Life is full of anniversaries, and 25 years ago, I began my journey as both a genealogist and a nonfiction writer. I was enrolled in the graduate program in creative nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh and decided to write my thesis about my grandmother and tell the story of her immigration to America from Slovakia. This final manuscript project evolved into my first published book, Three Slovak Women. To mark this 25-year milestone, I am offering a free video of one of my most popular genealogy talks: “The Write Stuff: Using Nonfiction Writing Techniques to Write a Better Family History.”
|Image by Lisa A. Alzo|
As genealogists we often focus on facts and uncover so much information that our research can have a tendency to produce nothing but boring lists. But do you really know what happened during the course of your ancestors’ lives? How can you share that information in a compelling and interesting way? An all-encompassing family history is so much more than just charts and graphs, boxes and lines, or a list of references. Writing about our ancestors and our heritage gives context, meaning, and purpose to all of the facts we have collected. This video discusses how to use nonfiction writing techniques to produce a “must read” family history that will keep the pages turning for generations to come.
Since I chose to write about my grandmother for my first nonfiction book, I am happy to share this video in honor of her and to celebrate National Women’s History Month.
Be sure to also download the FREE 4-page handout packed with my favorite writing tips and resources.
As a genealogy writer and educator I strive to teach others how to lose the intimidation and let go of their fears about writing to dig deeper into their family stories. I have published nine books have written hundreds of magazine articles. In addition, I currently teach family history writing and memoir writing at local colleges, and online through webinars, Boot Camps and writing intensives. Here is a representative (but not intended to be exhaustive) list:
Legacy Family Tree Webinars
Available to watch at Family Tree Webinars (membership required)
- Crafting Ancestor Profiles from Start to Finish
- 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Narrative
- Digital Writing Tools for Genealogists
- Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family's Story
Click here to read detailed descriptions of each webinar and for information on how to view them.
HackGenealogy Boot Camps and Intensives (with Thomas MacEntee)
- Genealogy Writing Boot Camp
- Scrivener Mini-Boot Camp: Getting Started with Scrivener – To Go!
- Self-Publishing Boot Camp
- Evernote Boot Camp
- Blogger Boot Camp
- The “Write Stuff” Genealogy Writing Intensive (watch HackGenealogy for an announcement about the next session).
Detailed information on purchasing the “Boot Camp To-Go” versions can be found on the Hack Genealogy Store.
In addition, you may wish to check out my other publications:
This guide contains useful information including the tips, tools, and tricks you’ll need to get beyond the names, dates and places to bring your family tree to life. Also included are writing exercises, links to handy apps, and self-publishing resources, to help you craft and publish a “can’t put down” narrative.
Scrivener for Genealogists (laminated QuickSheet for Mac or Windows)
This guide gives you all of the basics you need to know to get up and running with Scrivener—a popular combination word processor and project management tool produced by Literature and Latte.
Writing Your Family History Book (Heritage Productions): Every family has a great story-or two, or twenty-two! Put it on paper... This book will help you from beginning to end in simple, manageable steps. You can do it!
While studying in the University of Pittsburgh’s highly acclaimed Creative Nonfiction Writing program, I learned from many of the best writers in the business. I am pleased to share some of the key principles of creative nonfiction writing with you through this short presentation.
Don’t miss this free chance to learn the tips, tools, and techniques that will help take your family history writing to the next level.
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Copyright 2015, Lisa A. Alzo
All Rights Reserved