It might be a good idea to review the guidelines before submitting. Stories that don’t follow the model will not be included in the project.
Guidelines / Tips
Meet face-to-face (if possible or on Skype) with your partner. Allow ample time for a chat. Try to find a key moment or a few key moments of the storyteller’s life to dive into. Focus on details that take us into these moments.
All stories are written in the first person (I knew everything was going to change the day…) from the storyteller’s perspective. Think of this as a monologue. Stories are typically between 800 to 1,200 words in length.
Voice! Voice! Voice! Record the conversation. Writers take good notes. We recommend transcribing the audio from the parts of the conversation you want to focus on. There are transcription services that do this automatically when you upload audio. We recommend Temi.com, which does this in under 5 minutes. The first upload is free at Temi, and 10-cents/minute after that.
Tell true stories. Don’t make anything up. Don’t embellish.
Be careful naming 3rd parties. We prefer not to get sued, so if a story mentions a third party (person, institution, or business) in an unflattering manner, please use discretion whether to name them directly. Our editors will be watching out for this as well. We’re all for raging against the machine, but at times we have to tread carefully so the machine doesn’t chew us up and spit us out.
Stories should focus on lived experiences and what was learned and felt. Stories shouldn’t be rants or manifestos or analysis of current events or a time to grind an axe.
You don’t have to give every single detail – the best stories just drop the listeners right into the story without having to give the listeners every single detail.
Great questions lead to great stories, but the most important thing is to be genuinely interested in the person you are talking with. An ideal scenario is that you ask: “What made you want to share your story with this project?” and then the conversation flows from there. That said, it’s not a bad idea to have a few questions prepared. Story Corps has a great list of questions.
You are collaborators, but the storyteller has ultimate control over the story. It’s common that the writer takes a shot at the first draft, but after that the storyteller says what stays, goes, or is added. It’s their story!
We’re here to help. Our team of editors at The Facing Project have polished thousands of stories. We can help get your story to the place where it makes the most impact, spreads understanding and inspires action.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org