Process

There's a method to your memoir.

The personal history process typically is catalyzed by one-on-one conversation.

At Time Capsule Memoirs, we love that each project is unique, and we take pride in establishing schedules and working relationships that best suit our clients. The first step is a free one-hour consultation. There, we talk about your visions and hopes for a project, ideas for achieving them, and anything else that comes up. If we agree to work together, we’ll begin the following personal history process, designed to deliver your project in a clear and timely manner.

Interviews: Before any one-on-one interview, you receive a questionnaire to complete at home. The reason for this is twofold. First, many people find that collecting important names, dates and places ahead of time helps them feel organized, and more at ease in conversation. Second, the questionnaire serves as a touchstone throughout the interview process, helping ensure that nothing major gets omitted, and that details such as dates, name spellings, and so on are recorded correctly.

When it’s time to talk, you choose the time and a quiet place. The feel is conversational, but we naturally and deliberately build upon the information in your questionnaire. An audio recorder, set up unobtrusively, ensures that not a word gets missed, but all our conversations remain completely confidential. And if you become uncomfortable with anything you’ve shared, we simply remove it from the record.

Audio-memoir clients receive their CDs or USB upon completion of interviews.

Transcription: After recording an interview, Time Capsule Memoirs transcribes it word-for-word, but without any “umm”s, “ahh”s and false starts (unless you’d like to leave them in). These transcripts comprise the raw materials of your story, and ensure that it is told in your voice.

Clients wanting interviews printed verbatim receive them immediately after transcription.

Writing the narrative: Upon completion of interviews and transcription (and most likely before), we discuss strategies for organizing and structuring your manuscript. From there, we put together the architecture of your story. Early on, you have a chance to review a section or chapter and give feedback.

Research: This is an optional step in the personal history process, for those who want to give readers more historical context. We research some of the most important times, places and other factors within the backdrop to what you experienced personally, and integrate the information in a complementary way.

Editing the narrative: When a draft of the story is complete, a new stage of collaboration begins. We turn the manuscript over to you, so you can read it as closely as you wish. Then we sit side-by-side, or communicate via phone or email, to talk about changes you’d like to make. The draft is not final until you say it’s final.

Image collection: With the story crystallizing, now is a great time to identify images: photos, letters, historical documents and more. We can scan your images on-site, so they never leave your possession, in a format that will allow a professionally trained graphic designer to reproduce them at the highest quality possible.

Book design: The designer makes recommendations for layout, fonts, graphic elements and more. When words, images and design elements are finalized, the designer plots out your story chapter by chapter, page by page.

Book production: Time Capsule Memoirs collaborates with a professional printer on the production and delivery of your book, whether you’d like two copies or 2,000. Options such as fabric or leather hardcover binding and gold embossing can elevate your book to heirloom quality.

For information on projects and pricing, click here.

Young soldier, perhaps home from World War II, with arm around family member. Stories from letters and V-mail can be raw materials for memoirs.

Audio-memoir clients receive their CDs or USB upon completion of interviews.

Clients wanting interviews printed verbatim receive them immediately after transcription.

Very young boy on chair, looking at camera. Today, the boy is probably a retired older man, and pictures from his youth could fascinate grandchildren. An adolescent boy in 1960s Boston. Outdated hairstyles, clothing styles and more can make for memorable images.