Autobiographies have long served as powerful tools for individuals to share their life stories, triumphs, and challenges. In recent times, autobiographies penned by influential women have captured readers’ attention, providing a unique glimpse into the lives of these remarkable women. In celebration of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we revisited the works of some of the world’s most inspiring women.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
The former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, takes readers on an intimate journey through her life in “Becoming.” From her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her experiences in the White House, Obama shares her personal growth, struggles, and the profound impact of public service, whilst also discussing topics such as race, identity, and the vital role of education.
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
In her autobiography, “I Am Malala”, Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai recounts her courageous fight for girls’ education in Pakistan and surviving a Taliban assassination attempt. This powerful narrative explores the resilience of a young girl who defied odds and became a global symbol of activism. Malala’s dedication to education in the face of oppressive forces becomes the central theme, as the autobiography provides a harrowing account of the Taliban’s attempt to silence her advocacy by targeting her in a brutal assassination attempt. Malala’s survival is not just a personal triumph but a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the courage to stand against oppression.
Love, Pamela by Pamela Anderson
In Pamela Anderson’s captivating “Love, Pamela”, readers are taken on a journey from her upbringing on Vancouver Island, where she carved a world of nature and imagination amidst the challenges of her young parents, to the glitzy heights of Hollywood fame. Anderson’s iconic blonde bombshell image in the 1990s made her Playboy’s favorite cover girl, embodying Hollywood glamour and sensuality. Yet, behind the scenes, the book unfolds into a poignant exploration of loss of control over one’s life when fame distorts the true self. From magazine covers to the Playboy Mansion and the arms of rockstars, Anderson faced the intense scrutiny of the paparazzi, losing grip on her own narrative. However, fueled by grace, love for art, literature, and a deep commitment to her children and causes close to her heart, Pamela Anderson reclaims her story – navigating the complexities of fame with resilience and a renewed sense of freedom.
The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish
In her uproariously candid memoir, “The Last Black Unicorn,” Tiffany Haddish invites readers into the unfiltered chapters of her life. From a challenging childhood marked by poverty, foster care, and family struggles, Haddish emerges as a resilient force, using humour as her armor against life’s hardships. The narrative doesn’t shy away from the tough moments, addressing both the highs of her comedy career and the lows that preceded her breakthrough. Throughout the book, Haddish shares her experiences growing up as a Black woman in South Central Los Angeles, addressing the challenges and prejudices she faced, as well as how her background and ethnicity shaped her journey, offering readers a firsthand account of the complexities and unique perspectives that come with being a Black woman in the entertainment industry.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Comedic genius Tina Fey invites readers into her world of laughter and wit in “Bossypants.” Through a collection of humorous anecdotes and insightful reflections, Fey shares her journey from the improv stages of Chicago to the iconic writer’s room at Saturday Night Live. In between the laughs, Fey reflects on the challenges faced by women in comedy, breaking down stereotypes and proving that humour knows no gender boundaries. Through her narrative, Tina Fey paves the way for aspiring female comedians, showing that success in the industry is not only attainable but thoroughly deserved. Tina Fey effortlessly dissects the intricacies of navigating the fiercely competitive world of comedy, offering a unique and often hilarious perspective on being a woman in the industry.
Whether it’s for personal reflection or to share with loved ones, at My Story Told, we believe that autobiographies have the power to champion narratives. Tell your own remarkable story today.
Books are a powerful tool for individuals to share their life stories, triumphs, and struggles. In recent years, several compelling autobiographies, memoirs and biographies have made their way from the pages of books to the big screen. Here are the well-crafted film adaptations that have stuck with us:
‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ by Chris Gardner
Chris Gardner’s inspiring journey from homelessness to a successful career on Wall Street is chronicled in his autobiography, ‘The Pursuit of Happyness.’ Will Smith brought Gardner’s story to life in the 2006 film adaptation. The recipient of critical acclaim and both academy award and golden globe nominations, The Pursuit of Happyness.’ captures the emotional rollercoaster of Gardner’s life, emphasizing the power of determination and resilience in the face of adversity.
