Traditional Memoirs / Life Stories

Memoirs — also known as personal histories or life stories — are the most popular and versatile products that we offer. 

They generally take two broad forms.

A complete life story, or autobiography, spans a person’s life, usually in a chronological format. Memoirs — enormously popular nowadays — take a slice-of-life approach, dealing with certain events or a specific era of the narrator’s life. Either format can run from several dozen to a few hundred pages and be supplemented by photos and other memorabilia. That said, the terms are often used interchangeably.

Life stories are characterized not just by the recounting of dry facts that make up a life, but rather by the details, stories, anecdotes, struggles, joys, thoughts, reflections, and humour that give life to that life — as recalled by the narrator. It’s a genre with few rules, and the tone is often almost conversational.

For some, preserving their life’s stories is a chance to reminisce and recount anecdotes and family stories, old and new. Others see it as a legacy project for their family and want to include as much family history as they can. It is their gift to the future.

Some look forward to reflecting on the events of their lives — trying to figure it all out, make some sense of it, and maybe pass on some lessons. And others see it as a chance to expound on their personal or political passions.

Most life stories have a bit of everything, and if they’re well told and come from the heart, they exude life and make for a compelling read.

“About thirty years ago I wrote my memoirs of growing up in Russia. . . . A year or so ago my family urged me to make them into a book. After meeting Philip, I decided to hire him to organize my manuscript, add some of my father’s writings, write a brief article on Mennonite history, and edit everything. He did a wonderful job and I am very happy with the book.

— Susanne Willms Thielman, author

The process of committing your story to paper can be empowering and rewarding, partly because you, the narrator, get to make the rules.

You’re in charge. This is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to tell it your way — your take on your life. You take the project where you think it should go. You determine your goals, who your audience is, what you want to say, how you want to say it, and what you should include and leave out. You have the final say.

Of course, we’re beside you every step of the way. Whether you want us to organize the entire project or just need help in one or two areas, we can help you tell and preserve your story.

Many narrators ask us to facilitate the entire project. They just want to talk — concentrate on telling their story and not be bothered with all the details. We love taking care of the details and doing everything necessary to make it easy for you to tell your story. 

Some narrators need help with a particular part of the process. Perhaps they have already written their story and want a manuscript evaluation or need an editor. Or they want help designing and printing the book. Or they simply need a coach — someone to offer advice, encouragement, support, feedback, and a listening ear.

Whatever assistance you need, we can probably provide it. We’re sensitive, patient, flexible, and professional, and we’ll ensure that the finished product clearly reflects your “voice” and personality. 

If you would like to find out more, browse the website and look at some of our clients’ books in our Portfolio. Then give me a call toll-free at 1.800.864.9152 or email me. I would enjoy discussing your ideas in a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

Philip Sherwood
Owner, lifewriters.ca

 

“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage — to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.” 

– Alex Haley

 

lifewriters.ca serves clients in the greater Vancouver area and British Columbia and across Canada.

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