Writing family stories

May 13, 2009

Writing our stories

We write our stories and make history every day we live.  This year, my parents, who are not writers, decided they wanted a family history to celebrate their 60 years of marriage this coming June.

First on the list was making rough notes about their lives.  Mom wrote copious notes on whatever paper she had in the house—brainstorming we writers would call it.  Making lists of things to include, to get the process started.

Next came the interviewing and initial writing by an outside writer who gathered  stories of my mother and father’s growing up years, their courtship and their life together. But there were still stories left untold, things they missed earlier.

I marked my mother’s copy with questions for other anecdotes I’d heard over the years. We filled in those gaps, probably still missing some.

A project that was to be a simple story of their lives has turned into something that’s anything but simple.  More on this another day.



4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Vilma Blenman  |  August 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Just saw this piece on writing family stories, and it gave me ideas of what I might do with my own parents’ stories. Thanks for sharing the process so far. I know this was written two years ago, so I’m curious to know the outcome of the project. Also, congratulations on what seems to be a great book launch. The photo story format was a great way to show and tell.
    Vilma Blenman

    • 2. storygal  |  August 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Hello Vilma.

      Thanks for stopping by. I remember our chat in June at Write! Canada.

      Maybe I should repost that blog entry and update it. Yes, we completed that project and are delighted with the results. My parents and each of my siblings wrote stories, my youngest sister laid out the book, and we had the pages printed and put into three-ring binder format so it can be updated. It’s good to have that project completed that we can look through and read the stories. We have some updating to do soon.
      Thanks for your comments on my launch. You can email me and we can talk further, if you like.

  • 3. Pam Parker  |  November 2, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Just found this – thanks! I have a guest post up from writing coach, Judy Bridges, about 8 Tips for Writing Family Stories. Your ideas are great for longer, more extensive family histories. Thanks!

    • 4. storygal  |  November 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment. 🙂 I just stopped by your site and can definitely agree with those points.


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