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AnneHartWrites

Anne Hart writes about books and niche news.

I love reading books. Since June 17,1959 I've been writing books, writing articles about books, writing articles about how to write books...writing more....and sometimes illustrating the covers of several of my books.

Expressive writing can become a novel or play

 

One way to relax when you're elderly or at any age is by listening to, writing, or illustrating Haiku poetry. Writing Haiku is one good way to de-stress and relax as a healthy trend. Like nature poems? Let's call it Psyche-U-Haiku, where you write in 5 - 7 - 5 = 17 syllables and in 3 - 5 - 3 = 11 syllables:

 

This sample Haiku page is called "Magical Thinking." Many decades ago, I dared earn a master's degree in writing fiction and poetry, including a thick book of poems for a master's thesis. It helped me obtain more flexibility in professional writing for the media and communication exercises in keeping the rhythm and syllables in order.

 

You also may wish to check out another author's site, "Writing haiku does more than improve writing."

 

Writing Haiku felt as if it were an act of juggling, keeping the objects in the air. But instead of creating the tension of juggling, the release of words flowed with ambient background music that glided at fewer than 60 beats a minute, a relaxing mode. Writing Haiku became more like photography of the imagination and imagery of nature for the eyes--one carpet or canvas of nature in its primal forms, like visualizing a rollaway moon. Take a look at the site, "How to write a haiku poem."

 

Writing visually in measured syllables for rhythm and imagery

 

As a way to coax the right hemisphere of the brain to use words usually coming from the left hemisphere as in journalistic writing for the mainstream media, writing poetry, even dialogue in Haiku seems to be conducive to want to set it to music or stepping as in Tai-Chi stepping or gliding with the instrumental music in the background. See the sites, "What is Haiku Therapy," "What is Haiku Therapy," and " Haiku Therapy."

 

For practice, you may want to write some Haiku to "loosen up" your word fluency as you write visually, as if in pictures. It's therapeutic for some people because if the flow or visual words becomes like applying paint to canvas, where words flow like photos of flowers, trees, and all the creatures of nature in the forests.

 

Here is my psyche-u-Haiku

The first six Haiku poems are in the rhythm of 5-7-5 syllables, totaling 17 syllables per poem. The second set of six Haiku poems are in the rhythm of 3-5-3 syllables, totaling 11 syllables.

 

If you'd like to sing my Haiku poems to your original music. Feel free to compose. Of course, these poems are copyright by me, Anne Hart. But you're welcome to at no cost to me set these lyrics to your own music and play it anywhere, as long as you acknowledge credit for these lyrics to me, Anne Hart.

 

Then again, if you don't compose or play music, or translate lyrics, enjoy reading the poems. Music is a healing tool as is rhythm, and the creation of these Haiku poems is a form of meditation, at least for me as an author. On the other hand, it makes use of my master's degree in creative writing emphasizing poetry, plays, and fiction, that I finally have made use of after all these long decades. At last, a therapeutic, healing application of creative writing here...so enjoy as ambient music plays in the background.

 

Haiku poems copyright by Anne Hart

 

Psyche-Haiku In 5 - 7 - 5 = 17 syllables

 

Magical Thinking


1. I will choose someone
Who will not be there for me…
Reasons of the past.


2. Give me connection.
Not until you get a break--
Our confirmation.


3. Magical thinking
I am as I am treated--
Strategies arise.


4. Work will become stuck.
I shall not be reassured--
Malnourished body.


5. The will may be strong.
An expression of the self--
Redeem the other.


6. Odiferous goals.
Distress of disconnection--
Search reassurance.


Haiku In 3 - 5 - 3 = 11 syllables


Tapestries on the Walls of Banks


1.Tapestries
I wove with bamboo
Wilt in banks.


2. Sob-shocked drums
Blazing artisans
Belly dance.


3. Dog lifts pup
Gnawed from newborn's cord
Web of blood.


4. Chocolate
Joy but waits its turn,
Bittersweet.


5. The sage grows
A gray skin of stones,
Forgiveness.


6. Rainforest,
Shy sneaker's trance dance
Boomerangs.

I hold a graduate degree (M.A.) in English/creative writing. At this date, I also have many how-to articles, short stories, a play, and some poems, online. Currently in print also are 87 of my 91books. Some of those titles may still be available at Amazon.com or at the publisher's site. Happy writing...and reading of so many of the world's books, listening to music, viewing art, and other inspiring/motivating nuances to pay forward kindness and joy. Here are some strategies on writing the historical novel and developing depth of character:

 

How to Write a Genre or Historical Novel and How to Develop Depth of Character in Your Fiction

 

Shallow, cardboard characters driven by unbelievable plots are gone. What sells currently in fiction is depth of character's personalities, commitment, and plots about making ancient roots contemporary. Mainstream novels and thrillers are in. For more information, you can browse my paperback novel, Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome: A Time-Travel Novel of Love as Growth of Consciousness and Peace in the Home.

 

The goal of today's manuscript doctor in fiction writing is to help writers avoid pitfalls that blindside your story's protagonist and could derail your manuscript. Instead of presenting your story's characters with shallow, stick-figure personalities, develop depth.

Start by slowly revealing growth, step-by-step. First your protagonist transcends past mistakes, bad decisions, and immature choices. Then he or she forgives and moves on to share confidence with others. Editors want to hear resilient voices rising in fiction dialog. Ethnography is in with mainstream fiction.

 

Here are the steps to take. Your main character, called the protagonist in your story, novel, or drama, gains depth through self-scrutiny. Editors need a system by which to judge your salable fiction. That system depends on the measured range of change of your main characters.

 

They derive that system from the simplest words describing your character's behavior found right in front of you, in your dictionary and thesaurus.

Divide your short story into three parts. Instead of calling those parts the beginning, middle, and end as you learned in literature classes, call your three parts foresight, insight, and hindsight.

 

Foresight

You show growth by taking a proverb and/or a quotation containing universal values and flesh it out-grow it like you grow crystals in a chemistry set. As you stretch out your proverb, fleshing it out as dialog and description, you will have set up the first part of your story, the beginning, or more precisely the foresight stage. It's about knowing growth will occur and having to make a choice about which path to take. You'll find plenty of proverbs in the Bible, in a published book of proverbs, or in a book of famous quotations from history.

 

Insight

The middle of your story is the insight stage. Ordinary people, including peers, colleagues, and neighbors making general conversation across lawns are responsible for words describing behavior, emotions, and personality traits. Those descriptions and observations end up in novels and thesauri.

 

Authors look at descriptions of behaviors or emotions, attitudes, and moods in dictionaries or thesauri. When you're looking for just the right word the dictionary is the prime source of definitions of personality preferences.

Then you look at proverbs to flesh out into a story focusing on the behavior traits of the specific personality type you want to target. That's one way you develop depth in a character in a work of fiction.

 

The other way is through inspiration and observation of real people in your environment that you fictionalize using as much accurate historical backgrounds as you can to make your fiction believable. If your fiction is believable it will hold attention better, even in a fantasy novel set in the far future or past. An example is "Star Wars" or "Valley of the Horses."

 

Hindsight

If your main character had one lesson to learn in life, what would it be? Your characters should reveal their personality traits through their behavior and actions. Let the character's personality unfold by example. Use simple words for dialog--words found in most dictionaries.

 

The gestures, patterns, and actions define behavior more than the words. Emotion is shown by tag lines. These lines reveal the character's attitude when any words are spoken. Tag lines prevent miscommunication. You can say, "He took a sudden interest in his shoes." But if you say, "He's shy." The word 'shy' is too abstract to define the behavior. You need to show what shyness looks like in one sentence. It's your pitch for your character in one line of action that presents the big picture of the protagonist's personality traits.

 

Your plot can be summed up in a proverb. Pick a proverb that is close to the theme or plot of your story. Then expand the proverb with dialog and actions. Describe surroundings.

 

Use action verbs, and adjectives for character, personality, attitude, and mood. Narrow your descriptive, behavioral "tag words" and tag lines to fourteen opposite concepts: feet on the ground or head in the clouds; sentimental or rational; traditional or change-oriented; decisive or explorative; impatient or patient; investigative or trusting; loner or outgoing.

 

Use action verbs to describe behavior or production, words such as designed, wrote, played, worked, or shopped.

 

For inspiration with action verbs, you might like to browse my book on action verbs for communicators titled, 801 Action Verbs for Communicators: Position Yourself First with Action Verbs for Journalists, Speakers, Educators, Students, Resume-Writers, Editors, ISBN : 0595319114. Before you write fiction, you need to define the behavior and personality of each main character, especially your protagonist and antagonist.

Those vernacular words from around the world end up in dictionaries and thesaurus, often translated into English language dictionaries, and most often focusing on a variety of personality aspects.

 

These definitions help me design tests. Use the vernacular to get the big picture of your protagonist's and antagonist's personalities. They should be opposite in personality and equal in strength. Don't take away their choices.

 

From the dictionary, make a list of personality traits and businesses that reflect the personalities of their owners. To get a handle on your main character's personality, break down conversation to the simplest parts of speech. Use descriptive words to describe the decisions your characters make.

 

Even water cooler gossip is a good source of listening to descriptive words that describe behavior or a company's mission. Describe personality traits by painting visual portraits with the simplest possible of definitions of behavior described by specific words. Listen to the emphasis people put on certain words. Does your character say one word marvelously or timorously?

 

What words are in your thesaurus describing a personality trait, style, attribute, mood, texture, or preference? How do dictionaries describe one aspect of personality, behavior, preference, or attitude? Is it based on observation by average people making casual conversation?

 

The more words you find in a dictionary describing how people talk or act or present their attitudes, the more important in that society a particular aspect of character is to the specific society and language. If you have writer's block, look at synonyms and antonyms and match them to your favorite proverb. Can they describe an anecdote?

Start your story with a 1,500 word vignette or anecdote and keep expanding the action as the characters' personalities drive the action forward and expand the events and their response to the events. Do they act or react to events or other people they meet or observe? Dictionaries contain the simplest definitions of human behavior described by people gossiping.

 

Simplicity in a novel, drama, or story means the story plot and actions of the main characters give you all the answers you were looking for in your life in exotic places, but found it close by. Your novel sells when it poses the least financial risk to the publisher.

Don't make up characters and sub-plots that are too complex for the average reader to understand and get the big picture with one reading. Emphasize simplicity.

Simplicity in a novel usually means the protagonist gets to stand on his or her two feet and put bread on the table because of commitment to family, faith, or friends. The salable novel or story has a moral point containing universal values that it is only right to pull your own weight and care for others, repair the world, and give charity while making your village or homestead a kinder and gentler place.

 

They key world in salable novel is "simplicity." Your story shows individual differences. But your main character is the backbone of the story. Characters should drive the plot. The plot doesn't drive the characters.

 

Emphasize commitment to responsibility. Give your protagonist social smarts at least by the end of the book. Any growth or change should reflect by the end of the story a rise in your main character's emotional quotient which is social maturity and responsibility.

Does your protagonist have empathy and compassion for others? Readers want to identify with an average person who also is a hero at least on the inside.

Fiction needs redemptive value to a universal audience. That's the most important point. Show step-by-step how your main character does the best he or she can do under the circumstances, with what he or she has. Show how your primary character grows enough to trust in his or her self-insight.

 

Use frequent dialog peppered between descriptions where the dialog is followed by action that shows each obstacle your character needs to overcome in a reduced amount of time. A salable novel is simple and cinematic, but not so cinematic to look like you couldn't sell your movie script and turned it into a novel by adding descriptions between the lines of dialog.

 

Don't make it so obvious that a script reader could spot the technique. That's where the use of proverbs enters. Use the proverb in a one liner in plain language. Then flesh out the proverb into action.

 

Don't let blind spots derail your writing career or your protagonist's goal of growth and a measurable range of change by the end of the story. The idea of measuring the range of change has been taught in numerous scriptwriting classes during the last decade.

Fiction competes with the entertainment industry. It's show business. But fiction also is used to gain insight. What acquisition editors look for is how believable your story is. Publishers want to see how your writing reveals blind spots in an intense environment.

Fiction is purchased to help readers make sense of ourselves.

 

In a thriller, the characters juggle conflicts. Your main character is being pressed and pressured in a tightening vice. He or she is caught between the push from regimented working life with its priorities-- and the pull from family responsibilities. Put your characters in this stew. Then pressure the protagonists with reduced time in which to make a great decision without taking away their choices.

