Ours is a welcoming and generous engagement that builds slowly as any good relationship should. We begin by sitting with you and getting to know you. We naturally become interested in you, your history, the stories that define you.
At first you will be given free rein to wander through your memories in whatever way they arise. Should you need prompting, we will dip into our toolbox of questions to help you along. In time we will key in on major themes, important life periods, significant relationships and events that comprise the meaning of your life. We will take detailed notes and record our conversations for backup.
Within a few weeks we will reflect your story back to you with a preliminary chapter from your book. If you are satisfied with the style we will continue in that vein. If you are not happy we will refine the approach until it meets your satisfaction. Along the way we will continue to reflect your story back to you with preliminary chapters.
Once the interviewing is done we will compose the complete manuscript, filling in earlier chapters with new information. Experience has taught us that in relaying one’s story it does not come out in a linear narrative. Our primary job is to translate our conversations into a strong narrative, complete with plot, theme, character, setting, dialogue, symbol and metaphor—all the elements of literature.
You will be given the final manuscript and the time to review it in detail, perhaps have a spouse, child or trusted friend read it as well. We will revise the manuscript based on your responses, then give you another read on the revised book. Once you are completely satisfied we will send the manuscript to our professional designers who will create a cover and lay out the book in an artistic fashion. The book will include a healthy number of photographs chosen by you and dispersed throughout and in a photo section at the book’s center.
You will be given a proof of the final book for review and editing. Once you have signed off on the proof the book will go to press. You will be able to choose hardbound or soft cover, or a combination of the two. The entire process, from the first interview to the printed book, will take between ten and fourteen months.
The cost of a biography or memoir from The Written Life can range from $10,000 to $75,000. It all depends on the depth to which you want to go in telling your life story. We will work with you to develop a budget that fits with your personal wishes.