Storyphile | Your life. Your story. For the people you love.

4C. Story Development: Shaping the Manuscript for a Book

Recorded interviews and transcripts are a great way to capture and preserve the milestones and events of your life. They provide a straightforward record that flows more or less chronologically from your birth to childhood, adolescence, careers and perhaps even marriage or kids.

You may decide that this type of record is all you need. Or you may wish to shape your reminiscences into a fully developed story that is more than a series of situations and events.

Behind each milestone in your life is a backdrop painted with adventure, pathos, laughter, disappointment, wonder, celebration, grief and joy. Storyphile can take your transcribed interviews and shape them into a compelling, action-driven narrative. We can help you develop a page-turning tale that can amuse, entertain, inspire or even teach.

Storyphile draws on the following sources to develop your story:

  • approved transcripts of your recorded interviews
  • follow-up phone interviews to flesh out your story details
  • background research to bring your stories to life and establish them within a social and historical context (We do this as needed.)
  • your diaries, notes and personal documents (Examples include homestead records, birth and marriage certificates, school report cards and so on.)
  • your photo collections and memorabilia

Storyphile works with you to select family photos and documents that bring your story to life. We arrange for scans or reproductions, and we help you develop entertaining, informative captions. This helps to create an accurate historical record of the people, places and events that shaped your life.

When your project is complete, you will have a flowing, polished manuscript that is ready for production as a book or an ebook.

Our approach is different

Some personal historians take interview transcripts, edit them to remove stumbles and repetition, add a few photographs and call it a book.

Storyphile takes a different approach. We don’t just condense and package.

  • As professional writers and editors, we shape your words into a captivating story that captures your character and personality.
  • We pinpoint the most meaningful and memorable moments of your life—the moments that defined your plans, your commitments, your beliefs, your hopes, your dreams.
  • We dig beneath the surface to find the heart of your story. That means sifting through the details to find the unifying thread of experience that shaped you into the person you are.
  • We identify key themes and create a seamless structure—adding useful background and historical details as needed.
  • We don’t just report events; we draw out the essence of what they meant to you. We give readers insight into what you learned and how you felt.
  • We tell your story in your own words—with drama, humour and compassion.
  • We edit, polish and rewrite to turn the spoken word into readable prose, but we keep your voice intact. We preserve your distinctive expressions, vocabulary and speech patterns.
  • We create a flowing narrative that capture your readers’ interest and makes them want to revisit your story again and again.
  • We turn your life story into a written legacy that you and your family will cherish now and for generations to come.

Background research

The people who read or listen to your story may not be familiar with what you’re talking about.

For example, if you grew up on a prairie farm in the 1940s, you probably know what page wire is. Your grandchildren may not. They may never have seen a trolley bus, a marcel iron, a butter churn or even a rotary-dial telephone. They may have no idea what rationing is, or what it was like to grow up during a world war.

Your world has changed. Your manuscript may need to outline the social and historical context for your story and for the era you’re discussing.

Storyphile will conduct whatever research might be needed and incorporate it into your story manuscript. We’ll also incorporate pertinent information from any diaries, notes or other documents you’d like to use.