 

The goal within each of your chapters in a mainstream novel is to highlight the important blind spots that exist within the core or personality of your protagonist and antagonist. One example would be overlooking important details under the pressures of reduced time when making decisions.

 

The measurable result is that the act of overlooking some important detail derails the protagonist's career early on. This could be your opening chapter. A salable short story nowadays offers a rich portrait of how a character stands up under stress, deals with conflicts, makes connections, communicates, solves problems, gets measurable results, and lives happily ever after. (Or at least the reader is left to believe there can be a sequel.)

 

The editor, publisher, or agent looking at your manuscript is really looking for a reliable system built into your story or novel to validate concepts of what sold well in the past-a best seller. Remember that your book is salable only so much as it poses the least financial risk to the publisher. Avoid tautology when writing dialog. The kiss of death is to have the characters speak about the same idea using different words throughout the manuscript.

 

The editor is looking for a tangible product rather than an intangible idea to sell to readers. Your characters must show confidence and have their own voices of resilience. Usually if you write one novel and sell it to a publisher, you get a contract to write two to four more to make it a trilogy or a series of five novels . The publisher wants to see endurance in you and in each of your characters if you are assigned a contract to write three to five more novels.

 

Editors want to see how each character makes sense of his or her world in your fiction. How reliable are you to write a series of novels or stories on the same theme, perhaps using the same characters? How reliable are the characters in your fiction to come up with a series of stories or novels using the same characters set in the same era with different plots?

 

What's selling now in mainstream fiction? Growing in popularity are sagas and novels of deep ancestry. Because of the human genome project and the popularity of DNA-driven genealogy, novels set against a background of phylogeography and exploration are becoming

 

popular, as in the mainstream novel with a hint of romantic suspense and the time countdown pacing of a thriller titled, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time.

You might wish to look at the new tools that complement the evidence of the past in a novel set in contemporary times. Novels and tales about how we decipher the details carried in our genes open literary doors. Combine fiction with science written simply as a gripping story.

 

How to Write a Chapter Outline and Your Plan for a Historical Novel

Historical novels have a beginning, middle, and end like all stories and dramas. They also need a platform-visible expertise. But how the beginning, middle, and end are divided up and equally balanced in the planning stage may determine whether your novel will be salable to most mainstream publishers.

 

There's a precise but hidden formula for planning, organizing, and writing salable historical novels. The formula applies only if you're writing for most mainstream publishers of popular historical fiction. Publishers can change and vary their requirements. So check with them before you write anything. You can find a list of publishers of historical fiction in most listings of writers' markets either online or in book and magazine listings.

 

Begin with your public or university librarian to make a list of 50 publishers of historical fiction that you will query. When you get a go-ahead to send your manuscript or an outline and sample chapters from the publisher, here's how to start your plan before your even begin to write your fiction proposal. Many publishers do not require an agent. If you contact those requiring an agent, you can send the fiction proposal, three sample chapters, and an outline of your plan.

 

To begin actually writing an historical novel, begin first with the dialog as if you were writing a radio or stage play. Instead of writing in camera angles or lighting or sound effects, you'll fill in your description. Use dialog as the framework or skeleton of your historical novel.

 

Then build your action scenes around the dialogue with description and tag lines. You use tag lines to describe body gestures, emotional mood, and behavior. Tag lines are used in novels and stories to let the reader know the character's attitude and tone of voice.

 

For example, you can say he sniffed the roast, but you won't know what he thought of the roast unless you add a tag line in your dialogue such as, "Joe sashayed into the restaurant at closing time, sniffed the roast plangently, and wailed a mournful sound of delight like the breaking of waves." Now you know how he felt as he smelled the food in the restaurant.

 

Genres of Historical Fiction

The six genres within historical fiction divide into social history, exploration-adventure, biography, intrigue-suspense, sagas, and historical romance. Children's, women's, specific age group appeal novels including young adult's historical fiction also fall into these six genres, including family sagas spanning generations. In young adult fiction, the word length usually runs about 40,000 words. The appropriate page count of the usual adult historical fiction tome may run 75,000 to 100,000 words. Young adult family sagas are shorter in word length, about half the size of adult historical family or adventure sagas.

 

Biographical fiction runs from 50,000 to 70,000 words. And historical suspense, thrillers, or mystery tomes run about 60,000 words. Historical sagas set in ancient or medieval times can run 100,000 to 120,000 words, depending upon what word count the publisher prefers and can afford to publish. Historical fantasy is another category that falls under the fantasy fiction genre rather than historical fiction which usually is based on social history.

 

Dividing the Twenty-Four Chapters of a Historical Novel into Push and Pull of Conflict

Historical novels are divided into 12 chapters of dialog and description that push the plot forward and 12 chapters of dialog and description that pull the tension and conflict backwards. The even-numbered chapters create more problems to solve and additional growth and change for your main characters.

 

Even-numbered chapters show results that can be measured in each character's inner growth, reflection, emotions, dialog, behavior, frame of mind, mood, attitude, tag lines, and arc of change. Odd-numbered chapters are devoted to descriptions of locations, dates and times, geography, folklore, customs, habits, ethnology, nuances, settings, ceremonies, adventure, explorations, coming of age rituals, travel, descriptions of village life, cooking, costumes, warfare, military and social history backgrounds. For every action in a historical novel, there's an equal and opposite reaction.

 

The Twelve Even-Numbered Chapters

Divide your historical novel into 24 chapters. Number those chapters on your outline and plan. Next separate 12 even-numbered chapters from the 12 odd-numbered. On the even numbered chapters write your character's dialog showing the rise of dramatic tension, the conflict, the push-and pull of any relationships or romance.

 

Your characters in a historical novel need to solve a problem and show the reader the results, the range of change, and their inner growth. What protagonists think of themselves in their social history context are shown in the even chapters. How they act toward others showing how they have grown by the midpoint of your story and finally by the ending chapter belongs in the 12 even-numbered chapters.

 

Write your character's dialog within the even-numbered chapters showing descriptions, locations, settings, scenes, action, adventure, and exotic descriptions of ceremonies, rituals, and significant life story highlights or turning points and events that animate your writing-make the writing come alive with sparkle, charisma, and the dash of adventure.

 

The Twelve Odd-Numbered Chapters

If you're writing an historical thriller, the odd-numbered pages get the physical action such as the ticking clock or count down to the high point of your novel. In historical mysteries, thrillers, and intrigue, the ticking clock is more like a ticking bomb.

 

Time evaporates at a faster and faster rate the farther you read into the book. The pace speeds up dramatically using more conflict and action where the characters need speedier reaction times with each advancing chapter as you head toward the middle point of your story.

 

Let the characters drive your plot forward. That's how you illustrate the illusion of the count-down and create the push and pull tension in a historical novel.

It's the same technique used in a thriller, without the historical attributes, settings, and costume drama or historical dialects and props, such as a setting at Versailles in the 18th century. Historical novels portray character-driven plots.

 

Begin Your First Chapter by Writing the Dialog

Your first chapter-chapter one-is an odd-numbered chapter. Here's the chapter where you put your setting, props, and descriptions. You're staring at a blank page. What do you write as your first sentence? Ask yourself what is your main character's payoff or reward in the book?

 

Is his or her reward to understand and control nature in order to become rich and powerful, run away from unbearable duty, get recognition, be remembered, and make an impact, or be loved and also be the center of attention?

You can break down your protagonist's goal or life purpose into four categories: control, duty, attention, and impact. To avoid writer's block on that blank first page, you write 90 seconds of dialog. Read it in 90 seconds aloud to a digital recorder. Play it back. How smooth does it sound to your ears?

 

Do real people talk that way? Is your setting and dialog believable? After the first line of dialog, put in some of your background settings, dates, geography, action, and other props belonging in the odd-numbered chapters. Start a conversation between two characters. Then have them answer the questions or pose a new question by the end of the first page. Don't put everything on the first page.

 

Introduce your novel a little at a time to readers. Don't give the whole story away in the first chapter. In your outline, put in chapter summaries and headlines, not the whole story. Put your plan down after the first chapter.

 

Never start a historical novel with people in transit. Begin when they arrive at their new destination or write a historical novel that takes place entirely on the ship and end it when they step off the plank at their destination.

 

After you have your first page of dialogue written, insert in between the dialog the descriptions of geography, location, dates, foods, costumes, room descriptions, and anything else you will be putting into your odd chapters, usually falling on the right side of the book pages.

 

That's where the right eye travels first in a right-handed person. Then you write the first chapter as if it were act one of a 24-minute play, but don't put in any stage directions or sound effects. In fact, each of your chapters can total 24 pages. You're aiming for balance. Beware of short and long chapters in an historical novel or any story or drama.

Keep in mind attention span. The average attention span of a reader is seven minutes, same as the attention span for viewing video.

 

That's why commercials are inserted at every 10 minute break. The human brain needs a pause every 90 seconds to recharge. Knowing those elements of time, keep your scene segments changing every seven minutes and pausing for a change every 90 seconds of average reading time. Usually it takes a minute to read one page.

Your entire book would be 24 chapters. So keep the number 24 in mind as your yardstick. The pages don't have to be exact, of course, but you need to balance your chapters so that one chapter is not much longer than any other.

 

Instead, you describe in animated language, the geographic setting and the century or date. Animated language is written by using action verbs-designed, wrote, built, cured, vaccinated, or fired or ....as in "The charivari and consonance of healing frequencies fired from the klaxon's usual noise."

 

Avoid Tautology

Animate historical writing by avoiding tautology which means: don't repeat the same ideas using different words. How many words a publisher wants varies with each publisher. It costs less to publish a 50,000 word book than a book twice that size. Historical young adult novels run about 40,000 words. Historical novels can be family sagas that read as if they were talking maps and family atlases.

 

Begin your planning stage of your outline by first compiling your plot and the names of your character, dates, customs, ethnography, social history, biography, and folklore in a computer file folder. Keep at least two backup copies on CDs and also printed out on paper in case your computer crashes or your files are lost.

 

Buy a 3-ring loose leaf notebook for your paper copies. In the binder place all materials related to your book in progress. When the book is published, you'll need a second loose leaf notebook binder to keep track of publicity, press releases, reviews, contracts, and correspondence from your publisher and from the media. Place those little one-inch binder insert covers or tabs to label each chapter of your book.

 

Don't leave your book on the screen. Print out each chapter to edit and revise in the loose leaf note book. Put the book's title on the spine. Put into your note book plastic inserts.

 

Attach a tab to label your notes on research for historical accuracy. Put another tab for your synopsis, plan, outline, summarized chapters with chapter headings, and other notes. In another loose leaf notebook after the book is published, do the same type of labeling with plastic inserts and tabs for your editing, contracts, reviews, promotions, publicity press interviews, spinoff articles, history fact-checking, and royalty notices.

Keep your two notebooks in a metal filing cabinet, and keep copies of the same in your computer.

 

One format will back up the other format. If your computer fails, you have everything printed out on paper and two or three CD copies of everything in a fire-proof metal filing cabinet or box. When your editor calls, you can find anything in moments if you label your chapters and other materials and keep them close by.

 

After your book is published your second notebook will track royalties, reviews, the book cover design information or ideas, editing/revisions, query letters, and research of your potential market of readers or age groups and ethnic associations interested in the historical novel.

 

Historical novels are about looking for answers to solve problems and get results in exotic places, but finding simple answers were right under your fingers. You want to emphasize universal values such as commitment to family and friends, caring for one another, repairing social ills and sickness, earning a living and becoming independent, supporting your children and keeping the family together against all odds, or finding freedom, faith and values, in the virtues of finding and being accepted a new home land.

Another genre in historical fiction is the family saga.

 

The saga may be fictionalized but it reads like biography. Fictional sagas use action verbs in the dialogue. They read almost like a drama. And the action verbs animate the writing. The opposite of animated writing is flat writing, where passive verbs weaken the story. Historical novels become weaker when the plot drives the characters.

 

The characters should drive the plot faster and faster to a conclusion where problems are solved or conflicts resolved. You have closure at the end for the characters. Or they transcend past mistakes and rise above them. The last chapter gives the characters a type of choice and balance they did not have at the beginning of the book. The characters grow.

 

They change with the times and inspire the reader. Or they are heroes because of sticking to their purpose and commitment.

 

The protagonists don't abandon their family or friends. But if they make mistakes, they find closure in rising above the mistakes by seeing more possibilities in the simple answers instead of the complex ones. Simplicity of answers close by is the formula for the historical novel that emphasizes growth and change for the better.

