‘Any man’s life, told truly, is a novel.’ Ernest Hemingway
Writing a memoir is a delicate process, as by design they are the most personal form of writing. For a new writer, this can be a sensitive balance. Should I change his name? Should I kiss and tell? What if someone I talk about reads it? We provide mentoring and editorial support to guide you through the transformational and confessional autobiographical process. Recalling memory and intellectualising the past can often require the support of an experienced professional who can help a new writer. Discretion, by virtue of being ghostwriters, is our core ethos and we uphold that discretion throughout the process and beyond, crafting your memoirs to your satisfaction with your best interests at heart. It’s a daunting task, laying your personal life out in the open, but we have your back as we write your book.
We work closely with our clients in order to understand their perspectives, thoughts and feelings – in order to seek out and create the right tone and language to fit their personality. It requires time, patience and an attuned understanding of an individual in order to find this voice. Only that will make the piece their own. Sometimes, people have not found their unique voice, or don’t know how to voice a book while writing. We can help with this too. A good ghostwriter is someone who is observant, intuitive, detailed and creative.
‘I note: Heine* asserts that true autobiographies are almost impossible.’ Fyodor Dostoevsky
1. You would first send through a basic outline of the story by filling out our enquiry form. Following this, we will request further content and what each person will have will vary. Some people have it all stored in their memory and for private reasons, are ready to share it all, and have written nothing down. Other people differ and have kept journals or have given the first draft a go and may wish to forward the full text or an outline of it.
2. We will try to understand what the book is. A literary memoir? Autofiction? A celebrity autobiography? Confessional? Psychoanalytical? Archival? As we talk with you about what the book is we start conversations about where the book is going and what your publishing goals are. These two things help us recognise the project as a whole and sometimes this is only uncovered during the interviews.
3. Gradually and as interviews continue we begin to build the key items – manuscript, proposal, cover letter and we will start sharing the documents throughout the company to gather feedback early. A lot of the time, the discussions need to be spread out over many months or even years as – and this is especially true with more traumatic events – it can take time to safely recall and process the life story. The process can’t be rushed but we will want to generate momentum also. Focus not force is the key.
4. Eventually, a sample chapter will be agreed, often stress testing different tones, points of reference, narrative tenses, devices, tropes and so on. Once a style and a chapter breakdown is agreed your ghost will need time to bring the memoirs to a first draft.
5. On submission of the draft you will start to make notes and comments often recalling new memory that will help strengthen certain weak or flat parts. Often, more interviews are recorded to grab the new memories that are significant to the developing story. This process tends to continue until you are happy with the way the story has been presented and arranged. The difference between a memoir and an autobiography is in its presentation. A memoir doesn’t need to present the life story in any linear fashion and can adopt a more artistic narrative, often pivoting around a key event, such as a traumatic formative event or a significant milestone. Because of this, a memoir worthy of critical acclaim (if that is your goal) can take many years and the process described tends to loop.
6. When the proposal is strong enough with three shining polished chapters we will start the submissions process for you, often submitting on your behalf with a shared mailbox. Gradually, we will start to host and negotiate with agents on your behalf in an attempt to secure a publishing deal as we help establish you as a new author.