Frequently asked questions
... AKA help me write my life story
It’s a common catch cry: “I’ve started writing my life story but I need help to finish it.” No problem.
Stories to Keep is experienced in pulling together information from multiple sources. We can turn your incomplete memoirs and photographs into a book or article you can be proud of.
Prices vary depending on the completeness of your information and whether it typed or handwritten. Contact us to discuss your incomplete masterpiece.
Well, yes, it feels just like two people talking, but that is the skill of an experienced journalist.
Most people can tell their story through talking, but most would also say I’ll get around to writing it down “one day”. What they are really saying is “I need help to write my life story”.
We take the simple art of conversation, do the hard work for you, and turn it into your Story to Keep.
We are skilled at asking questions in the right way so that people can feel confident and relaxed, knowing their story is being told in their words with empathy.
Our preference is to conduct interviews face-to-face but realise that is not always possible. More recently with the emergence of COVID-19 we have begun using video conferences services (Zoom, Skype) more regularly to keep you and your loved ones safe. We are also highly experienced in phone interviews and this may suit some.
Everyone has a great story in them. We hear this often because it is true.
Sports stars and talent show winners in their 20s are writing biographies based on their one skill – their lives have only just begun. You have traversed decades, seen changes and experienced life in a way that is no longer possible in this world.
It might or might not make a movie or the front page of the New York Times, but to your friends and family your story is a treasure trove full of insights, anecdotes, and wisdom. It is part of their story too.
Everyone has a rich story in them, but they need help to bring it out and tell it.
Once you start talking about your life story you do begin to know how much you have lived.
Most people have filed away much of their story because they don’t need it day-to-day.
With a little prompting however we can uncover those golden nuggets of stories that make you who you are.
An example might be a letter my grandfather wrote to my grandmother when my mum was born.
It talks about how happy he was, because my mother replaced the stillborn baby before her. He also talks about his plan to get out of work early and take his bike to see her at the hospital.
Not only does this describe my grandfather, but it speaks to Australia’s working history. Now dads take two weeks off for the arrival of a baby and attend the birth.
These kinds of snippets are historical and important because they are our history and they are unknown unless we document them.
They influence our personality. They are us.
You might not think you have a novel in you, but you certainly have an article or five for your family to enjoy.
The interviews take between two and four hours. This can be done over one or two appointments. We find most people once they get started, they enjoy themselves so much that the time flies.
Got a deadline, a pressing birthday or milestone? Here are the indicative times for how long each project takes. But talk to us, we may be able to push it through depending on workflow.
All estimates are from the date of the first interview and depend on changes to the first and final draft of the story, book or video.
Audio Interview package – three-day turnaround from the interview time
Feature Article package – 2 weeks for your first draft, ETA 4-6 weeks on final product.
Book and interview package – 3 weeks for your first draft month, ETA on final product 6-7 weeks.
Book, movie and interview package – 4 weeks for your first draft of the story and video, ETA on delivery 8 weeks.
As experienced journalists, we find that once you start talking about your life and memories, the time flies. You feel invigorated by it.
Partly, that is because of the oxytocin that is released when you tell a story. That’s the relationship hormone and neurotransmitter associated with the feelings of trust, empathy and relationship-building.
Family members frequently say “you won’t get an hour” from their mother or father, because they will get tired. What we find though is that they are happy to “chat” for hours about their life, their parents, spouse, children and work.
Talking about your whole life is quite different from talking about daily routine, health and current events.
Stories to Keep understands you might not be able to tell your whole story in one sitting. No problem. We can break it up into two or even four blocks. This may increase the time it takes to write the story depending on your availability.
We recommend going until the subject has had enough, and then returning when convenient.
Have you ever written a speech for a wedding or another event? You will know that writing it can take hours. Delivering it takes about 10 minutes.
Now imagine it wasn’t a short speech, but something that encapsulated your whole life, your essence, who you are, your history and memories. That is hours of work.
The prospect is daunting. This is why most people simply never get around to telling their story. Sometimes they are too late .
We often hear people want to write their life story “one day,” but they don’t do it because it is a big commitment of time.
With Stories to Keep we take all the hard work out of writing your memoirs. We hear all the time the words “can you help me write my life story”?
While our audio interview is set at a low price, but writing and crafting words is long and hard work. We then must create layout and adjust picture quality to make it look great. All that takes time that you don’t need to worry about.
Our video work also involves more staff, so naturally, it costs more.
Our products are not one-size-fit-all but one-size-only-fits-you.
Our large format book is a perfect coffee table book.
Video is great for hearing a person’s voice tell their story, but we are mindful there are many wedding videos that remain unwatched in a cupboard.
If you still feel you “just want the video” contact us to discuss the options to suit you and your family.
Weddings and engagements are a beautiful period in anyone’s life. All talk of the future and why they love each other so. Perhaps only matched by the imminent arrival of your first born.
Stories to Keep can interview both the bride and groom to be, talk to them about how they met, what they love about each other, how they knew that this person was their one, and talk about their future dreams.
The couple can be interviewed together but Stories to Keep believes you may get even more heartfelt and delightfully surprising answers when the couple are not face to face.
We believe this kind of article could capture the bloom of a couple’s love as they embark on the next exciting phase together.
A time capsule keepsake for the wall.
Certainly. There is little more heart-warming than a “Two of Us” article talking about how a couple met, what they were like before, the influences on how they live their lives together, the fun and sad times and how they have shaped them. To know all that and remain together is special and our reporters are experienced in drawing out that story.
Parents would be interviewed together and separately to create a full picture of their relationship to share with each other and all the family.
The total interview time would be split between the couple.
Yes, under the masthead of Stories to Keep we can write short (500-700 word) features for a significant sports person. It works well as a framed poster.
Business stories are often some of the best to write, full of heartache, triumph, history, community involvement and ultimately success. Stories to Keep writes front page newspaper articles and newspaper style books about businesses. We can also create video as part of print package, which can be tailored to meet your business needs.
As a journalist for 30 years, Deborah Gough has always stayed true to the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance code of ethics. Upon leaving journalism, Deborah sought a code that would guide Stories to Keep’s work and has since joined Life Stories Australia. LSA represents professional life storytellers. She remains a member of the MEAA in its Freelance Pro section.
It is a longer process but contact us about your idea and we will see how we can help.
Try us. Our journalists have written about most topics and are highly adaptable.
A memory book of a deceased family members, a great story at your school, tributes to an important person whatever you need this format can be adapted to suit. Contact us to talk about your project.
No, you don’t. It is your story, we are helping you write your life story, not telling you what to put in it.
What we will say though is that we tell stories to create a connection. If you are thinking about telling your story you want to connect with your family and friends.
Some things are hard to say to close family and friends, some events hard to describe for fear causing a loved one to cry.
Stories to Keep can help you express just the right sentiments to loved ones.
We find through storytelling you can build bridges or strengthen already strong relationships in a lasting way.
But, in the end, it is your story, and you tell it your way.