For a ghostwriter, one of the basics of memoir writing is to sound like the author (in this case, you). A professional ghostwriter knows how to write in the author's voice.
The key to this is listening.
When I work with my clients, I listen to how they speak. As much as possible, I use the author's words and phrases verbatim. When I write or edit the copy, I mimic the author's speech pattern and style.
For instance, if my client uses short sentences, I use short sentences. If my client uses long, sophisticated words, I use long, sophisticated words.
I also keep in mind the author's target market. The way to speak to a mainstream audience will be different from speaking to, say, a corporate audience.
For example, this client has a casual, conversational voice:
"I never thought I would end up needing food stamps. I thought about what my family and friends would think if they knew I was living on food stamps. It was gut-wrenching. I felt so ashamed. But it also was cleansing. It forced me to face the truth that I had no money."
In contrast, this client has a more sophisticated style. He is targeting corporate leaders and executives:
"We specialize in identifying and securing dynamic, high-impact leaders for premier companies. We have successfully conducted executive and leader search assignments for companies in a range of industries, from start-ups to Fortune 500 firms worldwide."
In another example, this client's voice is more prosaic:
"From a very young age, as soon as I could run in my grandmother's yard or hide behind bushes, anything in nature was mystical to me. Playing underneath the koa trees, or in the rivers, under the cliffs cascading with monsettera leaves, wild haole koa, wood rose vines, and lilikoi vines. Anything that was in nature was mystical to me."
I also like to retain the flavor and regional speech patterns of my clients, if appropriate, such as here:
“He didn’t want the land no more. He just wanted to get rid of it. He practically gave it to me for free."
Read more about 12 Tips on Writing Memoirs
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