How to Write Your Personal or Family History: If You Don't Do It, Who Will?

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Overview

Ready to explore where you've come from? Here's a serious but accessible resource for undertaking your personal or family history writing from a long-time teacher of memoir writing.

This is a practical—and encouraging—how-to book from a long-time teacher of personal and family history writing. Katie Funk Wiebe helps beginning memoir writers get started collecting the stories of their lives. She gives hints for recalling distant memories and tracking down family heirlooms. The ...

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Overview

Ready to explore where you've come from? Here's a serious but accessible resource for undertaking your personal or family history writing from a long-time teacher of memoir writing.

This is a practical—and encouraging—how-to book from a long-time teacher of personal and family history writing. Katie Funk Wiebe helps beginning memoir writers get started collecting the stories of their lives. She gives hints for recalling distant memories and tracking down family heirlooms. The author debunks budding writers' fears that their lives haven't been eventful enough. And she offers timely nudges, gentle coaxing, and constructive criticism along the way.

There are tips on writing, exercises to prod the memory, and advice on looking at the broad scope of a well-lived life. "You've been living 24 hours every day, making decisions, objecting to certain ideas, endorsing others, and interacting with family and coworkers," the author writes. "I plan to convince you that if you took time to reflect, you'd find lots of meaningful stuff going on." A serious but accessible resource for undertaking your personal or family history writing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561486656
  • Publisher: Good Books
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 222
  • Sales rank: 787,157
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Katie Funk Wiebe, professor emeritus of Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, retired in 1990 after teaching English for 24 years. She has devoted her retirement years to bringing meaning to life through writing and speaking. Wiebe grew up in northern Saskatchewan, the daughter of Russian-German immigrants. With her husband and children she came to Kansas in 1962. Her husband died seven weeks later. That experience prompted the writing of her first book, Alone: A Widow’s Search for Joy. She followed that with several other memoirs and personal histories. In addition to hundreds of articles, she has written and/or edited 18 books, focusing in the last years on aging. The Mennonite Health Association honored her with the Anabaptist Healthcare Award for 1993 for her work in mental health, women’s issues, and aging. Wiebe is the mother of three children and grandmother of six. She lives in Wichita, Kansas.

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Table of Contents

Preface 3

Chapter 1 You Have a Story Waiting to be Told 5

A Few Beginning Tips 8

Chapter 2 Putting Together the Puzzle of Life 15

Chapter 3 Getting Started Writing About Yourself 23

Where will you find information to write about yourself? 23

Chapter 4 Writing About Other People 39

Why Write a Biography? 41

Main Characteristics of Biography 42

Important Sources to Investigate 50

Chapter 5 Choose a Theme and Plot 55

Chapter 6 Stories Are Always Winners 63

What is the subject matter of personal narrative or story? 65

What makes a great story? 66

What is a story? 66

Chapter 7 Becoming Comfortable with Your Family's Story 81

Focus first on your grandparents 84

Focus next on your parents 84

Chapter 8 One Life, Many Stages 91

Stage 1 Connecting With the Early Years 92

Stage 2 Tracing Defining Moments in Adolescence 101

Stage 3 Finding the Markers in Young Adulthood 105

Stage 4 A Look at the Middle Years (not middle age) 113

Stage 5 Retirement and Beyond 118

Chapter 9 History Happens to Everyone 123

Echoes of the Great Depression 124

Exploring the Resources of World War II 132

Exploring the Resources of the Turbulent 1960s 138

Exploring the Resources of the 1970s and Following Decades 142

Chapter 10 Memories Are Also Made of These 149

The Works of Our Lives 149

Writing About the Life Others Don't See 155

Writing About Relationships With People 162

The Best or Worst Time of Your Life 167

Folklore Improves the Flavor 170

Chapter 11 Optional Writing Tasks 179

How to Give Away What Can't Be Counted or Measured 179

Writing Your Last "Writes" 186

Chapter 12 Final Hurdles to the Finished Product 189

Hurdle No. 1 The Temptationto Quit 189

Hurdle No. 2 Making Your Writing More Readable and Interesting 202

Hurdle No. 3 Revising and Polishing 209

Hurdle No. 4 Publishing 214

Additional Resources 219

About the Author 222

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2011

    Highly Recomended for Some First Time Writers

    I started writing a book of my life mixed with my family genealogy. The book was bought to see if I was doing the right things in the correct order. After readin it the astounding thing was that everything I had plained to include in the book and the order in which I had placed each chapter was in the book. Some people might think, (after reading this) that they themselves may not need to read the book, but that is the wrong idea. Even though I was doing everything right I found it very informative and could not lay it down until every word was read.

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