‘A Beautiful Mind’ by Sylvia Nasar
Sylvia Nasar’s biography of Nobel laureate John Nash, ‘A Beautiful Mind,’ delves into the mathematician’s struggles with mental illness. The 2001 film adaptation, starring Russell Crowe as Nash, skillfully portrays the complexity of his mind and the impact of mental health on his personal and professional life. The film received critical acclaim for its sensitive depiction of Nash’s journey.
‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’ by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, ‘Wild,’ recounts her solo journey of self-discovery and healing as she hikes over a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Reese Witherspoon stars in the 2014 film adaptation, capturing the raw emotion and challenges of Strayed’s trek. The film beautifully translates the physical and emotional journey of the author onto the cinematic canvas. Witherspoon’s portrayal earned her critical acclaim, culminating in a well-deserved Academy Award nomination and a win for Best Actress at the 2015 Oscars.
‘Malcolm X’ by Malcolm X and Alex Haley
The autobiography of Malcolm X, co-written with Alex Haley, is a powerful narrative that explores Malcolm’s transformation from a street hustler to a prominent civil rights leader. Spike Lee directed the 1992 film adaptation, simply titled ‘Malcolm X,’ with Denzel Washington delivering a powerful performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination for best actor. Beyond the accolades, ‘Malcolm X’ remains a potent cinematic portrayal of a man who challenged societal norms and left an indelible mark on the struggle for civil rights in America.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ based on “The Wolf of Wall Street” by Jordan Belfort:
Jordan Belfort’s memoir, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ provided the source material for the 2013 film directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film delves into the excessive and morally questionable world of finance, portraying Belfort’s rise and fall. Despite its controversial nature, the film received critical acclaim for its bold storytelling, Martin Scorsese’s direction, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s dynamic performance, earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. The movie was also nominated for five Academy Awards and further solidified its place as a memorable exploration of greed and excess in the financial world.
But you don’t need to create a Hollywood blockbuster, every person’s story is worth telling. At My Story Told, we are dedicated to turning personal narratives into lasting legacies through our autobiography writing services. Your story matters, and we are here to help you share it.
Over the last couple of years, the literary landscape has seen the arrival of outstanding autobiographies from brilliant minds and compelling individuals, inviting readers into the lives of their icons through their own words and perspective – something that is often lost in this digital age. This month’s biography of the month offers authenticity effortlessly, even six years after its initial release, displaying how timeless a well-crafted autobiography can be.
In time for celebrating her 60th birthday, our pick for the biography of the month is Michelle Obama’s international best-seller, ‘Becoming’.
Michelle Obama’s autobiography has not only captured the hearts of millions but has also become a cultural phenomenon. Released in 2018, this best-selling book takes readers on a compelling and intimate journey through the life of the former First Lady of the United States.
Written by a former first lady, you may think that ‘Becoming’ is a political book, when in reality it is much more than that. ‘Becoming’ is a personal narrative that delves into Michelle Obama’s upbringing, her experiences, and the challenges she faced while navigating her role as the First Lady. The book allows readers a rare glimpse into the private life of one of the most influential women of our time.
One of the most profound elements that sets ‘Becoming’ leagues apart is Michelle Obama’s unfiltered authenticity and vulnerability. In this page-turner, the former first lady fearlessly opens up about the highs and lows of her life, revealing moments of self-doubt, vulnerability, and the endless pursuit for authenticity within the public eye. This unguarded honesty reminds readers that even those in the highest positions of power are, at their core, human, making the narrative not only relatable but deeply inspiring. The willingness to share personal aspects of her journey makes ‘Becoming’ not just a political narrative but a touching exploration of the shared human experience.
Beyond the personal narrative, ‘Becoming’ has had a significant impact on society too. Michelle Obama addresses issues encompassing race, identity, and the paramount role of education. On the topic of race, Obama delves into her personal experiences as an African American woman, discussing the impact of race on her life, her family, and her interactions with society. She reflects on the racial dynamics she encountered while growing up in Chicago, through her experiences as the First Lady. Shedding light on the challenges, discrimination, and stereotypes that she faced throughout her life, Michelle Obama contributes to a broader conversation about race, identity, and the ongoing struggle for equality.
