questionnaire is designed to help my memoir clients figure out
what kind of a memoir they truly want to write -- and then to
help me to assist them as best I can.
Please answer the following 12 questions.
Your answers need not be long, but please consider the questions
1) Begin by writing down your name, address and best telephone
number. Add your e-mail address, if you like. If you plan
to stay in touch by phone, please add which times of day are
best for you.
2) Why are you interested in writing your memoir? What
do you want to achieve by doing so? Is there one great, animating
idea behind your memoir -- or many smaller ones?
3) Would you like the memoir to cover the entire course of
your life? If so, why? Or would you like the memoir to cover
only a part of your life? If so, which part, and why? Have you
considered the advantages and disadvantages of each course?
4) Have you thought about illustrating your memoir, perhaps
with family photographs or other visual aids? What do you
need to do to complete this visual side of the memoir?
5) Have you thought about how your memoir would begin and
end? If so, what have you concluded?
6) Is there any existing memoir -- published or unpublished
-- which you consider a model for your own? Would you like
help in identifying possible models for you in memoir?
7) Have you told all relevant spouses, siblings, parents,
children, and friends about this memoir project? Have any
of them expressed anxiety or disappointment about it?
8) If any people important to you have expressed anxiety or
disappointment about your planned memoir, do you expect to overcome
their doubts? Are you sure that you understand the source
of those doubts?
9) Will your memoir try to supply important new information
about famous people, historic episodes or an historic era? Do
you expect to do a lot of research for your memoir?
10) Do you have hopes of publishing your memoir at some point?
11) If you do hope to publish your memoir, would you be happy
with a small press or a university press? Or do you have
your heart set on a major publisher?
12) Which of the following sounds most like your situation?
a) "I remember well, and don't have "Writer's
Block." I know what I want to say, and I can write fluently.
But I need help smoothing out the text, integrating the material,
filling in spots that are weak, resolving inconsistencies, and
so on. I need a dynamic co-author and editor."
b) "I remember pretty well, and I don't get Writer's
Block. But I'm not sure what to say. I know what I personally
find interesting about my life, but I haven't written down much
of it. I'm looking for a professional writer, with an objective
view, to sift through my thoughts and experience, help me discard
the minor themes, develop the major ones, and handle all the
c) My memory is okay, but I have a lot of trouble getting
started. Writing was never my strong suit, and I feel a bit embarrassed
to be writing "my memoirs." I need to be interviewed,
to have a professional writer take notes, and stitch the memoir
together from my answers. I would only lightly edit the resulting
work. I feel very relaxed chatting by telephone, and am confident
we could do most of this by phone.
d) I would prefer to be interviewed. However, I don't
like the telephone, and as these are quite personal matters,
I would expect most, if not all, of our interviews to be conducted
face-to-face. I would not expect to write much myself but I would
want to very carefully edit the written manuscript.
e) Other. (Please specify)