What is a Story Coach? Ghostwriter? And Oral Historian?

What is a Story Coach? Ghostwriter? And Oral Historian?

When it comes to writing your memoirs, it is safe to say that it can be a large and daunting task.

You’ve got decades of memories, experiences that you need to work through, choosing what to include and what ultimately does not serve your story.

To try and accomplish all of this on your own is hard. Very hard. . 

So where can you go to for help?


There are three main sources of help.

1. Story or Writing Coach

A writing coach is a guide. They are not an editor which comes in towards the end of the process, but is best engaged in the beginning of the process. Typically it will begin with a face-to-face or phone interview where you discuss the project and any concerns or goals.

They help the writer develop a clear and compelling premise or plot, determine a tone, style, and voice based on the intended audience. They also help them produce a coherent, captivating narrative, whether the project is fiction or nonfiction.

Practically, a writing coach then helps the writer organize their project, determine a schedule, and select a completion date as a goal. The writing coach discusses the stages of a writing project, including an initial outline, research, a revised outline, which is followed by the editorial process.


  • Assistance during the journey of writing
  • Creative control is maintained by the writer
  • Higher quality first draft important when looking to publish
  • Connections to editors and proofreaders 


2. Ghost Writer 

The way ghost writers work does vary, but it is typically, once engaged, they will listen to the subject’s story over a series of one-to-one interviews. Interviews are normally taped and transcribed, so the ghost has a rich resource of material to reflect on. Ghostwriters may also request additional supporting material to help their research, which may include family photographs, newspaper clippings and other documents. 

It is the role of the ghost to use their skills to capture the voice of the author, while telling their story in as interesting and engaging a way as possible.

As the book begins to take shape, authors can expect to receive regular draft chapters, which they can read and adjust as necessary. In fact, the more feedback the better. The ghost may well suggest angles that will make the book more commercial so it has greater appeal to publishers and readers and it is very useful if an author can add their thoughts to this process. It is, after all, a collaboration.

Whatever happens though, the story will remain at all times under the control of the subject and nothing will go into the book that an author doesn’t want in there. It goes without saying that anything that is told to a ghost in confidence to set the scene for a story will, of course, remain in confidence should an author wish it to stay that way.


  • No writing skills required
  • Limited time commitment, only interview sessions
  • Content all professionally structured 
  • Receive a professionally written manuscript at completion
  • Connections or directly able to assist with printing your book


3. Oral Historian

Oral history is a field of study and a method of gathering, preserving and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities in past events. Oral history is both the oldest type of historical inquiry, predating the written word, and it has transitioned seamlessly into modern technology.

An oral history interview generally consists of a well-prepared interviewer working with a client and recording their exchange in audio or video format.  Recordings of the interview are transcribed, summarized, indexed and may be placed into archives for others to use for additional research.

Oral historians are skilled at drawing out clients experiences, and getting them to share their stories in their own words. They know how to interview in order to capture your life story in an exciting and compelling way. It is similar to working with a ghostwriter, but it is not curated and outcomes are typically transcripts rather than books.

It is a rapid and low cost option which creates not just a text record, but also an audio record of your life. 


  • No writing skills required
  • You in your own words
  • Limited time commitment, only interview sessions
  • Two forms of record created


We believe it is important to choose the right person to help in order to produce the right outcome. 

Telegram Society offers both ghostwriting services and oral historian services in order to ensure you can share your stories, and create the memories you want for your family.

We believe that both ghost writing and the oral history technique are of significant value. Over the years, we have seen that expertly conducted interviews and recordings create phenomenal avenues for people to tell their story, and create their memoirs.




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