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  1. #1
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    Default Which story to start with?

    Over the years, I have come across many stories about various relatives. Some sad, funny, shocking and some to be proud of.
    I would like to write a collection of short stories, that I can print for family and anyone else who may find them interesting.
    However, I would like some feedback on which story to start with. Should I start with a funny story or a more serious one?
    I want the reader to be intrigued enough to continue reading, but I donít want bore them.

    Any advice please?

    Janette

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    Knowledgeable and helpful stepives's Avatar
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    The first part of your collective stories, should be your introduction to them. Just a brief outline should do. As it's 'real life', and not fiction, the readers will make their own minds up, if it's boring.
    You can't please all the people, all the time.
    Some like the sad stuff, some like the shocking, serious stuff.......and so on. If it's for family members, then none of it should be boring to them. As for 'outsiders'.......time will tell, after reading it.

    Steve.
    Too many bones, too much sorrow, but until I am dead, there's always tomorrow.

  3. #3
    Loves to help with queries emmteeyess's Avatar
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    I'd start with the one that intrigues/interests you the most. Chances are it'll be the same for other relatives and you'll write it with more energy and conviction. Probably the more rare and mysterious story will be the one anyway.

    Other tips would be - write it in Word but save it as a pdf to distribute. Word is easy and versatile to use but an Adobe Acrobat pdf is more robust to pass on. If you mean professional printing, I've no experience of that.
    Print each story seperate as a stand alone chapter but try and formulate a style to carry thru all the 'chapters'. Also pehaps have an intro or conclusion along the lines of 'Here's another family tale about ...' or 'More to follow about so and so ...'

    I've not done it but I've seen suggestions to do it as a monthly newsletter incorporating 'where I'm looking next' type things. Might get you more feedback.
    You may find that you learn more or find new info that corrects an earlier version so be prepared to issue revisions if the changes are significant. I had to!

    For some stories you might include a simplified tree to show how they fit into your (and therefore your relatives) genealogy. Depends on your audience.

    One problem you may have is getting the balance between personal and family history and how the story fits in with the social and world history of the day (an eg is my story was about my ggg.grandfather in Nelson's navy. Getting the balance between his story as a sailor and PoW of the French and the wider history of conditions on board ships, and of the Napoleonic wars was hard - so much grabbed my attention.)
    Again you'll have to tailor it to your own knowledge, interests and to your audience.

    Include contempory pictures, for interest and to break up reams of text.

    Deffo take a long look at 'how and why' you want to write this, have a dummy run and think about it before going public.

    Best of luck - hope you enjoy it.

    Cheers, MTS

  4. #4
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    Steve,

    Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I have all the stories in mind I want to write. I never thought of an introduction, but I may start with a few lines on how I came across the stories and how my search started.
    My genealogy started with a will of a cousin in NYC in the 20s.

    I will write my stories, then group them together, maybe by subject or how they are related in the family.

  5. #5
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    Thank you also, great advice.
    I’ve decided to start with the story that lead me to researching the family tree. Some stories I have collected from short newspaper articles , so not a lot to write about.
    There are a few stories that will take up a lot of time to write. I’m sure it will start to flow when I write.
    Thanks again for your advice, it’s most appreciated
    Janette

    Quote Originally Posted by emmteeyess View Post
    I'd start with the one that intrigues/interests you the most. Chances are it'll be the same for other relatives and you'll write it with more energy and conviction. Probably the more rare and mysterious story will be the one anyway.

    Other tips would be - write it in Word but save it as a pdf to distribute. Word is easy and versatile to use but an Adobe Acrobat pdf is more robust to pass on. If you mean professional printing, I've no experience of that.
    Print each story seperate as a stand alone chapter but try and formulate a style to carry thru all the 'chapters'. Also pehaps have an intro or conclusion along the lines of 'Here's another family tale about ...' or 'More to follow about so and so ...'

    I've not done it but I've seen suggestions to do it as a monthly newsletter incorporating 'where I'm looking next' type things. Might get you more feedback.
    You may find that you learn more or find new info that corrects an earlier version so be prepared to issue revisions if the changes are significant. I had to!

    For some stories you might include a simplified tree to show how they fit into your (and therefore your relatives) genealogy. Depends on your audience.

    One problem you may have is getting the balance between personal and family history and how the story fits in with the social and world history of the day (an eg is my story was about my ggg.grandfather in Nelson's navy. Getting the balance between his story as a sailor and PoW of the French and the wider history of conditions on board ships, and of the Napoleonic wars was hard - so much grabbed my attention.)
    Again you'll have to tailor it to your own knowledge, interests and to your audience.

    Include contempory pictures, for interest and to break up reams of text.

    Deffo take a long look at 'how and why' you want to write this, have a dummy run and think about it before going public.

    Best of luck - hope you enjoy it.

    Cheers, MTS

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Lesley Robertson's Avatar
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    I think I'd start with some of the oldest stories and see how people react to seeing their families discussed in print. People don't always react as you'd expect if they think something private will be exposed... It's a good idea to know where sensitivities might lie before handing over your text!

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