Monday, August 4, 2008

Starting your family stories

• Why write down your family stories

Sometimes we hear a story from someone like a grandparent. We think we will always remember it. Too bad it doesn’t work out that way. If we don’t have a way to hear or read the story once in a while, we will most likely forget the details of it. When you write down a story from your life, you capture it for people to read later. Just imagine how great it will feel for you years down the road when one of your own kids reads a story you wrote! You can give future generations a piece of yourself.

The other big deal about writing down stories is that somebody you know now may have a special story that lots of other people want to know. You know that most American families originated in another country some time ago. It might have been a very long time ago, or you might even remember it yourself. Either way, coming to America is a giant piece of the story about your family’s life.

• Getting started

Okay, so how do you get started writing stories about your Friends and Family (FAF)? The neat thing is that you can look at all the FAF people in your life. Then start with one special person. When you ask someone a bunch of questions and write down their answers, that is called an interview.

You can interview anyone - a friend, a family member, a neighbor or a teacher. It can be the Mayor, a shop keeper or a construction worker. It can be a police officer, a fireman, a minister or anyone else in your life. Just look at all the people around you and pick one to start with. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn about somebody by asking a few questions.

• Develop your detective skills

Every person has a story to tell. All you have to do is ask the right questions to find it. Think about how a detective or a newspaper reporter gets the real story. They ask lots and lots of questions. You can do it, too!

There is a whole list of sample questions at the end of this book. They will get you started when you are ready to interview your FAF subject. As you feel more at ease interviewing the person, you will think of even more question to ask. That is great! Dig in to get the best story from your subject.

• Looking at the funny side of the street

It’s fun when we look at the funny side of a story. See if you can tell the story so you have a funny ending to surprise people. Just be careful not to make fun of someone. You want to share something that made everyone laugh, or use a twist on words.

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