Throughout the book, Michelle Obama also touches upon the theme of Womanhood, transparently reflecting on her experiences as a woman, discussing the challenges and triumphs associated with her roles as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and, notably, as the First Lady of the United States. She explores issues such as balancing career and family, navigating societal expectations, and the unique challenges that women face. Michelle Obama’s journey, as portrayed in ‘Becoming,’ highlights the empowerment and complexity that comes with womanhood.
Here at My Story Told, we understand the intricacies of your personal story and the power it holds. My Story Told is here to help tell your unique story, so that the moments within it live on in a biography, for you and the people you hold dear.
Happy New Year! Stepping out of the Christmas food-coma and into the New Year can seem rather dull, especially after all the exciting festivities that have just drawn to a close. However, there is much to look forward to in the New Year, especially in the literary world.
Here are autobiographies, biographies and memoirs to keep a look out for in 2024:
What Have We Here: Portraits of a Life – Billy Dee Williams
‘What have we here?’ follows the life of Billy Dee Williams, from his childhood growing up in Harlem, to his days on Broadway and starting out in Hollywood before landing the iconic role of Lando Calrissian in George Lucas’ beloved Star Wars, which would see his career soar to new heights.
With a career spanning over 60 years, Billy Dee Williams has done it all – Broadway, movies, television and even music! In this nostalgic biography, Billy takes readers on a journey through his career; recounting tales and travels with Lawrence Olivier, Marlon Brando, Henry Fonda, Berry Gordy, Diana Ross, Sylvester Stallone, and many more. Expected on shelves in early February, ‘What Have We Here’ will be the perfect read for die-hard Star Wars fans and those intrigued by the celebrity world.
The Trading Game: A Confession – Gary Stevenson
Former interest rate trader and equality campaigner, Gary Stevenson is a reputable name within the economics world. Crowned Citibank’s most profitable trader in 2011, Stevenson predicted that there would be an increase in economic inequality and caused waves in Canary Wharf.
In this biography, Stevenson recalls his humble beginnings in East London to when he was accepted into the prestigious London School of Economics – constantly dreaming of something bigger than what was expected of a child from his background. In a raw and outrageous recount of his career, Gary Stevenson invites readers into the world’s most daunting yet intoxicating workplace – the trading floor – where Stevenson did not only survive, but he thrived. Scheduled for a late February release, this book will be a great motivator for readers looking to get out of their new year slump.
The House of Hidden Meanings – Ru Paul
In his highly anticipated autobiography, international Drag icon Ru Paul shares his life story; growing up black, poor, and queer in a broken home to discovering the power of performance, self-expression, found family and self-acceptance. Quick-witted and a trailblazer for bringing drag to mainstream television, the public may think that they already know Ru Paul, however in his most intimate book yet, RuPaul makes himself truly known and strips away the stage persona.
Described by critics as ‘a manual for living’, Ru Paul’s story acts as a personal philosophy that attests to the value of finding chosen family, the power of embracing what makes you different and accepting all of yourself, fearlessly. Readers looking to learn more about the iconic Ru Paul and subsequently, themselves, can expect ‘The House of Hidden Meanings’ on 5th March.
Only Say Good Things: Surviving Playboy and finding myself – Crystal Hefner
Shrouded in glamour, luxurious parties and Hollywood star appeal, the playboy mansion has become an icon, synonymous with the playboy brand. However, behind the allure of a dream lifestyle lies a house built on darkness and façade.
After years of silence, Crystal Hefner exposes the toxic culture of misogyny that runs deep within the playboy mansion. Through a scathing and raw narrative, Hefner offers a look into her time at the playboy mansion and as one of Hugh Hefner’s infamous girlfriends – detailing the absurd rules the women had to follow, regarding everything from their hair and makeup to their curfews. In a series of hard-learned lessons, Crystal Hefner presents an honest perspective on how the need for validation can take hold on one’s life and why it is important to realize your worth. Readers won’t have to wait too long into the new year, as ‘Only Say Good things’ is expected to hit shelves on 25th January – prepare for the shockwaves to come.
Share your story
With a new year upon us, there are even more moments and memories ready to unfold. Before getting swept up in new moments, why not document past memories? As they are just as precious, if not more. At My Story Told, we understand the importance of capturing memories and the role they play in one’s personal story. My Story Told is here to help tell your unique story, so that the moments within it live on in a biography, for you and the people you hold dear.
