Welcome to Anatomy of a Personal History Book. From our conversations to record your stories to the end result of you holding a beautiful custom book in your hands, how does it all happen? Let’s find out!
Soon after we finish our Interview Sessions, I will listen to the recordings and carefully transcribe your stories. Once I have a complete transcript, the story structure begins.
I organize your stories into chapters or themes – childhood, education, career, reflections, etc. This first step is a bit like gathering together the pieces of a puzzle. Just like you might put all the edge pieces in a pile and all the blue pieces in a pile, I find all the conversations about childhood and put them in a file, all the conversations about career and put them in a file. None of us tell stories in a perfectly linear fashion, and that’s okay – it’s my job to listen to your interview as a whole and to pull together the various pieces into an organized and coherent narrative.
Of course not all stories fit neatly into chapters, but that doesn’t mean we want to lose them. Those can often be real gems – the side conversations that reveal a fascinating fact about your aunt Helen, or a quick mention of your favorite toy as a child. Those go into a file of “pull-quotes” and I will integrate those treasures in to the book.
I will do a minimal amount of editing at this point as well. I may simply trim a few of the “ums” and errs,” without compromising your unique patterns of speech. Occasionally I will cut a few lines of the interview if they are irrelevant to the topic, like when we digressed about the weather, or if you have told me you are concerned about privacy issues, like when you let it slip that you felt Aunt Helen could lose a few pounds.
I use a professional writing software called Scrivener to organize your story. Scrivener is a powerful tool that allows me to create the chapters of your book, organize and edit, and coordinate your photos and other artwork that will be included in your book.
Story Structure is one of my favorite parts of the process – it’s when I get to see everything come together, and I get excited thinking about how wonderful your book is going to look!
Once I have created your Story, it’s on to the Design, so stay tuned!