 

Before you write your plan, make a map or family atlas of your characters and summarize their problems and personalities in two paragraphs. Draw them on a map and point to how they relate to or interact with other characters and how they influence the other characters and the results. Read the book title, Silk Stockings Glimpses of 1904 Broadway, or A 19th Century Immigrant's Love Story. It shows how a love story intertwines with a historical novel that can be both a social history, romance novel, and historical novel or family saga rolled into one published book.

 

Write Two Scenes for Each Chapter

Your first chapter will consist of two scenes. Write those two scenes before sending them out to a publisher in an outline which usually asks for three sample chapters and an outline summary of one chapter (summarized by two paragraphs) for each of the 24 chapters of your book. Almost all mainstream novels consist of two scenes per chapter. Take apart any mainstream novel, and you'll see those two distinctive scenes in each chapter.

 

Within each chapter you'll have one scene of interaction between two characters or a character and his or her family and one action scene. So keep this formula in mind: one relationship scene and one action scene. It has been said by published authors in the past decade and repeated at talks and seminars where published authors speak to other authors repeating this formula.

 

When you first plan your historical novel, separate the relationship side from the action side. First summarize the relationship side and then do the same for the action side. Then bring both together in one chapter. In every relationship scene and in every action scene, you will have your characters interacting together.

 

You need to make a laundry list in your plan of what happens specifically on the relationship side. Then in your odd-numbered chapters, you will fill in the plot side, the mystery side, the action side, the geography, costume, food, ethnography, travel and ballroom or battlefield side.

 

What you don't want to do is have all even-numbered chapters where characters do nothing but talk or all odd-numbered chapters where characters don't speak to each other and just travel the roads or sail the seas or fight the wars. No, that's just the way you outline your plan, your skeleton. Now you bring the relationship scenes together and the action scenes together and put them interplaying in each chapter. At this point, you'll start writing your book. In the actual book, the reader will not see a difference between the odd and even chapters.

 

It's in your planning stage that you separate each set of 12 chapters totaling 24 chapters. So when you finally bring the chapters together to weave them slowly, what you have left is an historical mainstream novel with "two scenes per chapter, one relationship scene and one action scene," as it has been said by numerous published authors speaking at writer's seminars or meetings.

 

The quote I heard most often from popular published novelists emphasized that "Your protagonists interact together in the relationship and action scenes." What you do plan for in your historical mainstream novel is writing 24 chapters.

 

Your first step is to write up a plan that shows chapter by chapter exactly what is happening, changing, and moving the plot forward on the relationship side and on the plot or action side. Then you have to balance relationship and dialogue against plot or action. When the two sides are in balance as if on a seesaw, you have a salable historical mainstream novel.

 

In your plan, you'd have two columns, one for scenes with relationships showing communication, connection, and interaction using dialog. And in your other column, you'd describe your plot using scenes depicting action and adventure.

This is the best way to organize your novel before you sit down to write. It's set up so you can get a handle on what you're doing and find any scene or chapter quickly to do fact checking with actual historical events.

 

When you've picked apart your book's main points, results, and are able to show how the characters solved problems leading to growth and change, commitment, closure, or transcending past choices and taking alternative paths, you have arrived at a point in organization where every turning point or significant event and relationship or social history highlight is labeled and filed. Now that you have organized the details, it's time to flesh out your story.

 

Historical Novels Spring from Proverbs

Where do you get your storyline? You begin with a proverb related to the history your depicting. Look at a book of proverbs. Choose one. Flesh out the proverb into a story. Take a course in storytelling or read a book on how to be a storyteller.

Note most fairy tales and historical stories are built around proverbs with ageless, universal values and truths or are related to a culture's folklore and history. You can also use a proverb from the Bible or from any other similar book of any religion. Use an indigenous culture's proverbs or those from ancient cultures or hidden histories. You can write a historical novel about military dog, cat, or horse heroes.

 

Your story line can come out of a proverb or familiar quotation based on still older proverbs of any culture. If you need a plot, a proverb is the first place to look for inspiration or a start. Many novelists use proverbs as inspiration to write one-sentence pitch lines for their novels.

 

Before you write anything, summarize the pitch line of your book in one sentence. Pretend you were selling your novel to a movie producer. Pitch the book in ten seconds or less using one sentence. Here's one example used many times in lectures by scriptwriting course professors, "Star Trek is Wagon Train in outer space." Perhaps your historical novel resembles various popular cultures placed in a new context.

Writing news releases about software and corporate case history success stories

Some companies pay up to $500 or more for freelancers to write news releases of about one and a half pages each focusing on why one company switched its software to another company's software. That's the most important question to answer (for clarification) in writing a software corporate case history success story news release -- is why did one company switch its software from one brand to another? You also may wish to check out my YouTube video lecture online, "How to Write Corporate Case Histories and Success Stories." Or see the book by Anne Hart, 101+ Practical Ways to Raise Funds: A Step-by-Step Guide with Answers.

 

Are you interested in writing corporate case history success stories reviewing software and geek culture where you tell the reader why one company switched from one brand of software to the other? You can earn money writing one and a half page press releases on the latest software freelancing for emerging and established software corporations. Many of these companies also will send you free software to review or test.

 

Usually the news releases are kept in a large book or electronic file to send copies of to the media

 

Here's how to review software in news releases and write corporate case history success stories for software companies and the geek culture industry. Also, check out my YouTube video lecture online, "How to Write Corporate Case Histories and Success Stories."

 

To possibly get free software, start reviewing software for trade publications. If you have reviews on your website send those to some of those free throwaway computer publications. You can be a corporate case history success story interviewer and/or reviewer.

 

Readers want measurable results, to learn how a problem was solved, and to follow the guidelines step-by-step in a way that's easy to understand at first glance

 

The important point is you're not giving your own subjective opinion in the news release, but instead are interviewing company managers as to why they switched brands and to state exactly what the new brand of a product accomplished. The result would be a press release that also contained guidelines readers could easily follow--step-by-step--regarding what worked better and why.

 

Emphasis in writing the type of news release (press release) about software needs to focus on the ease of operation, why one client switched from a previous company's software to the present company's software, ease of use, and measurable results. Readers want to know what improved when the new software was put into action.

 

That's why a simple press release of one and a half pages in length also can be expanded to a longer corporate case history success story that emphasizes measurable results of what happened when one company switched to the other company's latest software and how the specific problem was solved or measurable results were shown. And it can be further expanded into a gift book for the corporation's anniversary or other event. Some press releases on why one company switched to another company's software end up as manuals or gift books on success story case histories of the company's software and the specific problems the software solved.

 

Emphasize what the brand switch accomplished in your corporate case history success story interview

You would write corporate case histories emphasizing why one company switched to a different software brand and how did it work out, focusing on success stories. To receive assignments, start by showing software companies the news clips of your publications and ask for free software review copies.

 

Create stationary and a service whereby you review software and books by interviewing people who use a particular software brand or instructional book. Your most important question would be to ask them why they switched software brands (or any other product) and precisely what did the new software (or other product) accomplish that the old software did not.

 

The result would be a corporate success story in the form of a news release about 1 and 1/2 pages in length

To do your independent contractor work, you’ll get free software and books or other products to review and keep. Always send a tear sheet of the published review to the corporation who sent you the free product to review.

 

With the review copies of the software, you can print business cards. Keep a review Web site and ask for review copies of books, audio books, software, or anything else to review. You get to keep the product. The manufacturer gets a published review on your Web site and in a few publications to which you send the reviews.

 

You can eventually even sell the books online, for example, on eBay as used books after you review them and generate more money. Keep it legal and obey the rules of the software or book publisher.

 

Form a chain of services and products you can do for others and sell later with their permission. That way you can hold your head high and be proud of helping others, obeying their rules, and generating income for yourself while you live on less.

You begin by writing corporate success stories. Then ask to be appointed as a freelance case history manager by a software manufacturing company or book publisher, including e-books or print formats.

 

You have a good chance of receiving free software and/or books to review. Some companies might pay you up to $500 for every one and a half page news media release you write based on telephone interviews with clients and customers of the software manufacturer who had successfully switched from another brand to the corporation’s brand of software.

 

Writing corporate success stories as news releases for software and book publishers

 

Your interview questions should be based on the results, problems solved, and step-by-step directions on how they tweaked their computers so that production increased. The objective would need to focus on writing about what successes resulted from switching to the new software.

 

The brief articles or news releases need to emphasize results obtained from the new software. When you interview for a software corporate success story that also emphasizes a software review, ask the following questions: “Why did you switch, when, where, how, who, and what?” Answers would be emailed to you after you sent those questions, or could be answered by phone, and with permission, recorded.

Then you need to type (keyboard), edit, and save on disc the recorded responses.

 

To get approval, you'd need to email the edited responses to the publisher, public relations director, and/or to the person you've just interviewed. The articles or press releases would be about one-and-one-half page in length. You also could write this type of review for various trade and industrial journals.

 

Write for the public relations director of software manufacturing firms

 

Once the corporation’s public relations director gave a go-ahead, you usually would send the article back to the software manufacturer’s public relations and marketing communications directors. This freelance work could provide a pretty good income for someone working part-time online at home--while it lasts. Not all software companies stay in business over a long period of time, but there are exceptions.

 

Benefits include the joy of writing, talking about intellectually stimulating subjects, income based on each page of submitted finished work, and a steady stream of people to interview from a wide variety of occupations. You'd focus on writing corporate success stories.

 

You might develop this media through techno-culture ‘business’ by emailing software manufacturers to let them know you're available to write corporate success stories and case histories they could collect and hand out to selected media who would then take the articles and turn them into business or feature stories for major media publications.

 

Business cards might read, "corporate case history success stories."

 

Pare down words to bare bones in a news release or interview piece. In return the software manufacturer usually mails you business cards with your name above the title, “case history manager.” The interviewing, writing, and editing experience can show you how to pare down words to bare bones for one-and-a-half page news media releases. Later, you could offer media release writing services for the current freelance fee.

 

In this way, you can then build up a list of contacts who approved what you write. There are benefits to being a freelance public relations writer of corporate success stories based on case histories. You eventually connect with the credible media and professional journalists’ associations. Rapport is by phone and email.

 

Final step is to create a plan, budget, and map covering online conferencing

 

By moving along this route of connections and online conferencing, create a plan, budget, and map of how and why one or more companies switched to different software. Then write the results in the news release, usually in the first or second paragraph.

Writing corporate success stories as news releases can help you to generate writing income in a hurry. Start with the following basic seven pieces of equipment, including a telephone pickup device for recording two-way voice phone conversations (always with permission).

You'll need seven pieces of equipment to start

 

You’ll need a computer microphone or any type of voice recording device plugged into the jack on your telephone. Use the fastest Internet access hookup you can afford, such as DSL.

 

You’ll need a computer, laser printer, camcorder, DVD re-write drive, and software. Companies gave me everything else such as software, books, or audio books to review.

Your job would be to publicize these software manufacturing and publishing companies’ products by writing articles for the media. You would write news releases for the manufacturer’s own corporate communications departments or publications.

 

Readers want easy-to-follow step-by-step guidelines

 

Take everything step-by-step and keep applications practical so readers can follow your guidelines step-by-step. Readers want clear-to-understand guidelines they can easily follow to get similar results. What you'd write about when you ask interview questions would be the tangible, long-term benefits which is what will sell.

Plan for surprises, explore them, and work around and with them. And develop your creativity towards a goal of inspiring others. Budget time before you budget money. List everything that you really like to do. What energizes you the most for the long term? What drains you?

 

Writing news releases for new and established software manufacturers that specialize in a particular type of software can be rewarding because you'll learn a lot from the people you interview. Feedback from people you interview is one of the best teachers of what works well when writing reviews. And it's one more way to obtain free copies of software, books, how-to videos or other publications and instructional or promotional materials.

 

30+ brain-exercising creativity coach businesses to start.

Some companies pay up to $500 or more for freelancers to write news releases of about one and a half pages each focusing on why one company switched its software to another company's software. That's the most important question to answer (for clarification) in writing a software corporate case history success story news release -- is why did one company switch its software from one brand to another?

 

Are you interested in writing brief corporate case history success stories reviewing software and geek culture? You can earn money writing one and a half page press releases on the latest software freelancing for emerging and established software corporations. Many of these companies also will send you free software to review or test.

