The Process

Meghan Vigeant listens to a client tell a story about his photo of four generations.  Photo by Marti Stone

Meghan Vigeant listens to a client tell a story about his photo of four generations. 

Photo by Marti Stone

Let's Talk

The first step is to have a conversation by phone or in person. We'll talk about your vision for the project. I'll tell you what it is like to work with me and answer your questions. 

What is your story about?

You have a story, a unique perspective on history. You can choose to tell stories from a key time period in your life such as your years in the military or Peace Corps, or tell it all in an autobiography. Is there a family member with lots of stories or knowledge of your family history who you'd like to record? Maybe someone special has passed away and you'd like to do a tribute story. Or perhaps there is a special occasion to celebrate such as a birth, wedding, anniversary or reunion. You decide what to focus on and I’ll help make it happen. 

Audio or Book

How do you want to preserve your story? Are you interested in recording someone else's story, such as a parent or grandparent? You might appreciate having a sound recording of their voice. The voice is a powerful container for someone's personality and character. Not only will you have their stories, you can capture the sound of their unique laugh or the way they always tell that story about the time when....(you know, THAT story). Audio is also a great choice for the budget minded, or if you want to make a book later down the road. 

Maybe you'd like to have your stories preserved in a beautiful book illustrated with photos from your family albums. You might wish to add a family tree or letters. There are many options. I am happy to talk with you about how to make your vision for your book a reality. 

Recorded Conversation (i.e. interview)

It’s just so powerful to feel heard.
— Alton Lane

Personal history interviews are more like a conversation. My job is to listen and ask a question here or there, not grill you with hardline questioning. This is my favorite part of the process because I truly enjoy hearing others' stories. Don't worry if you can't remember everything - the stories are more important than dates and names. Once you get into it I bet you'll be surprised by how much you really do remember. I'll have a microphone on the table to capture a professional quality recording of our conversation. Interviews typically last two hours. Depending on how many stories you'd like to preserve we might meet for one to ten interviews. 

Editing

I put a lot of love into turning a long and winding interview into a well-crafted narrative that is enjoyable to listen to or read. If you've decided on audio, I'll lightly edit the recording and make chapter tracks. If you want a book, the recording is first transcribed into text, and then edited for narrative flow. I pay close attention to make sure the manuscript retains your authentic voice. This is your story and these are your words. You'll have a chance to review the manuscript and make adjustments.

Production

USB case

AUDIO: The audio tracks are transferred to an archival CD or thumb drive (aka, flash drive, USB stick). Your audio memoir comes in a heirloom case made of linen with an image of your choice on the cover. The special container conveys that there is an important family treasure tucked inside the box, not simply another digital device that might get tossed into the electronics bin in storage.

Look inside sample books

Look inside sample books

BOOK: After you have a manuscript you are happy with, I can add photos from your personal collection. I'll manage the book production process of copyediting, book design, printing and binding. You decide how many copies of the book you want, and if you'd like leather bound, hardcover, or paperback, color or black and white. The finished book will delight your family and be cherished for generations.

Still wondering what is a Personal Historian and how can one help me? Check out this video.


Are you ready for Step 1? Not sure if audio or a book is best for you? Let's Talk! I offer a free 30-minute consultation.