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Tell Your Story

How to Tell the Story?

Everybody has a story to tell about their life since they were born.
Everyone’s interesting. Some underestimate what’s remarkable about their story.

Not everybody knows how to tell a story

Most people, even educated people, don’t know how to tell a story. That’s because it’s difficult to render a story readable. What do you need to look for to write a good story?

Find the emotive moments

Emotions make things memorable. Think of a moment that lead to an exceptional, rather than simply intense, emotion. It might involve surprise, awkwardness, fear, extreme satisfaction, anger or joy.

Get a collection of these moments and assemble them in a way that fits
the context.

A note on Dementia

If the person whose story you are wanting to capture has Dementia, then you might find it helpful to review the advice from Alzheimer’s Australia on Reminiscence; see more at fightdementia.org.au.

memory

A Coffee Table Book

For the reader, this is easy to pick up and put down. Our media and print team can help you create a coffee table book.

What might you include?

Start with photos of moments in someone’s life. Ideally, include brief explanations about the context of the photo and a list of the people in a given photo, perhaps indexed in the back of the book. Write a brief written biography that might fit on one page and include a person’s common phrases throughout the book. Also consider including photos of memorabilia and a family tree.

Sharing Someone's Story Online

If the story you’re wanting to tell is of someone who has passed away, a great place to start is the innovative www.lifesharer.com web site.

To setup a “Lifeshare”, all you need to do is to enter basic details, including the person’s first and last names and places of birth and death. An automated storytelling tool then populates a life story, drawing from a database of historical facts. When shared with friends on Facebook and elsewhere online, it can inspire others to share more personal anecdotes.

How does it work?

By way of example, below is an excerpt of an automated story generated for Sir Donald Bradman’s life, using Lifesharer.

Don Bradman was born in Cootamundra, New South Wales, Australia on the 27th of August 1908. The first boys in Australia would participate in the scouting movement, within a year of scouting having started in England. The Coat of Arms of Australia would be granted Royal Assent and the capital of Australia would be chosen, settling a feud between rivals Melbourne and Sydney. Don was all but a teenager as cartoon character Ginger Meggs would make his first appearance in a Sunday Sun comic strip “Us Fellers” drawn by cartoonist Jimmy Bancks. Walter Burley Griffin was also removed as director of construction for Canberra after disagreements over his supervisory role.

Video History

Should it be edited or raw footage? Producing an edited video can be both an expensive and time-consuming exercise. However, an edited version might be more interesting to watch. Leaving a video running allows you to capture a person’s natural manner more easily. Either way, getting a professional to assist will ensure that the sound and vision that you capture are optimal.

Self-publishing

If this is what you want to do, brace yourself! This method requires a lot of time and money.

Time

The time is not simply that spent on research. Once published, you really need to do a lot of public relations and marketing to achieve sales. This can involve: having a stand on occasion outside bookshops; a web site; speaking on local radio; and having articles printed in the newspaper.

Money

One successful self-publisher has sold 1,000 printed books, in addition to Kindle sales. He has books in bookshops across 5 Australian states. After more than 5 years since the project started, did he expect to get his money back. By comparison, most other self-publishers only sell about 300 books.

Tips

There are some things you can do before you begin. See if you can get the advice of several established biographers. Do a course on self-publishing, noting that a memoir is more complex than other self-publishing genres.

When writing the story, there are simple things you can do to make it more readable. For one, weave fiction into the story to embellish the facts and make it more interesting. Also, talk about what was happening in the context of the time, such as who the Prime Minister was. Writing in the present tense also helps make the events seem more real.

Start selling through small and independent bookshops, being sure to support them with public relations and marketing.

What next?

Choose a method for telling a life story and go for it!