Ghostwriting a Powerful Memoir

This eye-opening memoir from a Vietnam POW was written by Robert Wideman, Cara Lopez Lee and Mark Graham Communications

A memoir can be as powerful and moving as any work of non-fiction and more compelling than any novel. There is nothing like a true story, and it is very likely that you have an event or series of events in your life that have the potential to entertain and exhilarate readers of all ages.

At Mark Graham Communications, we have helped hundreds of people bring their memoirs to life, and there are several rules that we always share with our clients and make absolutely certain are part of their books.

First. It is important that you know the difference between a memoir and a biography. A biography covers a person’s life from beginning to end. A memoir narrows the focus on to a snapshot, if you will, from your life. This event, or events, may cover a month, a year, or five years, but there is generally one theme that carries the story. Think of it like this: if you were taking six months to tour the European continent, your memoir would focus on the most exciting, compelling week.

Second. Remember that a memoir is not necessarily shorter than a biography, so that means that the event or events that drive your story can be fully expanded, with details and emotions that explore people, places, and things in depth. The idea is to drop your reader right into the scenes from your story and fully expose them to the experience. As ghostwriters, we call this “showing” your story, rather than “telling” your story.

Third. A memoir, like a biography, is about true events. At Mark Graham Communications, we emphasize the highest level of honesty in telling your story. There is not a need to embellish what is already fascinating to the reader. Be truthful on all levels. Even when you are exploring the most difficult situations, let the reader in. This is your story. Tell it as you lived it.

Fourth. Never, ever fear the emotional component of your wonderful story. Emotion is what makes the people in your memoir real; it is what your reader wants experience. Emotion provides your reader with the kind of nitty-gritty they can sink their teeth into; you want the reader to be invested in the outcome of your story, and being honest about the emotions your journey evoked, is priceless.

Lastly: When you are choosing a ghostwriter, find someone you trust, and find someone who trusts you. That’s what makes a winning collaboration.