“just what exactly is it that you do?” part 3: shaping the story.

In the weeks following an interview session, I work on taking your words from a taped conversation to a story that echoes the rhythm of your speech and follows a chronological narrative.

The first step is to transcribe the interview. I listen carefully to our conversation using specialized transcription software that slows down our speech (and sounds quite funny!), so I can I type out each word, verbatim. This is by far the most labor-intensive part of the book-making process.

Once I complete transcription, I can begin editing and organizing the transcript. Editing is done minimally – I want to maintain your words as much as possible, only editing where it helps with story flow. I might edit out a string of “umms” that just slows down the story, but I would most likely keep in a curse word, because that’s just how you express yourself!

Organizing is done to shape the narrative, usually in a chronological manner. I will organize the transcript into sections – essentially chapters – like “childhood” and “your engagement” and ”parenthood,” etc.

I also make decisions about what to do with parts of our conversation that may not fit neatly into a section, but are still important to your story. Because let’s face it, not everything in our life fits neatly into a category! I may create a “pullout” or highlighted section in between two chapters of your book, so that we don’t lose a gem of a tale.

The work of editing and organizing your story flows easily into the design and layout of your book, the final stage of the process…