Monday, October 4, 2010
Think Your Family is Too Boring to Write About?
Odds are, that if you get an old box of fading photographs into the same room as older members of your family - stories will begin to fly. Even if no one can remember who in the world is in the photo! (Sometimes those are the best kind for writers - as you can let your imagination run away with you ...)
Everyone has a story. You may think your own life story is boring. And maybe today it is. However, your story uniquely interacts with all of the other story lines among your family and friends. Next time you feel writer's block creeping up on you, if you have time in your impending deadline ... dig out that box of photos gathering dust in your drawer or closet, and go hang out with your relatives or friends. Jot down a few of the more interesting tid bits revealed while you wax nostalgic about the 'good ole days'. Family stories are great for analyzing motivations for characters. Why did your great, great grandparents pack up their entire family and leave their home country to come to America? Why did Uncle Larry sell all of his tractors and move to Boston? Could you twist those elements of motivation into a new story, with new characters of your own? Go on, spice it up a little ...
In my family, Fall is traditionally when we have our family reunion. Because my grandfather is ailing we aren't having it this year. However, we've started digging through the family photos to distract him while he is hospitalized and oh what treasures we are finding! We've additionally made new contact with cousins in Hungary - reconnecting with a part of our family that we had lost for a time. What great story ideas are unfolding ...
May you all find buried treasures amidst your own dust-gathering photos that are worth borrowing ideas from!
- Suzanne Wesley