Telling your stories
This submission is one of an ongoing series of articles by members of the Glengarry Artists’ Collective-Collectif d’artistes de Glengarry.
Several years ago I gave a workshop on recording family stories, then turning them into books. The participants, aged from 10 to 70, had stories from becoming the proud owner of a little dog to living in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. All had something worth recording.
Spend time with your children or grandchildren creating a book of stories: here are a few ideas.
Don’t expect the kids to do all the writing. You write a story, too. Children will love a story about your childhood, or one about themselves that they can’t remember.
Choose a story you like to tell about yourself -- because it is funny or poignant.
Be prepared to write more than one draft. With the first draft, don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, the order, or anything. Write whatever comes to mind. Free writing it’s called, because you free yourself from fretting about grammar, spelling and organization.
Before revising this very rough first draft, think your way through the event. Remember what you smelled, tasted, heard or saw, how you felt or what you did, and what you thought and said. Make a list of things you could bring into your story.
Revise your story in light of new ideas generated through this brain-storming exercise.
Share your story aloud with your writing partners. As you read, notice if you need to clarify or where your listeners ask questions. Revise your story in light of this new feedback.
Creating Your Book
Print your story, leaving space for pictures. Illustrate it yourself or let your family do so. Scan images in at the appropriate places or paste them in.
Make cover pages for the front and back. Print the title on the front cover and illustrate it. Staple the pages together along the left margin so it makes a book.
Cut a two-inch strip of coloured paper the same length as your book. Cover it with glue (a glue stick works well) and place along the left edge to cover the staples front and back. There’s your book!
If your children don’t write yet, you be the recorder. Let them tell you exactly what to write. Resist the temptation to give advice. Print their stories, using big print -- 16 or 18 point. Again, leave blank spaces so they can illustrate their stories.
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