Outside toilets, no central heating, corporal punishment and “The White Cliffs of Dover”, those who grew up in the 40s will remember the world being a very different place.
As part of our new series, we will be taking a decade in view and outlining what life was like for those who grew up in that time. We will identify key highlights and events, hopefully unlocking memories for those who remember life in that decade.
The first decade we have chosen is the 1940s, a period dominated by the Second World War and the struggles that arose with wartime. Britain was at war from 1939–45, and during the six years, food and clothing were rationed and in short supply. The bombing caused fear, injury, death and destruction, and families were often separated due to evacuation and fathers went away to fight.
Those who grew up in the 40s will either personally remember or know of someone who was evacuated during the war. As cities were being bombed, children were evacuated to the countryside to remain safe. Some found it an adventure, but for some, the separation from family and the feeling of homesickness caused distress.
Home life in the 40s was a stark contrast to how we live today. A quarter of British homes had no electricity, telephone or indoor toilet! There was also no central heating and houses were kept warm from the heat of a fire in the fireplace. Fitted carpets were also few and far between, with most homes having wooden or stone floors.
For those who were not fighting in the war, most people in Britain worked in manufacturing industries and factories. Heavy industries like coal mining, iron and steel making, ship building and engineering employed millions of workers.
Music and Entertainment
The Second World War brought fast, frantic (and often American) music – such as the jazz, boogie-woogie or jitterbug – as dances were held in church and village halls. Slower, sentimental romantic songs were also popular as loved ones went away to fight, such as Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and ‘The ‘White Cliffs of Dover’.
Although televisions were starting to emerge, they were not affordable or available to many during the war. There was, however, use of the radio, which provided some entertainment as well as broadcasting updates on the war. Families would gather around and listen intently to the daily news on their radio.
For children, toys were hard to come by at this time. Factories were used for war equipment, which took manufacturing priority. Those who had toys were usually passed them down from older children or relatives.
In cities, playing outside was not permitted as it was too dangerous. Evacuees on the other hand had to make up their own games. As autumn approached, trips to the woods were common to find the largest, shiniest conkers, being careful to not get stabbed by the harsh prickly cases that protected it. Threaded onto a bootlace, or a piece of string, a winning conker would be the one that had smashed others to smithereens in combat.
Some staple activities of the time were skipping, football and hopscotch, making use of the countryside and the opportunity to be outside, or cards, dice, pick-up-sticks, noughts and crosses, and jacks.
School in the 40s was very different to today. Teachers were strict and corporal punishment was extremely common. Children were punished by getting hit by a cane (thin walking stick).
Classrooms were cold and the windows were often high up so you couldn’t look out, and sometimes classes were in the open air as many school buildings had been bombed. Each child had their own desk with a lid, though schools in rural areas were often overcrowded because evacuated children joined the classes.
Lessons were quite formal with an emphasis on learning things via repetition and by heart. There were very few textbooks to go around, so most things had to be copied off the blackboard. During the War years, teachers often moved to the countryside also, with many retired teachers coming back to work while the younger aged went to war.
Those who grew up in the 40s will most certainly remember ration books, as they lasted well after the war had ended. Ration books worked on a coupon system, so people could only purchase their entitlement and no more.
A typical weekly food ration allowed: 1 egg, 2 ounces each of tea and butter, an ounce of cheese, eight ounces of sugar, four ounces of bacon and four ounces of margarine. Meat wasn’t rationed immediately, but when it was its availability was decided by price rather than points, meaning cheaper cuts quickly became the most popular for many housewives. Catchy phrases like ‘go easy with bread, try potatoes instead’ were devised and circulated by the Ministry of Food to urge housewives to be frugal.
It was not just food that was rationed, clothes were too, and worked on the same coupon system. Adults were allowed to use 66 coupons a year – children were allocated additional coupons to allow for them outgrowing their clothes during the year. For example, a pair of shoes used five coupons while a suit used 18 coupons.
Pages of the book had different coloured coupons and only one colour could be used at a time. The government announced when the next colour could be used, to prevent people using all their coupons too quickly. Rationing should have imposed a ‘fair share for all’ but this was not always the case.
