Writing Group 2023

Purpose and General Idea:

This writing group will work together to improve a piece of your own writing over 11 months (we will take December off). The meeting times will be on usually the third Thursday of the month (though some dates may have been changed due to schedule conflicts so pay attention to the schedule below).

Our overall focus will be genealogical writing. We will be mostly focusing on writing aspects but will also touch on genealogical issues such as meeting the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS), looking at Genealogical Standards that are relevant to writing, and using citations.

(If you want more education on meeting the GPS, you should sign up for our Mastering Genealogical Proof study group. More on citations specifically, you should sign up for our Mastering Genealogical Documentation study group.)

At our first meeting we will discuss some beginning topics and you will have the assignment of either writing a short piece (about 3 pages), or identifying a piece you already have written, to use throughout the course. We will use the same piece throughout the year. Each month after that there will be a focus topic to work on in your piece. You will be assigned a random pairing with another student to give feedback to on that topic. Each month’s feedback will have a specific focus and should not take longer than one hour. Everyone’s feedback to their partner is due one week prior to class time to give them ample time to make corrections or work on suggestions.

This group will only work if everyone participates. Please do not sign up if you cannot participate each month. Granted, life happens and we cannot predict what might be coming up in the future, but this group is designed to be both useful but also not so lengthy that you shouldn’t be able to carve out a couple of hours per month to participate.

Meeting time will consist of first hearing about the feedback and sharing changes made based on that feedback and the last discussion’s topic, followed by the next focus for our writing. Meetings will last one hour. By the end of the series, you should have created a few useful and reusable items for yourself: a style guide, a writing checklist, and a finished piece of writing.

Schedule and Topics:

  • January 19, 2023 – Introduction to the group, discuss giving feedback, technical aspects of the group process, creating your first piece if you don’t have one already, and other beginning topics. We will also discuss the style guide and checklist you will be setting up over the year.
  • February 16, 2023 – “Verbs!” – active/passive voice, verb tenses; audience; introduction to the Genealogical Standards for writing
  • March 16, 2023 – “Cutting the Fat” – avoiding extraneous words; also, the purpose of the rough draft
  • April 20, 2023 – “Using the Better Word” – up your vocabulary game; discuss tricks, tips, and tools for finding that perfect word
  • May 18, 2023 – “The Well-Formed Sentence” – improve flow in writing, reader comprehension; also we will checkin on your style guide and writing checklist
  • June 15, 2023 – “Who are You Talking About?” – improve understanding with names, pronouns, and same/similarly named subjects; explore examples found in NGSQ
  • July 2, 2023 – “Avoiding Digressions, Colloquialisms, and Casual Tone, and When is it OK?”; also, we will discuss types of writing and audience
  • August 17, 2023 – “Sentence Construction: Danglers, and Parallels”; and a refresher on the Genealogical Standards for writing now that we’re more than halfway through
  • September 21, 2023 – “Topic Sentences and Transitions” – Also we will review progress on your style guide and writing checklist
  • October 19, 2023 – “Meeting the GPS with Your Writing”; also, how to write about conflicting evidence
  • November 16, 2023 – The Final Meeting – “What Next?” – final products, publishing, working with an editor, starting a writer’s accountability and feedback group, and final thoughts

Cost and Details:

The cost is $75 for the year. There are no required books for this class. Class size is limited to 25.

This is not meant to be a beginner, learning how to write, class. Participants should have some minimal experience reading and/or writing genealogically, and want to improve upon that writing.

To register: Click here to register.