Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 9 of The Family History Writing Challenge

Day 9 already?!?
Where did the time go? I have been so wrapped up with the demands of the day job lately that writing has been a struggle....but, I have 1,081 words written so far!

Please participate in the Family History Writing polls...
There are still so many questions, and I am finding that the farther I go with this the more questions I have:
  1. VOICE: I have contemplated this point for the best part of the month. Who do I want to be the narrator? Should it be myself? Or perhaps it should be my husband's grandfather Hezekiah, since he is the generation in between the beginning and the end... Or could it be an outsider looking in who narrates the story? Each of these preclude a different...
  2. GENRE: If I narrate the story it becomes a memoir...not necessarily my memoir, but a family history journey to find the truth about the family. If Hezekiah Carter narrates the story, it might be a family history narrative. But, if an outsider looking in narrates the story, it might become fiction based on a true story.
Also, I know from a vision I once had about the formation of this book that I need to begin with the church history. However, there are two points in the story where that could begin:
  1. The Sunday message after the family reunion: A Reunion in Goshen...which would start in the present and then flash back to the real beginning of the story...or,
  2. The day Hezekiah's father, Isaac, and younger siblings were ordered by the court to be bound as apprentices in the household of William Temple.
 The value of a writer's forum
Besides the daily writing prompts, one of the greatest assets of participating in this challenge has been the Forum. Most of the issues discussed evolve from the topics in the daily emails. However, sometimes writers have started their own topics of discussion which enlist the support and comments of their fellow family history writers. This has proven invaluable! Not only am I organizing and writing, I am also learning about writing software applications such as Scrivener, and photo editing in Picasa; and discovering new books, such as Oh Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century.

It is in the forum that we are able to share 
Our fears and encouragement, 
Our frustrations and successes....

So, can I write a book in 29 days?
With twenty days left in the challenge, and with the tug-of-war that I find myself in between Work Life and Writing Life, probably not...
But, I do anticipate:
  1. Completing the Chapter Outline,
  2. Writing a summary for each chapter,
  3. Organizing my notes as they pertain to each chapter,
  4. Writing a draft of the first chapter, and
  5. Extending my network of fellow family history writers.
Perhaps somewhere along the way I may discover that the story has taken on a new dimension all its own which would otherwise have been...


    1. Your off to a great start. Definitely give yourself a pat on the back and just keep going.

    2. With life challenges, I think you are doing well as your starting point. As I climbed the mountain today, I kept wanting to stop, but the more I climbed I realized I would eventually reach my destination regardless of the hard times I had trying to move up that mountain. I am excited by your journey into writing, and look forward to your continued journey...Keep it moving, and you will get there.

    3. Debra, very impressive start and tantalizing questions! You might've already answered them to your satisfaction, but I can't help chiming in. On the voice, it would be easier to write from your own perspective, but if you feel up to the challenge of channeling someone else's voice, hey, more power to you! On the beginning, that's a very dramatic opening you could have there with the court-ordered apprenticeship. That could really grab readers and pull them into the story. I bet lots of family historians ache for such rich content to kick things off.

      Whatever your decisions, best of luck to you. You're asking the right questions, doing the right research, and organizing your thoughts and outlines in all the right ways! I sure wouldn't worry about how much you can do in 29 days, because you're doing it deliberately and WELL!

      John Paul Godges
      Author, Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century

      1. Thank you, John, for your kind words of encouragement! I am on page 98 of Oh, Beautiful and loving every moment of it!I can truly identify with both sides losing a child, as Part II of my book will deal with the death of our youngest child. Powerful, indeed! There's a story to be told on my Mother's paternal immigrant family from Russia (now Lithuania), and my Dad's maternal immigrant family from Wales. I have actually had better success researching my husband's African American roots than these more recent immigrants. You certainly were blessed with being able to interview living ancestors! Best of wishes in all your future endeavors! And yes, let's stay in touch!