Writing Family History

On 18th February Norwich Writer’s Circle committee member Gill Blanchard held a Writing Family History workshop at The Assembly House.

During our latest well-attended meeting Gill told us how, through hearing numerous tales from her family as a child, inspired her to be interested in history later on during her life. After working at our variety of places, this eventually led to our speaker launching her own business – Past Search – in 1997.

The evening saw the launch of our latest competition – to write a historical biography, fictionalised account or short story based on a time period or event in ancestor’s life. Gill recommended to us that our competition could either be based on fact, or something of our own creation. If, however, we chose to create something fictional we must make it obvious in the text. The historian also told that it was up to us how we chose to tell the story, and if we decided to focus on a certain event, a specific person, or even one family generation within it.

To help encourage and inspire our competition entries, Gill set us a series of tasks, for which we worked in small groups. These tasks including introducing an ancestor to group members via a brief introductory paragraph. We were then asked to work out different ways of saying ‘I Don’t Know’, as this may be useful if we are unclear of certain of facts in our written piece. This will also eliminate repetition is our writing. Finally, our speaker advised us to put our historical characters in a wider context, as this would be a useful reference point for the reader.

Many of Gill’s writing exercises then led to wider discussions within our group.

To see exclusive photos from this meeting please visit our Facebook page.

NWC next meets on 4th March when we will be welcoming Ashley Stokes, writer/tutor, and publisher with Unthank Books.

We look forward to seeing you then.