The Craft of Writing


The one task that a publisher or printer cannot do for you is to write your book.

“I love writing – except for all the paperwork”

For the first two years of this AGS SIG, the primary focus of our group has been toward publishing.

Starting in 2020, we will spend some time talking about the actual writing of these volumes of family history.   Writing beyond the “magic button” – and/or writing the notes that come forth from the magic button – writing stories, writing introductions etc…

The CRAFT of writing.

Starting in 2020, every other SIG meeting will focus specifically on writing.  We took this route following a Writing discussion led by Molly Shannon at the final SIG meeting of 2019.  The question considered:  “What programs/topics etc can our SIG offer?”
What do YOU need, to hone your skills in the Craft of Writing?   Ideas might include:  Memoir tips, Dialogue, Character Studies, Using all the Senses in a narrative, “Hooks” to keep the reader interested…
We will discuss/share any writing resources you have found helpful!
Books, classes you have taken (Continuing Education etc…) and why they were helpful, how others might access these – or if you or another instructor might lead one of our 2020 meetings.
Each year, November is NaNoWriMo month!  National Novel Writing Month, where each participant writes toward the goal of 50,000 words. NaNoWriMo actually provides ‘write-ins’ here in town, a website of cheerleaders, a means of tracking your word count. and much more.  Can we apply any of their tools to our SIG?
In November 2019, we shared where we each are in our process and  what help we need from the SIG in either writing or publishing our Family History work in 2020 or 2021.

The Inner Circle

The November 2019 SIG meeting generated a request for an Inner Circle for Writing [WIC] within the SIG.  This WIC will maintain a separate email distribution list and will have a writing assignment.  Those who wish to participate are encouraged to write ten pages and submit one week prior to the next WIC meeting date to Mike[at]Blackledge [dot]com; the submissions will be uploaded to a Google Drive site to share with the WIC.

Writing Resources

Our Albuquerque/Bernalillo County [ABC] Library System at Main [Genealogy Center, 2nd floor] provides two full shelves of self-help books on Writing Your Family History [808.02].  Several SIG attendees brought copies of some texts to the meetings.  How do we determine which of this plethora of texts can be helpful?  Karen Jones suggested that we each choose a text and provide a review/notes on what we have found.  Here we list some of the references suggested, a few with [red] links to a review. These reviews will be available on the WIC Google Drive as well.
Appetite for America by Stephen Fried.  A 500 page interesting and informative example of a family history by an investigative journalist, viz., The Fred Harvey Family.