The government also devised a number of memorable campaigns to encourage people to become more conscious about using their ration coupons. The first being ‘Dig for Victory’, which encouraged Britons to turn green spaces they could into allotments so that they could grow food to feed their own family, as well as raise their own pigs and chickens to provide meat and eggs.
The equally memorable ‘Make do and Mend’, promoted repairing clothing and other goods. rather than replacing it.
The decade also saw a number of notable events, including:
1941 – The Blitz
Arguably the greatest test of Britain’s resolve against Nazi Germany, the Blitz began in September 1940 after Germany lost air superiority in the Battle of Britain. Many British cities were attacked, with London bearing the worst of it, being hit 56 times over 57 nights.
1945 – UK Joins the United Nations
The United Nations was formed in the aftermath of WWII, and the UK was one of the first to join. Britain became one of the five founding members of the United Nations Security Council, along with the United States, USSR, China, France and a majority of 46 other signatory nations.
1947 – Clement Attlee becomes Prime Minister
During World War II, the UK formed the coalition government between the Conservative and Labour Party in order to present Britain with a united front against Nazi Germany. After Germany’s defeat, Labor politicians called for a dissolution of the coalition government and a General Election was called.
Labour won a commanding number of seats having promised to bring British soldiers home and expand social programs.
1948 – NHS Founded
The National Health Service Act was passed in 1946, but it took a further two years for the NHS to be formally established. The formation of the National Health Service means universal healthcare was established in the UK.
Learning about various decades and how they differ to today is something we love about what we do at My Story Told. Creating a biography is a great way to capture your life and remember them in your own words.
Our aim is to provide a lasting document that can serve as a token of your or your legacy for generations to come. It is a way to tell life stories in the form of the written word, backed up by meaningful images and documents helping paint the picture of each chapter. For more on our process, please click here.
The autobiographical genre has always involved stories from people with a variety of backgrounds, including political figures, historical figures, entertainment stars and sportspeople. Whether you are reading about a success story within business, or the life story of your favourite athlete, autobiographies allow the reader to share the experiences with the writer and hear it from their own personal perspective.
In this blog, we take a look at some upcoming and new autobiographical releases for readers of a variety of interests to enjoy.
Spare by Prince Harry The Duke of Sussex
A long-awaited account of the life of Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, is set to be released in January 2023 and is now available to pre-order. With its raw, unflinching honesty, Spare is a landmark publication full of insight, revelation, self-examination, and hard-won wisdom about the eternal power of love over grief.
As the inner workings of the Royal Family are not usually known to the public, this book gives readers the chance to understand how The Duke of Sussex has had to navigate life’s ups and downs, whilst being a serving monarch to the United Kingdom.
Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within by David Goggins
Described by Goggins as “not a self-help book, it’s a wakeup call”, “Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within” is Goggins’ second release following “Can’t Hurt Me” – published in 2018.
Goggins rose to fame after telling his story of unrivalled dedication in becoming a US Navy Seal, shedding 50kg in three months in order to be accepted into the program. His second release focuses more on anecdotes and life lessons in this raw, revealing, unflinching memoir. It offers the reader a blueprint they can use to climb from the bottom into a whole new stratosphere that once seemed unattainable.
Finding Hildasay: How one man walked the UK’s coastline and found hope and happiness by Christian Lewis
Christian Lewis made an impulsive decision to set himself a challenge – walk the entire coastline of the UK. He then left with just £10 in his pocket and two days’ worth of food. Little did he know just how long it would take, and the encounters that lay ahead that would turn his life around.
While undertaking the challenge, he navigated the West Coast, Northern Ireland, the hard-rock cliffs of Scotland and the perimeters of the Scottish Islands – where he spent three months on an uninhabited island called Hildasay. Finding Hildasay is a brutal and beautiful true story of depression, survival and the meaning of home.
Fat Dogs and Welsh Estates by Beth Haslam
Beth Haslam was brought up on a country estate in Wales. Deep in the countryside, her childhood was spent either on horseback, helping the gamekeepers raise pheasants, or out sailing.
