Memoir Editorial Service
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Write Your
Memoir, Autobiography or Family History
To Create a Lasting Legacy

How to write memoirs


"Write As We Go"

Coaching Program

Prefer to send me just a few chapters at a time?

We can work together as the story grows, and you can pick your own pace and pay as you go. Click here to find out more on this program.

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Steps to Writing a Memoir--in Fact and Fiction

Autobiographies, family histories, and memoirs are unique forms of literature. They are based on fact, but those facts are filtered through the author's eyes, recollections, and interests. This results in a special flavor and perspective that only that author can bring to that book.

Start with the Facts:
Start with a list of the facts, dates, and places involved. Keep them as your guideposts as you write. Not every period of time or incident will be part of your book--but keeping the timing straight is important for both you and your reader.

Weave in the Emotions:
Readers want the emotions of the lives you are presenting to shine through your pages. Express those feelings as you write.

Adding Fiction:
Sometimes a family's factual history is sketchy. To fill in the blanks, you might use fictionalized scenes that fit both the historical facts and the flavor of the overall story.

Keep Your Own Voice:
Although it is important to be as grammatically correct as you can be, it is just as important to keep your own unique voice present in your story. That is what makes each memoir or family history special.


1. As a Personal Journal
Some memoirs are kept solely as personal journals. The finished writing might be handwritten in a custom-bound or hand-made journal. Never feel you must publish something you write. Sharing is great, but the experience of writing for yourself has its own rewards.

2. For Family and Friends
If you wish to share your writing with your family and friends, there are numerous low-cost ways to publish your book yourself that will give you only as many copies as you need.

3. For the World to See
If you are not a celebrity, the road to commercial publication is tough. Consider the scope of your story. Maybe your local historical society or a county or state agency could be your ticket to publication. Find some niche that suits your book and market it aggressively -- you just might inspire publishers and readers alike!


Your Personal Writing Coach
Professional memoir editing services can both help you grow as a writer and help you shape your words into a stronger memoir or family history. I always keep in mind that the story is yours and your unique voice is special to the project. Interested? Click here to see more about my services.

Memoirs and Personal Histories

Published by My Clients
With Notes from the Editor:

Memoirs from hobbies

Rose Miller is at it again, with another fine memoir, this one about her life with some special dog companions. The book, "Little Miss Muffitt, Guardian of My Heart" shows the kind of bond that we humans can have (and need!) with our furry friends. The subtitle is "A Tribute to Those Special Dogs Who Capture Our Hearts and Stay Forever." The book explores several unique relationships with special dogs who have shared their lives with Rose.

Like "The Horse Who Wouldn't Trot" (see below about that book of hers), this is another example of how writers can share special aspects of their lives with readers. Not every memoir is about the author's entire life; sometimes we want--and need--to showcase just one special focus on what makes our lives unique. Click here to learn more about her life and her books.
        Congratulations, Rose!

Memoirs from experiences

Beatrice Taylor writes: "I have finally finished my memoirs! I made it one of my four goals this summer to wrap it up and I am happy to have it finished. I found a bindery in Montana who will bind the albums in leather and I will give them to the children for Christmas.

"I want to thank you again for your help. I fear that working on my own I might have muddled over it until I got tired of the idea. Your encouragement and your editing ability to make it better while keeping it "mine" were invaluable. I loved working with you; I think we made a good team. I will keep your address in my file, in case I have another bright idea some day and need your services again!"

Beatrice came to me with a lifetime of family memories plus travel experiences from over 60 countries--and photos! Compiling her full life of adventures into a volume to share with family and friends seemed like a daunting task. But with a bit of coaching and help with organization, her wonderful life's story came together. It was both a pleasure learning about Beatrice and sharing in her writing journey.

Want to share your life's story with readers? E-mail me to discuss your plans!

Author Success

Mark Grove published The Madison Picker, a fun and informative semi-autobiographical novel based on his life as an antiques dealer and collector. The book is crammed with details of antiques, history, and the art of collecting and he is actively marketing it to readers within the industry as well as all fans of "picking," like those who enjoy The Antiques Roadshow and Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy series.

Mark wrote to me, "At a certain point I end up moving lines around on the page and get nowhere. I need a thought manager, a structural engineer, closet organizer, or someone. That's you. Thanks!"

Editor's Note: Write from your own background and you can find a rich source of experiences and details to inspire plots and characters as well as draw in readers! E-mail me to discuss your book ideas!

Memoirs from experiences Edward J. Blakely is Professor of Urban and Regional Planning Policy and Director of the Planning Research Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia. He was appointed by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to act as Director of the Office of Recovery and Development Administration following Hurricane Katrina.

To Blakely, the challenge was not only to repair physical damage but also to reshape a city with a broken economy and a racially divided, socially fractured community. "My Storm: Managing the Recovery of New Orleans in the Wake of Katrina" (University of Pennsylvania Press) is a firsthand account of a critical sixteen months in the post-Katrina recovery process. It tells the story of Blakely's endeavor to transform the shell of a cherished American city into a city that could not only survive but thrive. He considers the recovery effort's successes and failures, candidly assessing the challenges at hand and the work done.

