What Makes a Great Biography or Memoir?

#5 Samaritan Court

This moving and powerful biography is a collaboration between Maria Mai-Thuy Swenka and Mark Graham Communications.

First things first, please understand that a biography and a memoir are NOT the same thing.  A biography is about your life, more or less from beginning to end.  A memoir is a snapshot from a particular time in your life.  A biography allows you to explore all aspects of your life, while a memoir gives the reader a picture of who you are based upon a finite timeframe.  Both are very effective, and we at Mark Graham Communications have written many successful and well-received books in both genres.

Remember that both a memoir and biography weave other people into your story, and the reader wants to know how these people influenced your life. Family, friends, associates.

Enemies, adversaries, competitors.

Always be forthright and honest with your readers. The truth is what they are looking for. You can be colorful and dynamic, funny and poetic, longwinded or brief as long as you tell the truth. Yes, you are looking at your story through your eyes, but that does not give you license for bending the truth. Your story is unique; let that be enough.

When we ghostwrite a biography or memoir at Mark Graham Communications, we always drop the reader right into the scenes from your story.  We always want them to be right there with you. We always want all five senses to be stimulated.

It’s like writing the best fiction, only you are the main character. The drama and the jeopardy that we see in good fiction are also evident in the best non-fiction works. Readers want to hear dialogue. That want to know what was said and how the characters in your story reacted. If there is humor, they want to laugh. If there is sorrow, they want to cry.  As we say at Mark Graham Communications, show the reader, don’t tell the reader.

Tap into the emotion of your story. Hit the reader over the head with your journey, both the pain and suffering, but also the successes and the triumph.  Don’t say it, show it.

A biography or memoir is real life. That is what readers want.  Your story is your story, and no one else can tell it like you can.