Usually the news releases are kept in a large book or computer file to send copies of to the media

 

Here's how to review software in news releases and write corporate case history success stories for software companies and the geek culture industry. Readers want measurable results, to learn how a problem was solved, and to follow the guidelines step-by-step in a way that's easy to understand at first glance.

 

That's why a simple press release of one and a half pages in length also can be expanded to a longer corporate case history success story that emphasizes measurable results of what happened when one company switched to the other company's latest software and how the specific problem was solved or measurable results were shown.

Social Smarts Strategies That Earn Free Book Publicity: Don't Pay to Market Your Writing, by Anne Hart

 

Social Smarts Strategies That Earn Free Book Publicity: Don't Pay to Market Your Writing by Anne Hart

 

Empathy and social smarts help you earn free book publicity by connecting you with key people, media, schools, and the publications of nonprofit agencies. As a writer, you can promote your own book and earn free book publicity by connecting key people, media, and nonprofits' newsletters with schools.Social intelligence used in book promotion is like a three-ring circus. Use empathy, that is people smarts, as a catalyst to bring together schools, nonprofit agencies, and authors. Observe, simplify, and offer commitment as charisma. The paperback book is listed at this date at Amazon.com.

 

Query editors of nonprofit publications

 

These nonprofit agencies often publish high-circulation newsletters and sometimes also publish sizable, glossy magazines. Some produce videos or documentaries. To connect with the nonprofit agencies' editors, use your social intelligence skills to make connections in the nonprofit agencies' public relations and communications departments. Join public relations societies, national associations, and help out the nonprofit agencies or organizations of your choice focusing on what gets published in their magazines or newsletters.

 

 

If you want to earn free publicity for your book, supply these editors with facts, findings, and trends. Bring the nonprofits in contact with schools. When you talk to school assemblies or classrooms, relate your book topic to any specific work or project done by a nonprofit association for whom you could write an article for that association's newsletter or glossy magazine.

 

Use social intelligence to connect to people. What you need to earn free publicity is self-awareness and an understanding of how the main topic of your book influences your own behavior and how others perceive your behavior.

 

See the book on Amazon.com at: http://www.amazon.com/Social-Smarts-Strategies-That-Publicity/dp/0595392210/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408653512&sr=8-1&keywords=social+smarts%2C+anne+hart

 

One of the best ways to publicize

One of the best ways to publicize, promote, and market your book is to write a syllabus
 
Here's how to write a syllabus. You also may wish to teach an online or in-person course related to the topic of your book. But before you can organize a course, you need a syllabus. And the syllabus and course, in turn, helps to launch your book in the media and get free publicity -- even before it's published.

 

Require students to purchase the book when you do have it published or printed or put on a DVD or CD as a audio or video narration of your writing. The easiest way to start is by writing a syllabus for a course. Teach the contents of the book in a how-to course. What’s your hobby or field of expertise? My usual full-time working day emphasizes genealogy journalism and personal history research. Check out 50 of my 91 book covers on the Examiner.com photo slideshow. (I no longer write for Examiner.com as I've retired after writing at least 7,244 articles online). Wishes of joy and fond memories.

 

I'm going to be age 80 soon enough and want to write on topics I enjoy when I want to write online. At least on my own blog, at my age, I finally have some semblance of control over the topics chosen about which to write and for how many hours and how many days I wish to write. Now back to writing on some topics of joy to me: family history and visual anthropology.

 

Writing your course syllabus

 

Let's say your topic is family history, genealogy, or visual anthropology and producing, viewing, and reviewing documentaries. Here's how to write a course syllabus or teach online to market your book in the media. The objective is to get free publicity in the mainstream or niche media, attract a potential reader audience, and launch your book even before it's published.

 

If your field relates to personal history or genealogy, here’s how to write a syllabus to teach online (or in person) a genealogy course. You can train or teach at a variety of levels. One way to attract teachers is to ask to be a guest speaker in a school classroom, even at the kindergarten level or in a senior citizen center where lectures are given or videos are shown, or there are book clubs or life story highlight recording sessions.

 

A conference room of a public library is a good start

Starting your own classes and reserving a conference room in a library, church social hall, or community center don’t require degrees or credentials, only expertise. Nothing lets you learn a subject better than if you have to teach it to beginners.

If you don’t like teaching face-to-face or training employees in a work setting, teach online from your Web site. Or apply to teach a course in something you can do well at online educational sites such as blackboard.com. Read online education publications such as the Virtual U Gazette. Check out the Get Educated.com site.

 

You learn more from your students’ feedback than you ever learned from books in a variety of areas related to writing and publishing. The first step is to write a great syllabus that convinces others to hire you to teach a subject related to the information in your book. This technique works well with nonfiction, how-to or self-help books.

If your book is a novel, your course syllabus might emphasize plotting the novel or marketing and promotion.

 

To sell your book in this type of class, you’d use each chapter to teach how to write “tag lines,” emotions and behaviors in a novel, or portions of your novel as tools for fiction writers in the genre of your book—such as plotting the mystery or romance novel.

You’d use passages to teach consistency and transitions that move the plot forward and show how the characters grow and change or the romantic tension. A similar technique of “teaching the process” would be used if you wrote plays, poetry, or cinematic scripts. A syllabus helps you get hired and/or to recruit students so you can sell your book and teach a class or train a group of people either online or in person. You can adapt this syllabus plan and format to the subject of your book in nearly any field.

 

How to write a syllabus

 

Instead of ‘genealogy,’ just substitute the concept and framework of your own book. Here’s how to write a syllabus. A short course may be taught online or arranged in any room available from a church basement to a library conference room.

A seminar can last a few hours. A lengthy course can be planned for an entire semester at any level in adult education, for college extended studies programs, or at community centers. You need experience in your area of expertise, and a published book helps your credibility. If you’re teaching a course in a community college or university for college credit you’d need a graduate degree.

 

For public school you’d also need a teaching credential unless your expertise level is the equivalent. Teaching vocational education and using your book as instructional text is more flexible. You can teach in the extended studies (not for credit) department of universities and community colleges based on experience. Credentials in your field of work are helpful to get you hired, but without them, start your own course online or from an available room.

 

You can share a rented room to teach the course with other trainers or teachers

Least expensive is to teach at your Web site and sell your book online to students. At the end of the course, give them a certificate in the subject you’ve taught related to your book. Require students to buy your book, and use it throughout the course.

One of the easiest ways to get hired to teach a course is to offer one in genealogy and/or personal history, if you have done your research on how genealogists find their information. Since you have written a book, can you now call yourself an expert?

 

If genealogy, personal history, oral history, social history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, creative writing, early handwriting, or journalism interests you, a beginner’s course in genealogy attracts people interested in where their ancestors came from and how they lived, ate, and played. Classes often fill up quickly.

 

People like to take courses where they can learn about themselves and their families’ life styles. Genealogy courses work well online, at social, ethnic, and religious clubs, and at senior centers. So here’s how to begin writing a syllabus for a genealogy course.

Your first genealogy course syllabus expands the four keys of genealogy research: identity, name, date information was recorded, locality, and kinship. How you organize, edit, and write a genealogy course syllabus often determines whether you’ll be hired to teach a course in genealogy for beginners.

 

If you’re a genealogist or want to promote your genealogy-oriented book or journalistic skills, teach a course in genealogy. Genealogy courses rely on verifiable details. Accidental or intentional alterations by scribes can dramatically affect information. Courses that go on year after year are evaluated by students as excellent.

 

Genealogists are concerned about accurate reproduction of texts or entry of information

 

For generations, most public family history entries were hand copied by government record clerks, clergy, and scribes deeply influenced by cultural, political, and theological disputes of their day.

 

Your syllabus can help students look for mistakes and intentional changes in surviving records. Can the original names be reconstructed? Genealogy course content also includes the social history of where and why these changes were made and how family historians go about reconstructing what might be the original names, relationships, and records as closely as possible.

 

Use your syllabus as a tool to outline your course

Students want an easy-to-follow syllabus. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word ‘syllabus’ as an outline of a course of study. It’s a table of contents with a schedule of topics, not a book proposal.

 

Your syllabus also needs to cover how to find records of hard-to-trace people, such as clergy. How would you direct students who want to trace nuns, priests, ministers, rabbis, pastors, or other religious workers and volunteers?

 

Genealogy courses given in churches’ social halls sometimes attract those who want to trace difficult-to-find genealogy records of clergy. Old books make excellent genealogy sources. Other primary sources to trace clergy or religious educators include College Alumni Records , The Clergy Lists , Crockford's Directories , Fasti Ecclesiae, Anglicanae, Parish Registers, Bishop's Records, Censuses, and County Directories.

 

A genealogy course syllabus for beginners includes answers to one of the most frequently asked questions: How do you find female ancestors and solve identity problems when maiden surnames didn’t appear on the death certificates? Before you try to organize and write a syllabus, first list topics you’ll cover in your syllabus.

 

Planning Your Syllabus

 

List all obvious items. Keep this list next to your blank syllabus page. Then list items often omitted from a syllabus for a beginning course in genealogy. Compare your syllabus with other genealogy course outlines that have received great student evaluations. Your clue is whether the course is repeated year after year. There are several copyrighted genealogy course outlines on the Internet to peruse. Use them only for comparison and motivation. Keep your syllabus unique to your own course. Make a list of resources to be used in your own course before you begin writing your syllabus.

 

Resources List

 

Social History (brief)

 

Genealogy sources created by women and some men:

 

Diaries, journals, letters, postcards, family Bibles, heirlooms, artifacts, oral history, legislative petitions, atypical sources, published family histories, cemetery records, tombstone inscriptions or rubbings, church records, censuses, military records, hospitals, orphanages, institutions, sanitariums, passenger arrival lists, city directories, notaries’ records, voter lists/registrations, pensions, widows’ pension applications/civil war, orphans and guardianship records, land records, marriage records, medical records, Eugenics Record Office, (ERO), social data, midwives’ journals, doctors’ journals, asylums, divorce records, wills, probate, court records, school records, ethnic sources, codicils, ethnic/religious hospital records, naturalization laws.

 

After you compile this list, put it aside to refer to as you write your syllabus. Begin outlining the syllabus by starting with the course information, instructor information, text or reading materials, course descriptions, course calendar or schedule, and references or bibliography.

 

Each category would get a one or two-sentence description summarizing what will be covered in the course and what assignments are required of students. Keep your syllabus short— about three pages or less. The syllabus in a semester-long college level, 3-unit genealogy course meant for beginners and taught online or in person would look like this in its layout:

 

Syllabus

Course Number/Title: Genealogy and Family History 1

Name of School or College

Year and Month:

Department:

Credit Hours 3

Required Text

Days/Time

Instructor

Location

Prerequisite: None

Course Placement: Adult Education, Extended Studies, Community College, University Undergraduate level.

Overview

In Genealogy 1, students will learn special strategies for uncovering hard-to-find information about their ancestors. By the end of this course, students will become more versatile in using interdisciplinary skills for researching family and social history resources.

 

Course Description

 

Genealogy 1 is an introductory course in family and personal history research methods that includes learning interviewing and recording skills. This survey course covers the strategies of genealogical research in North America and introduces the student to the techniques of genealogical research around the world. Students able to read other languages may work on genealogical records in other languages if they can translate their findings, projects, or assignments to the class in English.

 

Research Methods

 

Students are introduced to a survey of all the methods used to identify individuals and their ancestors, including paper records, online searches, surname groups online, and DNA-driven genealogy resources.

