Finding Treasures in Family Histories

Julie's wedding - 27Recently, my 108-year-old aunt-in-law passed away. She was born in 1904. She remembered hearing about the Titanic disaster when she was a child. Until a couple of weeks before her death, she lived in the house that she grew up in. She lost her only son when he was 5 years old. Her husband had been a Chicago cop. And, she danced at a family wedding 10 months ago.

Her life was full of stories. And, we listened.

Do you know someone like that in your family? What can you learn from them?

Chances are, they’re not 108. But, people in your family can tell you stories that will help you add color to your writing.

Historical Fiction

Do you need those little details to make your historical fiction believable? Ask your parents what living through the Depression was like. Ask a WWII veteran what down-time looked like in Europe or Japan. Ask a Vietnam vet to tell you about the people he served with.

Incorporate those little, seemingly insignificant details into your writing and it will give it a unique flavor.

Personality Profile

Did someone in your family do something interesting? Maybe they served on the mission field or took part in the search for a scientific breakthrough. Maybe they opened their home to foster children or started their own business in a difficult time.

Tell their story. Their courage, perseverance or other character traits may inspire someone else.

Passing On Advice

Pick their brain. They can share advice on how to make a marriage work for the long haul. They can talk about how to successfully raise children, and how to deal with a child who strays. That straying child may have even been you.

How did they maintain their faith in God through difficult times? How did they learn to stretch the budget when they didn’t have any money? How did they learn to cope with the disappointments of life?

Don’t forget to look for ideas that you can use in poetry, a devotion or in writing for children.

Your family members, especially the older ones, may be more interesting than you think. Talk to them. Let their stories spark a writing idea for you.

© Deborah Christensen

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Posted on April 30, 2013, in family relationships, fiction, inspiration, nonfiction, poetry, writer's life, writing, writing ideas, writing prompt and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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