Family History Piecework: An Approach to Writing

Examine a writing approach using small assorted pieces in order to achieve a larger cohesive body of work, similar to creating a patchwork quilt.

The Pieces — Create a series of small independent writing samples. We will discuss types of writing (memoir, anecdotal, how-to, family history), tips and techniques for creating smaller (but still complete) writing samples. This lecture examines breaking a larger problem using the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS) down into its smaller components.

The Pattern — Bring the small pieces together to make a larger cohesive piece. Ways to organize writing will be discussed such as: facts that build on each other; syllogisms (if/then statements); providing the answer first and then explaining how you solved it; asking the question first and building to the answer, like a mystery. We will also discuss rearranging the writing to get a different effect and the inclusion of charts, tables, graphs to help explain important points.

The Process — Get past writer’s block through organization. Create a plan, settling on research questions and research plans. Then set a goal, whether it is in the form of word or page counts, deadlines, or outcomes. Project and time management ideas, tips, and tools will be shared, as well as time-saving tips for handling citations and formatting.

The Final Product — Pulling it all together. We will discuss publication possibilities, ideas for various journals and magazines for smaller works, and ideas for publishing larger works (self-publishing, print-on-demand).