A raw take on growing up on a farm estate, Fat Dogs and Welsh Estates gives readers insight into life in North Wales. Petulant ponies, neurotic sheepdogs and rabbits with razor-sharp teeth, this account also tells of sailing the treacherous Menai Strait Swellies, and the ghost-filled castle she called home.
Share Your Story
There are many reasons that people choose to share their life story. Whether you are writing an autobiography or memoir, perhaps you’ve lived the kind of life that’s inspired people, or maybe you’d love for your family and future generations to be able to read about your life in your own words.
If reading any of these brilliant autobiographies gets you thinking about writing your own life story, get in touch and we can help you tell your story, your way.
If you are thinking about writing your autobiography, there are many aspects of preparation that you need to consider, some of which we have compiled in a previous blog post.
It is worth exploring how the use of tense and point of view can alter a narrative. Here we outline the different options, and which are best suited for autobiographical writing.
The tense used in a piece of writing indicates the period of time in which the story is happening: past, present, or future.
This is the most obvious choice for autobiographical writing, as you are writing about events that have already happened. Writing in the past tense is the most recognisable and common way to tell a story, for example: “Once upon a time, somewhere before today, there was a fantastic character, who had a great adventure, survived to tell the tale and is now eager to tell you all about it.”
It’s not just easy to write in the past tense, it is easy to read too. If the tense is ‘invisible’ to a reader, they can enjoy the bits that count, like the story and the characters you describe.
Writing a book in the present tense is a riskier choice stylistically, particularly when penning a life story, but it can be very effective when trying to convey a sense of excitement and immediacy. For example, “the car comes to a screeching halt” This is uncommon in autobiographical writing but has been successful in fictional stories.
The Hunger Games is a good example of present tense writing, allowing the writer to convey a specific intense emotion and produce a more cinematic feel.
Writing in the future tense is not common in most forms of writing as it would be difficult to pull off throughout an entire narrative. It can be used to combine with the present tense to create a sense of apprehension and describes something that is going to happen. For example, “The car will come to a screeching halt”.
Point of View
Who is telling the story? Point of view is the mode of narration for your story. This can be categorised into three viewpoints: first, second, and third person.
Though the first-person point of view restricts writing to one set of feelings, this is the primary function for memoir and autobiographical writing. This point of view gives readers access to the subject’s inner world and paints a picture of personal struggles and insight from the subject’s own perspective.
A less common point of view is second-person, in which the writer addresses an ambiguous ‘you,’ who might be themselves, the reader, a character—or all three.
This is the most common point of view in both fiction and nonfiction writing as it has a myriad of possibilities, delving into the thoughts and experiences of multiple characters portrayed by an omniscient narrator.
The majority of memoirs, autobiographies, and personal histories are written in the past tense from a first-person point of view. As you are writing about your own life story, and things that have happened in the past, these choices are more natural and suited to that context. Whatever tense and point of view are chosen, it is important to keep it consistent, or you may confuse the reader.
Avoid phrases that switch tenses mid-sentence, such as: “we were seven miles from shore. Suddenly, the sky turns dark.” Mixing tenses can be done when using direct quotations though, as in the following: “the car came to a screeching halt. ‘John is looking for you.’ he said as he rolled up the window.”
No matter what you choose, make sure that the style supports your own authentic voice and doesn’t detract from it.
Documenting an entire life is a big responsibility – but you are in safe hands. Our stress-free process allows you to easily tell your story, your way, and we will guide you through to make the journey as enjoyable and rewarding as we can.
Our team of professional writers understand the approach needed for point of view and tense to match your authentic voice and perspective. This takes the hassle away so you can focus on choosing what memories and aspects of your life you feel are most important to tell your story.
For a full breakdown of our process works, please click here.
There are many reasons that people choose to share their life story. Whether you are writing an autobiography or memoir, perhaps you’ve lived the kind of life that’s inspired people, or maybe you’d love for your family and future generations to be able to read about your life in your own words. Our ghostwriting service helps put your truth, your experiences, and your reflections onto paper.
What is a ghostwriter?
Ghostwriting is the process of writing a piece of copy under someone else’s name, whether that is another person, group, company, or institution without receiving a byline or public credit. It is often seen in non-fiction literature, where the subject may not have the same writing experience a ghostwriter would have.
