a Story Terrace ghostwriter.  Through this process, Sue was able to recount and record her exciting life story, which included many years of travel that led her from London to Turkey and finally to Greece, before returning home to the U.K. Take a moment and Read more

10 Things We Loved About Amsterdam

Recently, the Story Terrace U.K. team flew to Amsterdam to visit our Dutch counterparts and boy are our arms tired! In between many important meetings, PowerPoint presentations and frenzied tram rides, we took some time to appreciate the finer things that this historic city had to offer. Hanging out with the Story Terrace NL team - We love seeing the Dutch team on Skype during our weekly meetings and they proved to be great hosts as well! The gals were able to quit plugging their government-appointed dikes long enough to give us an amazing tour around this colourful, historic city and the Read more

How It Works: The Story Book Process | Step 6

In six simple steps, you can take part in creating your life story to save and share for generations to come. In this article, learn about the final, sixth step in the Story Terrace story book process. Once you’ve finished working with your experienced ghostwriter on making edits to your story, the finalised manuscript will be sent to your Story Terrace editor for review. Now you can sit back and let our skilled editorial team ensure your book is thoroughly edited and proofread. {Tweet: Learn about the 6th step in the @StoryTerrace biog process. Go from final manuscript to printed hardcover Read more

Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

In her biography, Into the Light, Teresa Samuels recalls her hometown of Wau in the south of Sudan, shaded by mahogany and mango trees. Despite memories of hunger and hardship, her family were happy and lived in the rich grassland of the savannah, just above the equator, where the air was sweet and fragrant with the scent of wildflowers. When Teresa was just 11, all of this changed with the onset of the Sudanese civil war. South Sudanese defence forces clashed with Arab officers from the north just miles from Teresa's school, and fifty years of fighting began. “Making this book has given me Read more