Another way of asking this question is: How long does a full-length memoir take and what is involved?
There are many factors to determine how long the memoir writing and editing will take: so Susan has broken the process down into steps.
- number of preliminary interviews, taped and transcribed and research needed to get the raw material (This is be ongoing, also)
- Reading the transcripts of interviews and putting the information into files according to categories
- time to develop a rough structure that will best tell your story
- developing a rough outline
- more interviews (on-going)
- refining the outline
- Writing the chapters, one at a time and sent to client for approval and input
- Re-writing chapters
- Rough editing
- Breaking down the scenes and putting on 3 x 5 cards
- Rearranging the scenes to create greatest impact (story is not necessarily linear)
- Editing: pass one for story momentum and impact
- Editing: pass two for logic, dialogue
- Editing: pass three to cut the fat, tighten, turning passive verbs into action verbs where possible
- Editing: other passes as needed
- Manuscript sent to proof reader
- Choosing photos and graphics to enhance the book
- Manuscript sent to cover artist and typesetting if desired
- Manuscript sent to printer and to Create Space (Amazon).
Other factors that determine how long the book process will take:
- how much time the client can put in with Susan,
- whether or not that time is interrupted by vacations, etc.
- your response time to Susan’s deliverables,
- how long it takes to find the structure, to write the outline, write the chapters and how much editing is needed.
Most books have taken Susan and her client a year or a year and a half from first interview to a printed copy. But then, most clients have had jobs, and/or family commitments and so on. Ideally, clients can put in intensive time at certain times of the book writing process. The above is a thorough look at the steps needed to create a full-length book. Even though a full length memoir is non-fiction, Susan uses fictional techniques to enhance the story making your experience an immersion, not only in the layers of your life, but also into the world of creative non-fiction, one of the fastest growing genres. Susan has written enhanced company histories and shorter memoirs that don’t require all of the above steps but sometimes add the steps dictated by more of a photojournalistic book, or if an audio book is needed.