It is also important to note that there is a difference between an autobiography and a memoir. In short, a memoir tends to focus on a particular time or aspect of the subject’s life, and an autobiography covers their entire life. A full breakdown on autobiographies and memoirs can be found here.
Whatever your motivation for sharing your story, hiring a ghostwriter can help you tell your story, your way. Here are some of the benefits of using a ghostwriting service:
The first benefit of hiring a ghostwriter is the time saving aspect. Once your interviews are completed and your story has been outlined, leave it to our storytelling team to bring it to life. A ghostwriter takes care of pretty much everything from writing, editing, and the structuring needed to tell your story. We also work with you in your reflecting process, suggesting practical ways to move your story forward and identify key aspects of your story that need highlighting through our interview stage.
Our storytelling team are also professional writers with vast experience in the field, who work closely with the subject to help pinpoint the voice and unify this throughout your book. A ghostwriting service is especially useful is if you’re the kind of person who tells great stories and entertaining anecdotes, but you struggle to make the stories work when you write them down. A ghostwriter uses their skills and expertise to take your spoken reminiscences and make them come alive on the page.
A ghostwriter can also help with the layout of your book, including what typeset is used, photographs and images to include, as well as overall design of each page, cover, and dustjacket (if required).
Documenting an entire life is a big responsibility – but you are in safe hands. Our stress-free process allows you to easily tell your story and we will guide you through to make the journey as enjoyable and rewarding as we can.
For a full breakdown of our ghostwriting service, please click here.
At My Story Told, our main goal is to help individuals preserve their life stories in their own words, creating a family treasure that will both preserve their legacy and offer a unique insight into what life was like during their lifetime.
Ancestry shows such as the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? document the special family stories of celebrities, who go on a journey through their lineage and past. There have been a number of fascinating episodes since its inception in 2004, and we have compiled a few of our favourites below.
Charles Dance – Season 14, Ep.1
Charles Dance is a renowned actor who starred as Tywin Lannister in HBO’s Game of Thrones. His mother was a parlourmaid and his father was an electrical engineer who died when Charles was four and has no memory of. Charles had always believed that his father, Walter, was a divorcee when his mother married him and that he had died in his 50s.
As the episode ensues, it comes to light that neither of these things were true. Upon inspecting the one photograph of Charles’ father, a military historian saw that the style of military uniform dated the picture to 1900.
The episode then took an interesting turn, revealing that his father died in his mid-70s, not 50s, and had a wife and children whose descendants now live in South Africa. Amazingly, when browsing through a trunkful of memorabilia, Charles discovered his half-sister’s self-typed autobiography. She wrote of their father in great detail, and provided Charles with a more in-depth perception of him.
Charles Dance’s story epitomises the importance of documenting your life story. He found out a great deal about his father from his late half-sister’s autobiography which he may have never found otherwise.
Josh Widdecombe – Season 18, Ep.1
One aspect of ancestry research that piques the interest of many is the chance that you may be related to somebody famous. That was the hope for comedian Josh Widdecombe, who said that he wanted “to find out something exciting, that’s the dream scenario.”
Josh already had a slight idea that he may come from a famous lineage when hearing about the collapse of Barings Bank in school and was told he had a connection to the Barings – Josh’s great grandmother’s maiden name was Baring-Gould.
While researching his lineage further, Josh finds out about his 10x great-grandparents Henry Rich and Isabel Cope – the First Earl of Holland and Countess of Holland. He was then told that Henry was a leading aristocrat and a senior advisor to Charles I, holding the rank of Groom of the Stool – accompanying Charles I to the toilet.
Josh’s connection to high-standing members of society did not stop there. Further research then found that his 13x great grandparents, Sir Francis Knollys, was a treasurer to Elizabeth I, and his wife, Lady Katherine Knollys, her chief lady of the bedchamber. The link to royalty is symbolised by the fact that Katherine was buried in Westminster Abbey, which is traditionally a place for royalty and aristocracy to be laid to rest.
The final revelation of Josh’s ancestry journey was when it was revealed that Katherine Knollys’ mother was Mary Boleyn, sister of Anne Boleyn and mistress of Henry VIII, and was told that some believe that Henry VIII was Katherine’s real father. But it did not stop there, Josh also has connections to the royal family of France. His 23x great grandfather was Edward I, who married the daughter of King Phillipe of France!