Ed Blakely came to me with fiction manuscripts that he was writing for fun, but his background expertise which he shares in his scholarly writings provides guidance and value to real world situations.
        Consider the lessons YOU have learned and how you can translate them into articles and books to help others in similar situations.
        Thank you, Ed!

The Horse That Wouldn't Trot

Rose Miller enjoyed a career raising and showing a special breed of horse--the Tennessee Walking Horse. Along the way she learned the sweet success of loving and showing these horses and the ugly truths about some aspects of that field. She has written a book that exposes the cruel practice of soring as well as delivers a heart-warming story of the love between a woman and her horses.

This is an example of how a writer's own life experiences can not only be shared with readers for enjoyment, but can enlighten and inform as well. Click here to learn more about her life and her book.
        Congratulations, Rose!

Drilling for Disaster in a Colombian Jungle

Check out Don McGee's book Drilling for Disaster in a Colombian Jungle
on by clicking the title or image. Don McGee worked as a geologist in a career that took him into the exotic and dangerous oilfields of Colombia and Venezuela. He has just finished his first adventure book, Drilling for Disaster in a Colombian Jungle based on some of those experiences and he has more books planned.
        Congratulations, Don!

Ending one career? Want to start a career as a writer? But ... what to write about?
        Our life experiences create a rich fabric of characters and relationships, problems and triumphs, all of which make marvelous backdrops for fiction.
        Translate your career experiences into your writing as a great jumping off place, just as Don McGee has done with his book!

Nonfiction book editing through Bristol Services

Nonfiction book editing through Bristol Services

Congratulations to James Kingneon Gu�wa for Signs of Art, the HARDCOVER EDITION of his collection of over 100 of his greatest American roadside paintings from 1986 to present. His photorealistic work is not only stunning but it stirs up memories of life in America during the 20th century through masterful paintings of the iconic neon signs on our roadways.

This exceptionally crafted book also reveals his story of struggle, success, and passion as an artist.

Check out his books by clicking here. Or click here to learn more about this artist:

EDITOR'S NOTE: It was a pleasure editing the text of this stunning book, chronicling his 20-year career in fine art.

What's next? James flexed his writing muscles with his first book of fiction, writing under the name of J. G. Cragg. Check out his "coming of age" story sure to touch a note of memory to all readers: ALLIGATOR EYES is on the market.

Write from your own background and you can find a rich source of experiences and details to inspire plots and characters as well as draw in readers! E-mail me to discuss your book ideas!

True stories of Tsunami Thailand

        Please visit the website for "Tsunami Stories Thailand" to read excerpts of these astounding stories. If you feel inclined to participate in helping these orphans, you will find details on how to purchase this memorable book at the website.

Editor's Comment:

Sometimes we take for granted the value that writing has for everyone involved: writer, reader, and special beneficiaries alike. One ongoing friendship with a writer/client I have been privileged to enjoy is with Bill O'Leary who lives in Phuket, Thailand. His own survival story in the Thailand tsunami is an amazing tale. Yet instead of focusing on his own story, he turned his talents to collecting, writing and publishing, at his own expense, the stories of other survivors with all proceeds going to help the orphans of that natural disaster.
From Bill O'Leary, from Thailand:
        "This story from the French man Patrice Fayet in the book "Tsunami Stories Thailand" was the most emotional for me to write. When I interviewed Patrice, I was very close to tears as he explained his phenomenal story.
        A few minutes after our meeting I drove up to Khao Lak ... suddenly and without warning, crossing the Sarasin Bridge, I was overcome with such a forceful emotion that I wept uncontrollably for the very first time since the wave hit. That day was mid September 2005 (nine months after the tsunami).
        I don't think I have ever wept as hard as I did on that drive. His story had broken through my walls of emotional protection. Finally, the truth had arrived. My losses and setbacks from the tsunami were insignificant compared to his. I was no longer a emotionally crippled zombie suffering from the famous PTSD. I was back... and living again... and able to compile this booklet for the orphans in Khao Lak."
--Bill O'Leary

Learn how to write memoirs

Efrain "Frank" Ruiz of El Paso, Texas, just published The Last Von Ritz, his first novel--a partially fictionalized account based on his family's multigenerational struggles and successes. Frank is the founder of Otoao Cigars Company Inc., an Internet-based, small cigar-making company. His first foray into fiction is based on historical facts of his own family tree, and it covers the Von Ritz family (which becomes the Ruiz family) from the 1400s to 1950s. This is a fascinating vision of a family heritage, from warriors of the Bavarian King and of the Pope, to wealthy plantation owners and merchants in Puerto Rico. Check out more about his book at Frank's Web site.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Writing family memoirs has its own special rewards--and challenges. By fictionalizing portions of his family's uncertain background, this author creates a rich fabric of family pride, lessons, and drama.

Jump right to my memoir editing services
to learn how to write your family history!

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