Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Every ordinary life story is extraordinary!

Writing in Another Person’s Voice

It’s not fair to write a memoir in a deceased person’s voice without permission.
Writing in Another Person’s Voice
It’s easy to become part of interesting discussions on social networking sites and, of course, we always invite you to ask questions or contribute thoughts on our WriteMyMemoirs page on Facebook. Over on LinkedIn recently, on a page called “Women’s Memoirs,??? a member asked for advice about writing a memoir for her deceased brother. She wanted to write it in his voice and wondered how to go about doing that.
I understand the desire to do this for someone you’ve lost, but ultimately I don’t believe it’s fair unless it was discussed at length before the person’s death. It’s one thing to be the ghostwriter—please forgive the apt term in this case—when all you’re doing is putting down on paper what the person had intended to write himself if he hadn’t run out of time or been too weak or whatever kept him from completing his memoir. But it’s another thing to take it upon yourself to write in his voice just because you think he might have liked that or for your own satisfaction.
The special nature of a memoir is that it’s so much a piece of us. We each have a voice. When that voice is silenced, I don’t believe anyone else has a right to assume it. If you want to do that, then you should call your book “fiction??? or “fictionalized history.??? Otherwise, my advice to that man’s sister is to focus her own memoir on her memories of her brother. That’s fair.

It’s easy to become part of interesting discussions on social networking sites and, of course, we always invite you to ask questions or contribute thoughts on our WriteMyMemoirs page on Facebook. Over on LinkedIn recently, on a page called “Women’s Memoirs,??? a member asked for advice about writing a memoir for her deceased brother. She wanted to write it in his voice and wondered how to go about doing that.

I understand the desire to do this for someone you’ve lost, but ultimately I don’t believe it’s fair unless it was discussed at length before the person’s death. It’s one thing to be the ghostwriter—please forgive the apt term in this case—when all you’re doing is putting down on paper what the person had intended to write himself if he hadn’t run out of time or been too weak or whatever kept him from completing his memoir. But it’s another thing to take it upon yourself to write in his voice just because you think he might have liked that or for your own satisfaction.

The special nature of a memoir is that it’s so much a piece of us. We each have a voice. When that voice is silenced, I don’t believe anyone else has a right to assume it. If you want to do that, then you should call your book “fiction??? or “fictionalized history.??? Otherwise, my advice to that man’s sister is to focus her own memoir on her memories of her brother. That’s fair.

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Then just set up a chapter and start writing your memoir. Don’t worry about rules. There are no rules to writing your memoir; there are only trends. These trends are based on techniques and features identified in current top-selling memoirs. At best, they’re the flavor of the month. If you’re capturing your life in print for your family, for your own gratification or to inspire readers, rather than aiming to set off Hollywood screenplay bidding wars, these trends don’t even apply to you. You’ll write the memoir that suits you best, and it will be timeless, not trend-driven.There are no rules, but there are four steps:

1. Theme/framework
2. Writing
3. Editing/polishing
4. Self-publishing

You’ve researched this, too, and you’ve been shocked at the price for getting help with any one of those steps, much less all four. That’s because most memoir sites promise to commercialize your work. They’ll follow a formula based on current memoir trends, because they want to convince you that they can turn your memoir into a best-seller. These sites overwhelm you with unnecessary information not to help you, the memoir author, but to address Search Engine Optimization (SEO) algorithms so they can sell more.

That’s not what we do at Write My Memoirs. Our small community of coaches, writers and editors are every bit as skilled as any you’ll find, and we charge appropriately for their expertise and the time they’ll spend helping you craft a compelling, enjoyable read. But you won’t pay an upcharge for other websites’ commercialization, the marketing that follows, and the pages of intimidating “advice.” You can sell your book if you like—we have ISBNs available for you—but our organic process of capturing your story takes a noncommercial path.

If you want help with any or all of the four steps above, choose from our services or save money by selecting one of our packages. If you’d like to talk about what’s right for you, schedule a call. One year from now, you can be holding your published memoir in your hand. And at that point, it will be a big deal!