 

Learning Objectives for Genealogy 1

At the end of this course, students will have learned the following skills:

 

1. Students will be able to research the following resources:

Original records

Family histories

Church records

Censuses

Passenger Arrival Lists

City directories

Family history libraries and genealogy sections of public and university libraries

Voter lists and registrations

Military records and pensions, widows’ pensions

Land records and notary records

Marriage records

Medical records

Divorce records

Ethnic women and men

African American

Native American, Inuit, and South American

Indigenous Peoples Genealogy

Jewish American

European Immigrants

Chinese and Japanese Immigrants in California

Latino Immigrants

Pacific Islanders

Genealogy and Social History of New Zealand, Australia, and

Oceania

South Asian Genealogy

Middle Eastern Immigrants

East Asian, Philippine, and Indonesian Immigrants

Unique People’s Genealogy, including:

Amish Genealogy

Mennonites Genealogy

Doukhobors

Romany

Travellers

Melungeons

Metis

Miscellaneous

Wends/Sorbs

Working with Databases and Genealogy Lists

1. Methods for determining maiden names

2. Solving identity problems in genealogy research

3. Methods for identifying women

4. Genealogy as social history

5. Genograms - medical family histories

a. child bearing and raising in genealogy research

b. children born out of wedlock and genealogy research

c. women’s work and genealogy records,

d. property tax records

e. religion and genealogy information

f. women’s reform movements, rights, and genealogy records

g. merging social and family history in genealogy research

h. documenting your own ancestor’s history

6. Unpublished Genealogy Sources

7. Published Genealogical Sources

8. How to research population schedules

9. Probate and court records

10. Slave genealogy and schedules

11. Social history research and biographies

12. Property, Inheritance, Naturalization and Divorce laws for genealogists

13. Widows’ pensions and applications-Acts and Laws, survey

14. DNA-driven genealogy, methods, resources, matrilineal and patrilineal research, surname groups and genetics associations

15. Online research resources

16. Checklist for genealogy research

17. Genealogical case studies

18. Articles and Bibliography

19. National Archives and Genealogy Research

20. How to read abstracted records

21. How to find and read microfilms and microfiche records

22. Military pensions—records in the National Archives

23. Searching records of the Veterans Administration

24. Published indexes to pension files and other aids

25. Genealogy journalism methods—interviewing and recording

26. Oral history, video and audio recording—what questions to ask.

 

How Students will apply the newly learned genealogy research skills:

  1. Use the methods of scientific genealogical research.
  2. Establish lines of descent for the person or family you select and develop a pedigree chart or family history tree of names and critical dates such as birth, marriage, and death for each ancestor on the family tree and/or pedigree chart.
  3. Organize genealogy records.
  4. Interview and record relatives or selected persons.
  5. Research the past.
  6. Use online technology to research or supplement written records and develop a pedigree chart or family tree.

Six Assignments and Projects: Due by End of 12-Week Course. (Insert Specific Due Dates) One assignment is due every two weeks.

 

  1. Write a publishable 1,000-word researched family history/genealogy article and submit it to a publication.
  2. Develop a list of 30 to 60 questions (chosen from a list of suggested questions to ask from the handout) to ask another person during a genealogy-oriented or life story-oriented personal or family history recorded interview.
  3. Interview using critical and creative thinking skills one or more older adults and record on audio or video tape a half-hour to one-hour life story experience to submit to an oral history archive library. Obtain a signed release form from all persons interviewed to send the recording to an oral history library. Give all persons interviewed copies of the interview recorded on tape or disc, such as a CD or DVD.
  4. Use written records and online resources/technology relevant to your personal interests or selected discipline. Genealogy has several areas of emphasis including archival records research, oral history, personal history, family history, video biography/life story recording, and DNA-driven genealogy/genetics for ancestry.
  5. Understand opportunities, skills, and requirements for genealogy journalism and publishing concentrations.
  6. Research the diversity of cultures in North America and other countries as related to how genealogy records have been maintained.

Course Competencies:

 

1. Learn how to perform scientific genealogical research.

2. Fill out and expand a pedigree chart and family tree--first by hand and then using technology or genealogy software.

3. Collect sources and resource information and organize the sources using records, legacies, diaries, letters, or journals.

4. Understand the value of journaling and archiving journals, letters, and diaries.

5. Read an article on how to restore old diaries and photos.

6. Write and record as audio or video a life story to keep for future generations or to put in a time capsule. One copy would be text for reading and another recorded in any format, including text and photos, audio or video. Be aware technology changes, and a text copy on acid-free paper is required just in case the recorded format can no longer play.

7. Learn how to correspond with relatives or friends and what questions to ask when asking for genealogical information.

8. Fill out family group sheets for recorded information to be transcribed or kept in text form.

9. Read an article on genealogical identification, orphan trains, and family skeletons or hidden facts on everything from how a person’s race or religion was listed to name changes. Understand how some pre-1948 housing laws and codes excluded certain groups from buying property in various areas and how some records were changed so people could buy homes. Research articles on this subject as related to genealogy records.

10. Understand the four keys of genealogy as research tools: identity, name, date information was recorded, locality, and kinship.

11. Research the American and/or Canadian trains when children were sent from the East to the West. These trains are separate from the orphan trains. Records with the children’s names are in various archives. Find out where to find the records.

12. Learn organization, documentation, filing techniques.

13. Analyze, interpret, and present genealogy-related findings.

14. Keep a research notebook that cites each source of documentation.

15. Look at working files that organize genealogical documents.

16. Listen to a recording of oral history. Read an article on restoring or preserving keepsakes, heirlooms, photos, and scrap books that document family traditions.

17. Use oral history as a research method. Learn to record oral history in audio and/or in video using a camcorder or audio recorder.

18. Learn how items and traditions have been preserved by families, librarians, conservationists, archivists, or family and public historians.

19. Gather family folklore, recipes, superstitions, or traditions.

20. Record family rites of passage, celebrations, or traditions.

21. Search genealogy records on the Internet

22. Read published genealogy information online.

23. Survey genealogy published materials.

24. Enter family information and print-out computer-generated charts and family trees.

25. Learn how to use vital records, divorce and cemetery records, jurisdictions records, original records, Social Security Death Index records online, and specific localities searches of historical groups for an area. Look for transcriptions of original documents.

26. Understand handwriting changes and how to interpret early American handwriting. Translate documents recorded in early American handwriting.

27. Find out where to obtain court records used in genealogy research.

28. Use church data to fill in missing information.

29. Use newspapers in genealogy research

30. Trace ancestor’s lives using a city directory.

31. Research information on the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Locate the nearest Branch Family Center and research an ancestor or friend.

32. Learn to research immigration, emigration, and migration records, ships’ passenger lists, Naturalization records.

33. Investigate the reason why your ancestor immigrated to America. Trace the migration patterns used. Use passenger lists and naturalization records and find out where these records are located.

34. Use land and tax records, school records, and ethnic records.

35. Research what records are available in the National Archives. Find out what military records are available to genealogists for research. Find out the addresses to write to for military, pension, and bounty land records.

36. Plan for and/or attend a genealogy-related seminar, research-oriented field trip, family reunion, or a meeting of a heritage, historical, or lineage association. Read an article on or view a documentary on a family reunion. Research what grants are available from various societies related to genealogy research.

37. Read an article on how to look at medical histories and genograms. A genogram is a schematic representation (drawing) of a family's medical history. A genogram describes the medical and/or genetic history of a family and includes family boundaries, attitudes, values, beliefs and related psychological history of family members.

38. Look at a Web site or surname group online researching DNA-driven genealogy for deep ancestry research. Read an article or handout on the psychological aspects of studying one’s own family history. Start a genogram of your family. Does DNA-driven genealogy appeal more to anthropologists or to genealogists?

 

Libraries and Field Trips

Visit a library that has records related to genealogy and/or oral history research or archives. Record in your notebook in two paragraphs what you learned from the field trip and what most interested you there.

 

Method of Instruction

Class discussion, lectures, field trips, video documentaries, class participation, individual Internet computer research, collaborative projects, handouts, videos, and personal history recording projects is used. This course may be taught online or in person.

 

Evaluation

Class participation and completion of projects/assignments is due by the end of the course. Assignments are due by the due date specified in the handout.

 

Equipment

Access to the Internet, a personal computer and printer, a tape or other audio digital recorder or camcorder using either tape or DVDs, and a DVD or CD recorder/R/RW disk drive in your computer or other device that saves a computer file to a CD and/or a DVD. Save your recorded projects on DVDs or CDs. Instruction will be provided on how to save any recorded material to a DVD or CD. Technical help will be available.

 

Length of Course

Adjust the syllabus content and assignments to the length of your own course. Genealogy courses may run for a 12, 16 or 18-week semester in adult education unified school districts or in extended studies or community college classes.

 

You may wish to check out the book by Anne Hart, 30+ Brain-Exercising Creativity Coach Businesses to Open: How to Use Writing, Music, Drama & Art Therapy Techniques for Healing

 
One of the best ways to publicize, promote, and market your book is to write a syllabus. Teach an online or in-person course related to the topic of your book. But before you can organize a course, you need a syllabus. And the syllabus and course, in turn, helps to launch your book in the media and get free publicity -- even before it's published.

Require students to purchase the book when you do have it published or printed or put on a DVD or CD as a audio or video narration of your writing. The easiest way to start is by writing a syllabus for a course.

 

Teach the contents of the book in a how-to course. What’s your hobby or field of expertise? My usual full-time working day emphasizes genealogy journalism and personal history research. Check out 49 of my 91 book covers on the Examiner.com photo slideshow.

 

Let's say your topic is family history, genealogy, or visual anthropology and producing, viewing, and reviewing documentaries. Here's how to write a course syllabus or teach online to market your book in the media. The objective is to get free publicity in the mainstream or niche media, attract a potential reader audience, and launch your book even before it's published.

 

If your field relates to personal history or genealogy, here’s how to write a syllabus to teach online (or in person) a genealogy course. You can train or teach at a variety of levels. One way to attract teachers is to ask to be a guest speaker in a school classroom, even at the kindergarten level or in a senior citizen center where lectures are given or videos are shown, or there are book clubs or life story highlight recording sessions.

 

A conference room of a public library is a good start

Starting your own classes and reserving a conference room in a library, church social hall, or community center don’t require degrees or credentials, only expertise. Nothing lets you learn a subject better than if you have to teach it to beginners.

If you don’t like teaching face-to-face or training employees in a work setting, teach online from your Web site. Or apply to teach a course in something you can do well at online educational sites such as blackboard.com. Read online education publications such as the Virtual U Gazette. Check out the Get Educated.com site.

 

You learn more from your students’ feedback than you ever learned from books in a variety of areas related to writing and publishing. The first step is to write a great syllabus that convinces others to hire you to teach a subject related to the information in your book. This technique works well with nonfiction, how-to or self-help books.

 

If your book is a novel, your course syllabus might emphasize plotting the novel or marketing and promotion. To sell your book in this type of class, you’d use each chapter to teach how to write “tag lines,” emotions and behaviors in a novel, or portions of your novel as tools for fiction writers in the genre of your book—such as plotting the mystery or romance novel.

 

You’d use passages to teach consistency and transitions that move the plot forward and show how the characters grow and change or the romantic tension. A similar technique of “teaching the process” would be used if you wrote plays, poetry, or cinematic scripts. A syllabus helps you get hired and/or to recruit students so you can sell your book and teach a class or train a group of people either online or in person. You can adapt this syllabus plan and format to the subject of your book in nearly any field.

 

How to write a syllabus to teach the topic of your own book

Instead of ‘genealogy,’ just substitute the concept and framework of your own book. Here’s how to write a syllabus. A short course may be taught online or arranged in any room available from a church basement to a library conference room.

 

A seminar can last a few hours. A lengthy course can be planned for an entire semester at any level in adult education, for college extended studies programs, or at community centers. You need experience in your area of expertise, and a published book helps your credibility. If you’re teaching a course in a community college or university for college credit you’d need a graduate degree.

 

For public school you’d also need a teaching credential unless your expertise level is the equivalent. Teaching vocational education and using your book as instructional text is more flexible. You can teach in the extended studies (not for credit) department of universities and community colleges based on experience. Credentials in your field of work are helpful to get you hired, but without them, start your own course online or from an available room.

 

You can share a rented room to teach the course with other trainers or teachers

 

Least expensive is to teach at your Web site and sell your book online to students. At the end of the course, give them a certificate in the subject you’ve taught related to your book. Require students to buy your book, and use it throughout the course.

One of the easiest ways to get hired to teach a course is to offer one in genealogy and/or personal history, if you have done your research on how genealogists find their information. Since you have written a book, can you now call yourself an expert?

 

If genealogy, personal history, oral history, social history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, creative writing, early handwriting, or journalism interests you, a beginner’s course in genealogy attracts people interested in where their ancestors came from and how they lived, ate, and played. Classes often fill up quickly.

 

People like to take courses where they can learn about themselves and their families’ life styles. Genealogy courses work well online, at social, ethnic, and religious clubs, and at senior centers. So here’s how to begin writing a syllabus for a genealogy course.

Your first genealogy course syllabus expands the four keys of genealogy research: identity, name, date information was recorded, locality, and kinship. How you organize, edit, and write a genealogy course syllabus often determines whether you’ll be hired to teach a course in genealogy for beginners.

 

If you’re a genealogist or want to promote your genealogy-oriented book or journalistic skills, teach a course in genealogy. Genealogy courses rely on verifiable details. Accidental or intentional alterations by scribes can dramatically affect information. Courses that go on year after year are evaluated by students as excellent.

