How Does It Work?

How Does it Work?

Most of the work is done by me. Your part is relatively simple.

1. Initial meeting

Once you’ve contacted me, we’ll set up a complimentary meeting at your home or office. At this meeting, we’ll get to know each other. We’ll also talk about the content of the life story interviews – specifically what subjects or eras you wish to focus on.

For example, you might want to discuss… Marriage. Raising a family. College years. Military life. Your career. Illnesses. Growing up in a small town. Your parents. Moving to a new state. Losing a loved one. Overcoming hardships. Pets. Heirlooms. Your love of antiques, model trains or gardening. The lessons you’ve learned in life. Any topics you wish to discuss.

This will give me an idea of how many interviews will be needed – and how and when to schedule them.

We’ll also discuss how you eventually want these interviews to be documented. They can be presented as…

  • A series of verbatim compact discs
  • A lightly edited, transcribed document
  • A more thoroughly edited and organized manuscript
  • Or a handsome book, complete with photos and captions.

We‘ll also discuss how long the project will take, and the cost. Each project is unique. So, I won’t know the specifics until we meet and discuss the scope of the project. Once we’re both in agreement, a contract will be signed and I’ll receive a deposit toward the overall fee. After that, we’re off and running to the…

2. Story Interviews

I will come to your home or office at a time that’s convenient for you. You should find this to be a very relaxed and enjoyable few hours, and actually look forward to our meetings. It’s best to conduct these interviews in a quiet, undisturbed environment, so you can keep your focus.

A comfortable length for most interviews is 1 to 2 hours, but we can adjust that to meet your needs. The number of interviews can range from as little as 2 to as many as 10 or more, depending on how many topics we cover.

When I arrive, I’ll set up a small, pocket-size recorder at your table or desk. Then we’ll just talk. Obviously, you’ll do most of the talking. My job is primarily to listen. But I’ll be asking relevant questions that prompt your answers – and perhaps follow-up questions.

We’ll only discuss topics that you are comfortable with. You’ll never have to worry about tackling any subjects that make you uncomfortable. You alone control the tone and content throughout. And you can always delete material that you have second thoughts about. Your peace of mind is always my number one concern.

During the interviewing phase of the project, you may want to collect old photos, newspaper clippings, documents, artifacts, awards, etc. These visual aids can serve as handy reference materials during the interviews. Also, should you choose to place your life story in a book, these items can be digitally scanned to accompany your life stories.

The interviews can be completed in a week, a few weeks or a few months – depending on the number of interviews, and your scheduling needs. Once these interviews are complete, most of your work is done.

3. Transcribing, editing and shaping your story.

The decision of how much you want your story edited is purely your choice. I can create a series of verbatim CDs directly from our interviews. I can also produce a lightly edited, print transcript (removing the “ers” and “ums”.) Or I can create a thoroughly edited, organized and flowing manuscript (with my voice removed) to keep the narrative stream.

Through it all, your own personal voice will remain intact. The reader will feel like you’re actually there in the room. Depending on your choice of formats, this phase can take a few weeks or several months.

4. The book.

A book, of course, will be the most time and cost intensive. Your photos and other documents will need to be scanned. It also involves other individuals like designers, printers and bookbinders. This format, however, will likely prove to be the most “complete” and attractive vehicle to portray your life.

The overall time frame for a book (from day one to completion) should run anywhere from three to nine months, depending on the unique circumstances of each project.

5. The review process.

Regardless of which written format you choose to document your life stories in, you’ll be handed a first draft to review. At that point, you can make any changes to the text that you like. I will then incorporate those changes into a final draft that will go into the transcript, the manuscript or the book. Once again, you’ll be able to review my changes before the project is finalized.

Begin the adventure now.

You can contact me at…
(207) 338-1122