The process was highly recommended by Josh who was astonished by all he’d learned. “I would 100% recommend to anyone,” he says. “If you do want to trace your family tree, that’s an amazing thing to do.”
Judi Dench – Season 18, Ep.2
Oscar-winning actor Dame Judi Dench kicks off the episode by explaining her passion for William Shakespeare, ever since she played Ophelia in Hamlet, which actually has a significance to her story.
Judi was aware that her father Reginald, a doctor, received the Military Cross twice – an award for bravery – after fighting in the First World War. The first for fighting off a German raid at Ypres in 1917, and the second for leading a raid on the enemy trenches himself.
Judi’s search then begins on her mother’s family, and she learns of her Danish lineage. Her 6x great grandfather married a Danish woman called Anne Catherine Bille. Further research into the Danish lineage resulted in Judi meeting her distant cousin, and fellow actor, Joen Bille, and traced a link to her 10x great aunt, Beate Brahe, who was the mother of famous astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Beate was a lady-in-waiting to the Danish royal family at Kronborg castle in Helsingør – made famous by, you guessed it, William Shakespeare as Elsinore, the setting of Hamlet! Tycho Brahe was descended from families called Guildensteren and Rosenkrans – names which appear as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Shakespeare’s play.
The story came full circle in linking Dame Judi Dench with her hero, William Shakespeare, and another fascinating story of links to royalty. These are the amazing things that can be discovered when researching your ancestry! For more tips on starting ancestry research, read our latest blog here.
Make it easy for your future generations to understand their lineage by documenting your life story with My Story Told. We help you tell your story, your way, and focus on providing an accurate and interesting family heirloom for your relatives to enjoy.
Start your storytelling journey by contacting us today.
At My Story Told, we love learning about individual experiences and being a part of instilling your legacy for future generations, creating a lasting document in the process.
Most people choose to document their story in chronological order, while paying specific attention to certain periods of their lives such as their childhood or marriage, but there are a number of ways to create a lasting family heirloom that involve unique topics of focus.
Here, we identify three ways to create a personalised document for your family, friends or colleagues to enjoy.
1. Family recipes
Food is never just food. It’s the time at the table together, its recipes passed down through generations, and the comforting taste of home. Though recipes are easily accessible nowadays, the special tricks, flavours, and secrets that make meals unique are what differentiates family recipes from mainstream versions.
A personalised cookbook of family recipes is something that can become a huge part of a person’s life – whether those meals are used on special occasions or for everyday eating, the amazing culinary treats they’ve invented and dished up over the years can act as a symbol of a family’s legacy.
It’s also a chance to immortalise traditional family recipes for years to come, as the meals live on through the next generation.
2. Memorable Quotes
Throughout our lifetimes, we are told quotes, anecdotes and life lessons that are passed down by relatives. For example, you may have been told something to the effect of: “just like your grandad used to say…”.
Sharing these anecdotes and quotes could be one way to develop a unique history to share with your family, whether that is life lessons about love, quirky sayings or an old wives’ tale.
There may have been times when a family member’s words have inspired you, and will remind you about something that is important to you. Putting these in a document means that you can share the wisdom with others, or you can come back to them when you need inspiration.
3. Business Expertise
Gaining extensive experience within a specific industry comes with invaluable knowledge and expertise that many can learn from. Success within entrepreneurship does not come without mistakes, and are commonplace within business. Certain approaches and life lessons will emerge from falling at those hurdles, and these lessons could serve as vital information for future business owners.
Documenting your business journey is another way to create a truly unique biography that many can enjoy and learn from, as people often ask business experts to outline what lessons they wish they knew when they started.
A document like this can be used to inspire and provide essential value for anyone planning, managing, or growing a business through actionable insights from the successes and challenges of great entrepreneurs and executives.
At My Story Told, our team are with you every step of the way on your storytelling journey, whether that is a traditional memoir, or any personalised alternative you choose. We help individuals preserve their life stories in their own words, helping you tell your story, your way.
Get in touch to start your storytelling journey today.