 

Genealogists are concerned about accurate reproduction of texts or entry of information

For generations, most public family history entries were hand copied by government record clerks, clergy, and scribes deeply influenced by cultural, political, and theological disputes of their day.

Your syllabus can help students look for mistakes and intentional changes in surviving records. Can the original names be reconstructed? Genealogy course content also includes the social history of where and why these changes were made and how family historians go about reconstructing what might be the original names, relationships, and records as closely as possible.

 

Genealogy courses given in churches’ social halls sometimes attract those who want to trace difficult-to-find genealogy records of clergy. Old books make excellent genealogy sources. Other primary sources to trace clergy or religious educators include College Alumni Records , The Clergy Lists , Crockford's Directories , Fasti Ecclesiae, Anglicanae, Parish Registers, Bishop's Records, Censuses, and County Directories.

A genealogy course syllabus for beginners includes answers to one of the most frequently asked questions: How do you find female ancestors and solve identity problems when maiden surnames didn’t appear on the death certificates? Before you try to organize and write a syllabus, first list topics you’ll cover in your syllabus.

Planning Your Syllabus

List all obvious items. Keep this list next to your blank syllabus page. Then list items often omitted from a syllabus for a beginning course in genealogy. Compare your syllabus with other genealogy course outlines that have received great student evaluations. Your clue is whether the course is repeated year after year. There are several copyrighted genealogy course outlines on the Internet to peruse. Use them only for comparison and motivation. Keep your syllabus unique to your own course. Make a list of resources to be used in your own course before you begin writing your syllabus.

Resources List

Social History (brief)

Genealogy sources created by women:

Diaries, journals, letters, postcards, family Bibles, heirlooms, artifacts, oral history, legislative petitions, atypical sources, published family histories, cemetery records, tombstone inscriptions or rubbings, church records, censuses, military records, hospitals, orphanages, institutions, sanitariums, passenger arrival lists, city directories, notaries’ records, voter lists/registrations, pensions, widows’ pension applications/civil war, orphans and guardianship records, land records, marriage records, medical records, Eugenics Record Office, (ERO), social data, midwives’ journals, doctors’ journals, asylums, divorce records, wills, probate, court records, school records, ethnic sources, codicils, ethnic/religious hospital records, naturalization laws.

After you compile this list, put it aside to refer to as you write your syllabus. Begin outlining the syllabus by starting with the course information, instructor information, text or reading materials, course descriptions, course calendar or schedule, and references or bibliography.

Each category would get a one or two-sentence description summarizing what will be covered in the course and what assignments are required of students. Keep your syllabus short— about three pages or less. The syllabus in a semester-long college level, 3-unit genealogy course meant for beginners and taught online or in person would look like this in its layout:

Syllabus

Course Number/Title: Genealogy and Family History 1

Name of School or College

Year and Month:

Department:

Credit Hours 3

Required Text

Days/Time

Instructor

Location

Prerequisite: None

Course Placement: Adult Education, Extended Studies, Community College, University Undergraduate level.

Overview

In Genealogy 1, students will learn special strategies for uncovering hard-to-find information about their ancestors. By the end of this course, students will become more versatile in using interdisciplinary skills for researching family and social history resources.

Course Description

Genealogy 1 is an introductory course in family and personal history research methods that includes learning interviewing and recording skills. This survey course covers the strategies of genealogical research in North America and introduces the student to the techniques of genealogical research around the world. Students able to read other languages may work on genealogical records in other languages if they can translate their findings, projects, or assignments to the class in English.

Research Methods

Students are introduced to a survey of all the methods used to identify individuals and their ancestors, including paper records, online searches, surname groups online, and DNA-driven genealogy resources.

Learning Objectives for Genealogy 1

At the end of this course, students will have learned the following skills:

1. Students will be able to research the following resources:

Original records

Family histories

Church records

Censuses

Passenger Arrival Lists

City directories

Family history libraries and genealogy sections of public and university libraries

Voter lists and registrations

Military records and pensions, widows’ pensions

Land records and notary records

Marriage records

Medical records

Divorce records

Ethnic women and men

African American

Native American, Inuit, and South American

Indigenous Peoples Genealogy

Jewish American

European Immigrants

Chinese and Japanese Immigrants in California

Latino Immigrants

Pacific Islanders

Genealogy and Social History of New Zealand, Australia, and

Oceania

South Asian Genealogy

Middle Eastern Immigrants

East Asian, Philippine, and Indonesian Immigrants

Unique People’s Genealogy, including:

Amish Genealogy

Mennonites Genealogy

Doukhobors

Romany

Travellers

Melungeons

Metis

Miscellaneous

Wends/Sorbs

Working with Databases and Genealogy Lists

1. Methods for determining maiden names

2. Solving identity problems in genealogy research

3. Methods for identifying women

4. Genealogy as social history

5. Genograms - medical family histories

a. child bearing and raising in genealogy research

b. children born out of wedlock and genealogy research

c. women’s work and genealogy records,

d. property tax records

e. religion and genealogy information

f. women’s reform movements, rights, and genealogy records

g. merging social and family history in genealogy research

h. documenting your own ancestor’s history

6. Unpublished Genealogy Sources

7. Published Genealogical Sources

8. How to research population schedules

9. Probate and court records

10. Slave genealogy and schedules

11. Social history research and biographies

12. Property, Inheritance, Naturalization and Divorce laws for genealogists

13. Widows’ pensions and applications-Acts and Laws, survey

14. DNA-driven genealogy, methods, resources, matrilineal and patrilineal research, surname groups and genetics associations

15. Online research resources

16. Checklist for genealogy research

17. Genealogical case studies

18. Articles and Bibliography

19. National Archives and Genealogy Research

20. How to read abstracted records

21. How to find and read microfilms and microfiche records

22. Military pensions—records in the National Archives

23. Searching records of the Veterans Administration

24. Published indexes to pension files and other aids

25. Genealogy journalism methods—interviewing and recording

26. Oral history, video and audio recording—what questions to ask.

How Students will apply the newly learned genealogy research skills:

  1. Use the methods of scientific genealogical research.
  2. Establish lines of descent for the person or family you select and develop a pedigree chart or family history tree of names and critical dates such as birth, marriage, and death for each ancestor on the family tree and/or pedigree chart.
  3. Organize genealogy records.
  4. Interview and record relatives or selected persons.
  5. Research the past.
  6. Use online technology to research or supplement written records and develop a pedigree chart or family tree.

Six Assignments and Projects: Due by End of 12-Week Course. (Insert Specific Due Dates) One assignment is due every two weeks.

  1. Write a publishable 1,000-word researched family history/genealogy article and submit it to a publication.
  2. Develop a list of 30 to 60 questions (chosen from a list of suggested questions to ask from the handout) to ask another person during a genealogy-oriented or life story-oriented personal or family history recorded interview.
  3. Interview using critical and creative thinking skills one or more older adults and record on audio or video tape a half-hour to one-hour life story experience to submit to an oral history archive library. Obtain a signed release form from all persons interviewed to send the recording to an oral history library. Give all persons interviewed copies of the interview recorded on tape or disc, such as a CD or DVD.
  4. Use written records and online resources/technology relevant to your personal interests or selected discipline. Genealogy has several areas of emphasis including archival records research, oral history, personal history, family history, video biography/life story recording, and DNA-driven genealogy/genetics for ancestry.
  5. Understand opportunities, skills, and requirements for genealogy journalism and publishing concentrations.
  6. Research the diversity of cultures in North America and other countries as related to how genealogy records have been maintained.

Course Competencies:

1. Learn how to perform scientific genealogical research.

2. Fill out and expand a pedigree chart and family tree--first by hand and then using technology or genealogy software.

3. Collect sources and resource information and organize the sources using records, legacies, diaries, letters, or journals.

4. Understand the value of journaling and archiving journals, letters, and diaries.

5. Read an article on how to restore old diaries and photos.

6. Write and record as audio or video a life story to keep for future generations or to put in a time capsule. One copy would be text for reading and another recorded in any format, including text and photos, audio or video. Be aware technology changes, and a text copy on acid-free paper is required just in case the recorded format can no longer play.

7. Learn how to correspond with relatives or friends and what questions to ask when asking for genealogical information.

8. Fill out family group sheets for recorded information to be transcribed or kept in text form.

9. Read an article on genealogical identification, orphan trains, and family skeletons or hidden facts on everything from how a person’s race or religion was listed to name changes. Understand how some pre-1948 housing laws and codes excluded certain groups from buying property in various areas and how some records were changed so people could buy homes. Research articles on this subject as related to genealogy records.

10. Understand the four keys of genealogy as research tools: identity, name, date information was recorded, locality, and kinship.

11. Research the American and/or Canadian trains when children were sent from the East to the West. These trains are separate from the orphan trains. Records with the children’s names are in various archives. Find out where to find the records.

12. Learn organization, documentation, filing techniques.

13. Analyze, interpret, and present genealogy-related findings.

14. Keep a research notebook that cites each source of documentation.

15. Look at working files that organize genealogical documents.

16. Listen to a recording of oral history. Read an article on restoring or preserving keepsakes, heirlooms, photos, and scrap books that document family traditions.

17. Use oral history as a research method. Learn to record oral history in audio and/or in video using a camcorder or audio recorder.

18. Learn how items and traditions have been preserved by families, librarians, conservationists, archivists, or family and public historians.

19. Gather family folklore, recipes, superstitions, or traditions.

20. Record family rites of passage, celebrations, or traditions.

21. Search genealogy records on the Internet

22. Read published genealogy information online.

23. Survey genealogy published materials.

24. Enter family information and print-out computer-generated charts and family trees.

25. Learn how to use vital records, divorce and cemetery records, jurisdictions records, original records, Social Security Death Index records online, and specific localities searches of historical groups for an area. Look for transcriptions of original documents.

26. Understand handwriting changes and how to interpret early American handwriting. Translate documents recorded in early American handwriting.

27. Find out where to obtain court records used in genealogy research.

28. Use church data to fill in missing information.

29. Use newspapers in genealogy research

30. Trace ancestor’s lives using a city directory.

31. Research information on the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. Locate the nearest Branch Family Center and research an ancestor or friend.

32. Learn to research immigration, emigration, and migration records, ships’ passenger lists, Naturalization records.

33. Investigate the reason why your ancestor immigrated to America. Trace the migration patterns used. Use passenger lists and naturalization records and find out where these records are located.

34. Use land and tax records, school records, and ethnic records.

35. Research what records are available in the National Archives. Find out what military records are available to genealogists for research. Find out the addresses to write to for military, pension, and bounty land records.

36. Plan for and/or attend a genealogy-related seminar, research-oriented field trip, family reunion, or a meeting of a heritage, historical, or lineage association. Read an article on or view a documentary on a family reunion. Research what grants are available from various societies related to genealogy research.

37. Read an article on how to look at medical histories and genograms. A genogram is a schematic representation (drawing) of a family's medical history. A genogram describes the medical and/or genetic history of a family and includes family boundaries, attitudes, values, beliefs and related psychological history of family members.

38. Look at a Web site or surname group online researching DNA-driven genealogy for deep ancestry research. Read an article or handout on the psychological aspects of studying one’s own family history. Start a genogram of your family. Does DNA-driven genealogy appeal more to anthropologists or to genealogists?

 

Libraries and Field Trips

Visit a library that has records related to genealogy and/or oral history research or archives. Record in your notebook in two paragraphs what you learned from the field trip and what most interested you there.

 

Method of Instruction

Class discussion, lectures, field trips, video documentaries, class participation, individual Internet computer research, collaborative projects, handouts, videos, and personal history recording projects is used. This course may be taught online or in person.

 

Evaluation

Class participation and completion of projects/assignments is due by the end of the course. Assignments are due by the due date specified in the handout.

 

Equipment

Access to the Internet, a personal computer and printer, a tape or other audio digital recorder or camcorder using either tape or DVDs, and a DVD or CD recorder/R/RW disk drive in your computer or other device that saves a computer file to a CD and/or a DVD. Save your recorded projects on DVDs or CDs. Instruction will be provided on how to save any recorded material to a DVD or CD. Technical help will be available.

 

Length of Course

Adjust the syllabus content and assignments to the length of your own course. Genealogy courses may run for a 12, 16 or 18-week semester in adult education unified school districts or in extended studies or community college classes.

