Module 1: Research and Structure

Learn all the basics of writing your life history: structure, information gathering, outline and much more.

Unit 1: Introduction

In this unit, you learn to set the parameters for your work. You decide, in a strategic way, which track of family history writing to follow. Your journey into the most fascinating area of writing starts. You'll develop a clear idea of what to accomplish, understand how to target your readership, find out what you should include. We'll discuss the different forms of memoir writing. You practice them. Together, we consider your parents and their early lives. You learn the techniques for researching this period.

Unit 2: Beginning the Writing Process

This is where you learn how to start in on the real creative process. We teach you the tricks of informing AND entertaining your reader. You learn the practical techniques to make the work move forward smoothly and efficiently. We go back to your birth and your earliest memories. We teach you how to nurture and provoke half memories until they are in full flower.

Unit 3: Developing Workable Parameters

You learn about how to segment the project in the best way. You develop a formal chronology. Then you learn how to make the chronology sparkle. You'll find out exactly how to use an Outline and how it differs from a chronology. Together, we work on developing a working outline. The end of the unit takes a look at your early school years. Be brave! We are going to dredge up all kinds of memories about your first day of school and THAT teacher! It may not be easy to recall but it will make hilarious and poignant reading!

Unit 4: Locating Essential Information

This unit helps you understand the process of research along trails which may be cold. Today, vast amounts of information about an individual and his history are measured in computer bytes. We show you how to locate and use it. You'll learn to research the records, data banks and archives. They may yield treasure troves of information you had not suspected were there. At the end of this unit we help you detail your formative years.

Unit 5: Working From an Outline

Now you'll learn all the golden rules for conducting effective interviews. Discover who are the most effective sources and how to be sure you gain access to them. You'll learn how to verify and document your information. It's a vital lesson. Then you learn how to introduce an element of real excitement to achieve maximum effect. Now we start in together on describing your teenage years. Do you have any secrets you'd rather not tell? We'll help you decide what should—and what should not—be divulged!

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Family History: Module 1 | Module 2 | Module 3