As family history writers, many of us research the origin of our artifacts and collect the “hard facts” about them, but what we really want to uncover are the meanings and stories our ancestors associated with them.
If you want your readers to feel the family members you’re writing about, facts are not enough. To capture your family members’ essence, you’ll want to invoke your creative mind through specific, concrete imagery.
If you can visualize, smell, hear, taste, and feel your ancestor’s everyday life world, you can recreate it in your readers’ imaginations.
Once you’ve selected a topic, you’re ready to choose a genre to frame it. Simply put, a genre is a format or type of writing. We suggest first adopting creative nonfiction as your overarching genre. Then, with creative nonfiction as your guiding genre, select the creative genre that will best serve your purpose and engage your reader.
Once you have your subject, concept, resources, and research complete, it’s time to develop your writing plan. Jump into the planning whether you have all the content you need or not. Remember, writing is a messy process, and you will probably weave in and out of the steps we suggest many times as you develop and revise your work.