 
If you don’t like teaching face-to-face or training employees in a work setting, teach online from your Web site. Or apply to teach a course in something you can do well at online educational sites such as blackboard.com. Read online education publications such as the Virtual U Gazette. Check out the Get Educated.com site.

 

You learn more from your students’ feedback than you ever learned from books in a variety of areas related to writing and publishing. The first step is to write a great syllabus that convinces others to hire you to teach a subject related to the information in your book. This technique works well with nonfiction, how-to or self-help books.

 

If your book is a novel, your course syllabus might emphasize plotting the novel or marketing and promotion. To sell your book in this type of class, you’d use each chapter to teach how to write “tag lines,” emotions and behaviors in a novel, or portions of your novel as tools for fiction writers in the genre of your book—such as plotting the mystery or romance novel.

 

If you don’t like teaching face-to-face or training employees in a work setting, teach online from your Web site. Or apply to teach a course in something you can do well at online educational sites such as blackboard.com. Read online education publications such as the Virtual U Gazette. Check out the Get Educated.com site.

 

 You learn more from your students’ feedback than you ever learned from books in a variety of areas related to writing and publishing. The first step is to write a great syllabus that convinces others to hire you to teach a subject related to the information in your book. This technique works well with nonfiction, how-to or self-help books.

 

 If your book is a novel, your course syllabus might emphasize plotting the novel or marketing and promotion. To sell your book in this type of class, you’d use each chapter to teach how to write “tag lines,” emotions and behaviors in a novel, or portions of your novel as tools for fiction writers in the genre of your book—such as plotting the mystery or romance novel.

Here are some of the 87 paperback book titles currently in print at this date written by Anne Hart, M.A. (listed at Amazon.com) and at the publisher's site.

 

You're also invited to join Anne Hart's Facebook Group: Professional, creative, and expressive writing tips: Creativity enhancement at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthresearchnews/

 

Anne Hart, a low-income senior citizen is a retired book author and columnist who since 1959 had been writing about creative writing techniques, creativity enhancement, nutrition, health, genetics, vegan foods, and DNA-driven genealogy. Before retiring, she had written more than 7,000 articles online. Hart holds an M.A. in English/creative writing, and currently enjoys reading books and articles, listening to music, viewing travel videos, and visiting art galleries. Her 87 paperback books currently in print were all self-published print on demand. Hart is a low mobility senior citizen nondriver who does not travel, but loves to watch travel videos and read about solar cooking and vegan foods.

Dogs with Careers: Ten Happy-Ending Stories of Purpose and Passion, a novel by Anne Hart. This is my novel and also a collection of some of my short stories under one cover.

 

Here's an excerpt from this science fiction humorous novel, with added short stories on other historical fictional topics. You have first a humorous sci fi novel with additional short stories set in fictional historical eras, stories of interest to a variety of age groups. The novel is first, and then a collection of some of the short stories by Anne Hart.

 

rt.

 

Here's an excerpt from the novel: "They're library dogs, Charlie. They're all dog-faces," laughed the space station manager, as he waved goodnight to his security dogs and locked the gates. "They're not just dogs with jobs, but detective canines with investigative sniffing careers at the space station and in outer space."

 

At night, the space station's library is eerie, dim lighted, and in places, simply velvet-shadow dark, except for the human's dogs. They mingle with the shape-shifting immortal space dogs that prowl the space station library's corridors and live among the rows of computers.

 

Career dogs just want to have fun traveling on board the space shuttles as working companion dogs, never locked behind gates. These dogs don't bite. They are dogs with purpose and passion.

 

This is a team of working dogs that can shape-shift from dog to human and human to dog live outside of time. And in this century, they work for a mother and daughter astronaut team.

 

"Which dog sprayed wolf graffiti on the space shuttle?" A ground controller dog, a mellow, Chocolate Labrador retriever, studied the photo. "But how did it get there?"

 

"Maybe it's a paste-on tattoo that the astronauts put on board to celebrate all those years here," the pack leader howled in a licorice-sweet yelp. The omega canine hurried to switch off another computer.

 

'Retriever,' formerly a "library greeter dog" but now the ground controller's pet, sniffed with curiosity. He stretched and curled up on top of the filing cabinet.

www.facebook.com/groups/healthresearchnews

You're invited to join my Facebook Group: Professional, creative, and expressive writing tips: Creativity enhancement at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthresearchnews/

 

I'm a retired writer, author of 87 paperback books currently listed by title at Amazon.com. You're welcome to join my Facebook group. Here's the title of one of my historical novels:

 

You may wish to check out this author's historical novel, Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome from the publisher. Or on Amazon.com, it's at the site: Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome: A Time-Travel Novel of Love as Growth of Consciousness & Peace in the Home.

How would you like to have the task of reverse engineering the human brain?

How would you like to have the job of reverse engineering the human brain?
The field is called computational neuroscience. You'd begin with a combination of computer programming skills using lots of  fast processors. Instead of terabytes of memory, you'd be working with petabytes of memory. A petabyte (symbol PB) is one quadrillion (short scale) bytes, or 1 billiard (long scale) bytes, according to Wikipedia's definition of a petabyte.

The field you'd call upon for help most of the time would be biology, in the
sense of using computers to analyze biological systems. The goal would be to
solve complex relationships inside biology. The result would be to gather
into a database library so much information on how neurons process
information. Been there? Done that? The next step is to analyze everything
to see what you'd use to create smarter artificial intelligence that solves
more programs by thinking. Are you interested in brain engineering or
computational neuroscience?

Thinking and back-engineering the brain

In fact, thinking is the key word, here. Why you have to go back to biology
is because the ultimate source lies in biochemistry. What you're after is
the biochemistry of the brain. So you begin to back-engineer the brain. You
know the brain is made of neurons, synapses, and dendrites. So you resort to
brain scanning. Maybe you use forms of fMRI or PET scans or some advanced
branch of these scanning techniques. You've probably heard about
reverse-engineering a plane or other flying object, but how would you like
to back-engineer the human brain so you could build and operate a computer
that thinks like a person, if a computer could be built to think not only
smarter, but also compassionate, empathetic, and to solve problems through
peace, not war?

The only problem is what if the computer can't love or hate and is so smart
that it no longer has any use for humans, not even as pets, but maybe could
use your molecules in new ways to replicate itself, a computer millions of
times smarter than any person? On the other hand, back-engineering the brain
could lead to technical assistance devices that help those with disabilities
to walk, talk, write, and function in ways they couldn't without technical
assistance.

You look to see what and how individual neurons are performing their
computing process. It's as if your brain is a computer in its own sense.
This field is called computational neuroscience. You can major in
computational neuroscience if you're a student. See, "Computational
Neuroscience and Neural Engineering," or "BS in Computational Neuroscience."
But you'd also need courses in biochemistry and beyond to understand how the
brain thinks.

Thinking is a biochemical process


What do you think each individual neuron is doing in your brain right now?
Imagine your brain as a computer doing computing. Maybe you'd start by
working in a brain laboratory. See, "Brain Engineering Laboratory - Home "
or "MIND BrAIN Lab." If you worked in a brain engineering laboratory, you'd
be creating algorithms that work in the same way as circuits work in your
brain.

Algorithms are computer programs that use mathematical or computer science
step-by-step procedures for calculations. They're used for automated
reasoning and data processing, according to Wikipedia. The field of
computational neuroscience is still pretty new at this point. What you'd
probably be trying to accomplish in the long run might be to find out how
human brain circuits work. The application to technology and computers then
would be to find out how computer systems visually identify objects in the
same way the human brain identifies objects.

You'd be mapping and examining brain circuits and ultimately trying to
create a computer or other machine intelligence that works in the same way
as human brain circuits work. Perhaps your life's work goal might be to
create algorithms for every one of the processes that the human brain
circuits does in the same way as a person would accomplish those processes,
only a lot faster. You could build a machine, maybe that works just like a
human brain. But does or can the machine think just like a human brain? For
a lot more information on this topic, check out the excellent book about
artificial intelligence Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat.

 

You're invited to join my Facebook Group: Professional, creative, and expressive writing tips: Creativity enhancement at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthresearchnews/

So you want to be a personal historian and write salable biographies, life stories, or corporate case histories and success stories?

How to research, record, and write creative, salable biographies

 

You may wish to read and enjoy the paperback book by Anne Hart, How to Start, Teach, & Franchise a Creative Genealogy Writing Class or Club: The Craft of Producing Salable Living Legacies, Celebrations of Life, ... Events, Reunion Publications, or Gift Books. The book title is at Amazon.com. Let's say you're interested in creative genealogy writing and perhaps want to start your own class, club, or maybe even a franchise if you're interested in finding out how many ways you can branch out in the field of family history or even family reunions, personal history, and life stories. Or perhaps extend the history to corporate case histories and success stories and/or slice of life highlights or similar events.

 

Before you begin writing or publishing works, remember the quote from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action." Your goal in memoirs writing or writing biography and autobiography or in recording and writing life story highlights is to stimulate memories in creative ways. Check out my video lecture on Internet Archive, "So You Want to Be a Personal Historian."

The one hour and 44 minute talk is at the Internet Archive site:

https://archive.org/details/SoYouWantToBeAPersonalHistorian

 

Your project to enhance creativity in writing skills would include how to interview older adults, write their stories, or video record them for future generations to make time capsules, keepsake albums, recorded oral history/transcribed also as text, or salable life stories. It would appeal not only to writers but also to personal historians and others interested in life story writing and recording.

 

How to Stimulate Memory by Memoirs Writing

 

How do you help others (and yourself) by teaching or coaching a course in how to increase memory efficiency by writing one's life story as a salable non-fiction memoir, autobiography, play, skit, monologue, or transcribed oral history recording?


The technique would be of interest to anyone working with older adults, stay-at-home moms, or persons at any stage of life from high-school graduation life stories (to be looked at a generation later) to working with senior citizens through intergenerational writing--where young and older people work together on life story writing, recording, and transcribing for memory stimulation/reminiscing. Focus on how to make a time capsule of memory from life story highlights, turning points, and significant events.

 

Here's how your course in writing memoirs could operate, run, and play

Writing Memoirs to Enhance Memories and Creativity

Start with Vignettes

 

To stimulate your age-wise memory, start by writing short vignettes about an experience that emphasizes significant events, turning points, and individual stages of life. Use insight, hindsight, and pitfalls to avoid. Use foresight if you’ve had the premonition. Put direct experience in a small package and launch it worldwide.

 

Write your life story in short vignettes of 1,500 to 1,800 words. Write eulogies and anecdotes or vignettes of life stories and personal histories for mini-biographies and autobiographies. Then condense or contract the life stories or personal histories into PowerPoint presentations and similar slide shows on disks using lots of photos and one-page of life story.

 

1,500 word vignettes provide a slice-of-life biography of an experience or life story highlight

 

Finally, collect lots of vignettes and flesh-out the vignettes, linking them together into first-person diary-style novels and books, plays, skits, or other larger works. Write memoirs or eulogies for people or ghostwrite biographies and autobiographies for others.

If ghostwriting is too invisible, write biographies and vocational biographies, success stories and case histories, and customize for niche interest groups. Your main goal with personal history and life stories is to take the direct experience itself and package each story as a vignette.

 

The vignette can be read in ten minutes

 

So fill magazine space with a direct experience vignette. Magazine space needs only 1,500 words. When you link many vignettes together, each forms a book chapter or can be adapted to a play or script.

By turning vignettes into smaller packages, they are easier to launch to the media. When collected and linked together, they form a chain of vignettes offering nourishment, direction, purpose, and information used by people who need to make choices. Here's how to write those inspiration-driven, persistence-driven life stories and what to do with them. Use universal experience with which we all can identify.

 

Included are a full-length diary-format first person novel and a three-act play, including a monologue for performances. There's a demand for direct life experiences written or produced as vignettes and presented in small packages.

Save those vignettes electronically. Later, they can be placed together as chapters in a book or adapted as a play or script, turned into magazine feature, specialty, or news columns, or offered separately as easy-to-read packages.

 

Use General Statements, Proverbs, Slogans, or Mottos, and ‘Brand’ the Event

Here’s how to write, edit, dramatize, package, promote, present, publish & launch gift books as personal histories, autobiographies, biographies, vignettes, and eulogies: launching the inspiration-driven or design-driven life story and detailing your purpose.

Use personal or biographical experiences as examples when you write your essay. Begin by using specific examples taken from your personal experience, personal history, or biographical resources.

