Accomplished Ghostwriter Pens Guide to Writing Your Own Memoir

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Author Jerry Payne, ghostwriter of more than two dozen memoirs, has decided to share his secrets with his just-released book "Writing Memoir: The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life" (Faydelis Press).

“People don’t often see their lives as stories, but when you stop and think about it, they really are."

Of all the literary genres, memoir continues to be the most popular. Jerry Payne knows this firsthand. Payne, a long-time ghostwriter, has written more than two dozen of them for his clients. Now, he’s decided to share his secrets with his newly-released book Writing Memoir: The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life (Faydelis Press).

The book covers a wide range of topics including outlining, character development, description, dialogue, and story structure. That last one is especially important to Payne. “People don’t often see their lives as stories,” he explains. “But when you stop and think about it, they really are. There’s drama, humor, pathos, characters coming in and out—all the elements of great storytelling. But you have to see your life for the dramatic story that it is before you can write about it that way.”

Payne believes that writing memoir is a great way to not only write about your life, but to learn about it as well. It can be an exercise in self-discovery if nothing else. According to Payne, most, if not all, of his clients have learned something about themselves just in the process of writing their memoirs. People, he reasons, are often looking to make sense of their lives and this at least partially explains the memoir genre’s increased popularity.

His experience writing memoirs for politicians, business magnates, celebrities, and just ordinary people is what Payne credits for his approach, an approach honed over years. “His methodology is priceless,” says client and author Seven Major (Illusions of Privacy). “It’s all about being organized and breaking the job down into manageable parts, all while being true to your memoir’s theme and true to your own voice. It can be intimidating, writing a whole book, especially one as personal as a memoir. The material in his book really takes that intimidation factor away.”

Payne’s book makes generous use of examples from some of the great memoirists over the years including Ernest Hemingway and Vladimir Nabakov, but also from some of the more recent ones like Mary Karr (The Liars’ Club) and Cheryl Strayed (Wild). He uses examples from some of his own clients’ work as well, but only those from whom he’s gotten permission. “I take the confidential nature of ghostwriting very seriously,” he says. “Ghostwriting all of these memoirs has been such a great pleasure for me. I’ve met the most interesting people and it’s been so gratifying to help them tell their stories. But of course not everybody needs a ghostwriter and a lot of people can’t afford one. So at least with the book, maybe I can help a few more people out.”

Writing Memoir: The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life can be found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. More about Jerry Payne can be found at YourConfidentialGhostwriter.com.

Book Information

Writing Memoir: The Practical Guide to Writing and Publishing the Story of Your Life, Faydelis Press, September, 2016, 126 pages, $14.95 paperback, also available in eBook, ISBN: 978-0-9835814-8-2.

About the Author

An award-winning ghostwriter, Jerry Payne has written or edited over two dozen memoirs for a wide range of clients, each story as unique as the life from which it was drawn. With a true passion for the genre, Payne teaches an online course and frequently conducts workshops on the craft of memoir writing.

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Jerry Payne
Faydelis Press
+1 (727) 822-8072
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