THE FAMILY MEMOIR: A LASTING LEGACY
Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family--in another city.
George Burns (American comedian)
A family history helps all members better understand and appreciate the family journey. A few “getting started” steps can help launch the writing journey.
- Set a realistic goal and establish a focus. Are you interested in a full-blown, inter-generational history? If so, you may find yourself overloaded with information and overwhelmed by the project's dimensions. Thus, it's helpful (at the beginning) to "think small" and to focus on what to include--and to exclude.
- Conduct an inventory. Review the family archive and organize the memorabilia. Make a list of photographs, certificates, letters, and all other relevant materials. The list will help you identify the most useful documents--the ones that most effectively support the narrative.
- Begin an outline--and determine a structure. A chronological approach moves the story along in linear fashion, and your outline will follow an A-B-C pattern. An episodic (or pivotal events) structure will depend less on an outline, although your story will benefit from a careful arrangement of individual episodes and sections.
There are no strict rules, but there are some useful guidelines. I can help you identify the approach that best suits your needs and desires--and that best tells the story.