 

Start with a general statement, motto, slogan or proverb to connect the public to your client or the client’s attitude, purpose, achievements, or service. Then relate the general to your specific personal experience. You don't have to only write about your client or yourself. You can write about someone else as long as you have accurate historical facts about that person, and you state your credible resources. ‘Brand’ your client’s event as a stage of life celebration. With a business success story, ‘brand’ the type of event, such as a grand opening with the most important reason or purpose of the event—a good product.

 

Here's an example of two opening sentences that state the general and then give the specific personal experience. "Mom's a space garbage woman. She repairs satellites." Let's analyze all the different parts of an informed argument essay. By analyzing the result in depth instead of only skimming for breadth, you will be able to write concretely from different points of view.

 

You'll learn how to construct a memoirs or commemoration gift book from bare bones--from its concept. You start with a concept. Then you add at least three specific examples to your concept until it develops into a mold. A mold is a form, skeleton or foundation. Think of concept as conception. Think of mold as form or skeleton. Think of awning as the outer skin that covers the whole essay and animates it into lively writing.

You don't want your memoirs or other gift book to be flat writing. You want writing that is animated, alive, and able to move, motivate, or inspire readers. Finally, you cover the mold with an awning.

 

The mold is your pit, skeleton or foundation. Your mold contains your insight, foresight, and hindsight. It has the pitfalls to avoid and the highlights. You need to put flesh on its bones.

 

Then you need to cover your mold with an awning. You need to include or protect that concept and mold or form by including it under this awning of a larger topic or category. The awning holds everything together. It's your category under which all your related topics fall. That's what the technique of organizing your essay or personal history is all about.

 

In other words, concept equals form plus details. Story equals form plus details. That's the math formula for writing an essay if you'd like to put it into a logical equation of critical thinking. C = Fo + De. That's what you need to remember about writing an essay: your concept is composed of your form (mold, foundation, or skeleton) and details. A concept isn't an idea. It's the application of your idea.

 

A concept is what your story is about. Your concept is imbedded in your story. A story can mean your personal history or any other story or anecdote in your essay, or any highlight of your life or specific life experience. A concept also can be a turning point such as rites of passage or take place at any stage of life.

 

When writing the informed argument, you will be able to give examples backed up with resources. That's what makes an essay great--knowing what examples to put into the essay at which specific points in time.

 

Gone will be general, vague, or sweeping statements. Therefore, I'd like each of you on this learning team to start planning your essay by analyzing and discussing the parts that chronologically go into the essay. That's how you organize essays in a linear fashion.

Take an essay apart just as you would take a clock or computer apart, and put it back together. Now all the parts fit and work. Taking apart an essay helps you understand how to plan and write your own essay-writing assignments or personal history as a time capsule.

 

Here's how to take apart a memoir or life story or a business success case history. Some of your gift books will commemorate an event such as a coming of age ceremony, confirmation, sweet sixteen party, graduation, wedding, baby shower, anniversary or retirement. Your business clients may want to commemorate a grand opening or narrate a business history. To analyze a memoir in depth, you break the significant events into its six parts: statement-of-position, description, argumentation, exposition, supplementation and evaluation just as you would take apart a persuasive essay. Use the same format as if you’d write a persuasive essay destined to convince.

 

This is your foundation or umbrella. On top of this framework, you’d add the creative elements that make the life story or business success narration able to hold the attention of the reader. Remember that this is a coffee-table type gift book.

 

If you need to find out what the parts of a persuasive life story are, they are similar to the six parts of a persuasive essay. You can organize the parts of a life story as you would organize the six parts of an essay as explained in the book titled, The Informed Argument. (ISBN: 0155414593).

 

Use the same technique when writing life stories, skits, plays, persuasive essays, and gift books based on significant events of lives or business histories. This technique works because readers look to be convinced by experiences backed up by facts. It works for persuasive essays, and it works as well for life story experiences. Action verbs also help you organize your gift book topics or chapters by achievements done and results obtained or problems solved. For more ideas, you also can look at some action verbs in another book titled, 801 Action Verbs for Communicators. (ISBN: 0-595-31911-4).

 

Argumentation is part of a memoirs gift book if handled with courtesy and details that can be fact-checked or verified, if at all possible. Include resources and photos or video clips or audio interviews on a disk placed in an envelope at the back of the book if at all possible. Or use interviews in text in print paperback books. Before you even get to the expressive part of argumentation, you have to state your position and describe it by using specific examples. Then you get to the informed argument in the middle of your essay.

 

After you've finished arguing logically using critical thinking and your resources, you use exposition. Then you use supplementation, and finally evaluation. To practice writing personal history essays in text or on video, define and analyze the words 'exposition' and 'supplementation.' Use exposition and supplementation in at least one sentence each as an example of how you would use it in your essay. Don't stick to only what is familiar.

My dictionary defines 'exposition' as "a careful setting out of the facts or ideas involved in something." The principal themes are presented first in a 'music' exposition. Apply it now to an essay. Present your principal themes first in your personal history. Supplementation means adding to your work to improve or complete it.

 

The goal of an essay is to analyze your informed argument in depth. That's why there are six parts to an essay. Knowing what those six parts are as well as showing examples gives you the experience you need to plan and organize your essay. The result is that once you have organized your plan in writing, the essay almost writes itself.

 

Use proverbs, quotations, (with credits) and flesh out the proverbs or quotes with details of life stories and events. Keep an old proverb or quotation in front of you when you write. A memoirs book is about wanting others to know that your client cares

 

One goal of a memoirs book is to let the reader know that the client cares more about the readers than the readers would care what the client knows. It's a great saying to remind others why the client is creating a book. Everyone has a life story of great value.

How do you present the outcome of significant events, family or business history, or commemorations as a gift book? How do you publish the book? You start with your time and money budget and only then begin to break your organizing, writing, editing, and publishing into weekly tasks. The first week is for interviewing and gathering significant facts, events, and turning points.

 

A gift book may be presented also as a skit, play, or monologue and/or as a narrative book of highlights. For business histories and success stories, the narrative also can be turned into a 28 ½ minute infomercial script with two or more people interviewing the client.

 

The business success story infomercial, like the life story interview, needs a list of questions to present in advance that would take a specific time to answer such as a half-hour to an hour. Business infomercials usually are limited to 28 ½ minutes. Attention span for viewing is short. So write in seven to 10-minute chunks of reading or viewing time that allows time out for breaks.

#

“The Mind that Alters, Alters All” __ William Blake

 

Create a course on how to produce life stories, biographies, or personal and/or corporate success stories or similar histories and teach it

 

Course Overviews: Weeks 1 through 5 - 6

 

Week 1

 

1. Put Direct Experience In A Small Package And Launch It Worldwide. Make Time Capsules.

2. Write, Record, & Publish Purpose-Driven Personal History

Dramatize, Package, Promote, Present, & Launch Your Purpose.

3. Edit, Dramatize, Package, Promote, Present, Publish, Record, Produce, & Launch Time Capsules of Personal Histories, Autobiographies, Biographies, Vignettes, and Eulogies: Launching the Inspiration-Driven or Design-Driven Life Story and Detailing Your Purpose.

 

Week 2

 

Use Simplicity and Commitment in Personal History Writing, Time Capsules, and Videos. Here's useful insight to those who may someday write fiction, or their life stories, true experiences, or other people's life stories as vignettes or books created by linking a dozen or more vignettes together into a publishable book. Your aim is to produce time capsules or keepsake albums and other family history-related books, videos, audio projects, memory and/or prayer boxes, or memorabilia as heirlooms.

Look for insight, foresight, and hindsight. Mentoring is about pointing out what pitfalls to avoid. Instead of a formula, aim for simplicity, commitment, and persistence. Use simplicity in your writings.

 

Week 3

 

How to Motivate People to Interview One Another for Personal History Productions

 

People are "less camera shy" when two from the same peer group or class pair up and interview each other on video camcorder or on audio tape from a list of questions rehearsed. People also can write the questions they want to be asked and also write out and familiarize themselves with the answers alone and/or with their interviewers from their own peer group.

 

Some people have their favorite proverbs, or a logo that represents their outlook on life. Others have their own 'crusade' or mission. And some have a slogan that says what they are about in a few words...example, "seeking the joy of life," or "service with a smile."

A play can come from someone's slogan, for example. A slogan, logo, proverb, or motto can form the foundation for a questionnaire on what they want to say in an oral history or personal history video or audio tape on in a multimedia presentation of their life story highlights.

 

Week 4

  1. How to Gather Personal Histories
  2. Use the following sequence when gathering oral histories:
  3. Develop one central issue and divide that issue into a few important questions that highlight or focus on that one central issue.
  4. Write out a plan just like a business plan for your oral history project. You may have to use that plan later to ask for a grant for funding, if required. Make a list of all your products that will result from the oral history when it’s done.
  5. Write out a plan for publicity or public relations and media relations. How are you going to get the message to the public or special audiences?
  6. Develop a budget. This is important if you want a grant or to see how much you’ll have to spend on creating an oral history project.
  7. List the cost of video taping and editing, packaging, publicity, and help with audio or special effects and stock shot photos of required.
  8. What kind of equipment will you need? List that and the time slots you give to each part of the project. How much time is available? What are your deadlines?
  9. What’s your plan for a research? How are you going to approach the people to get the interviews? What questions will you ask?
  10. Do the interviews. Arrive prepared with a list of questions. It’s okay to ask the people the kind of questions they would like to be asked. Know what dates the interviews will cover in terms of time. Are you covering the economic depression of the thirties? World Wars? Fifties? Sixties? Pick the time parameters.
  11. Edit the interviews so you get the highlights of experiences and events, the important parts. Make sure what’s important to you also is important to the person you interviewed.
  12. Have the person you’ve interviewed approve of the selected highlights, experiences, or turning points to make sure what you select is the same as what the person wants included and emphasized in the memoirs gift book.
  13. Make any adjustments
  14. Process audio as well as video, and make sure you have written transcripts of anything on audio and/or video in case the technology changes or the tapes go bad.
  15. Save the tapes to compact disks, DVDs, a computer hard disk and several other ways to preserve your oral history time capsule. Donate any tapes or CDs to appropriate archives, museums, relatives of the interviewee, and one or more oral history libraries. They are usually found at universities that have an oral history department and library such as the oral history library at UC Berkeley and other similar libraries for oral histories.
  16. Check the Web for oral history libraries at universities in various states and abroad.
  17. Evaluate what you have edited. Make sure the central issue and central questions have been covered in the interview. Find out whether newspapers or magazines want summarized transcripts of the audio and/or video with photos.
  18. Contact libraries, archives, university oral history departments and relevant associations and various ethnic genealogy societies that focus on the subject matter of your central topic.
  19. Keep organizing what you have until you have long and short versions of your oral history for various archives and publications. Contact magazines and newspapers to see whether editors would assign reporters to do a story on the oral history project.
  20. Create a scrapbook with photos and summarized oral histories. Write a synopsis of each oral history on a central topic or issue. Have speakers give public presentations of what you have for each person interviewed and/or for the entire project using highlights of several interviews with the media for publicity. Be sure your project is archived properly and stored in a place devoted to oral history archives and available to researchers and authors.
  21. Recorded and Transcribed Oral History Techniques (Video and/or Audio)
  22. Begin with easy to answer questions that don’t require you explore and probe deeply in your first question. Focus on one central issue when asking questions. Don't use abstract questions. A plain question would be "What's your purpose?" An abstract question with connotations would be "What's your crusade?" Use questions with denotations instead of connotations. Keep questions short and plain--easy to understand. Examples would be, "What did you want to accomplish? How did you solve those problems? How did you find closure?" Ask the familiar "what, when, who, where, how, and why."
  23. First research written or visual resources before you begin to seek an oral history of a central issue, experience, or event.
  24. Who is your intended audience?
  25. What kind of population niche or sample will you target?
  26. What means will you select to choose who you will interview? What group of people will be central to your interview?
  27. Write down how you’ll explain your project. Have a script ready so you don’t digress or forget what to say on your feet.
  28. Consult oral history professionals if you need more information. Make sure what you write in your script will be clear to understand by your intended audience.
  29. Have all the equipment you need ready and keep a list of what you’ll use and the cost.
  30. Work up your budget
  31. Choose what kind of recording device is best—video, audio, multimedia, photos, and text transcript. Make sure your video is broadcast quality. I use a Sony Digital eight (high eight) camera.
  32. Make sure from cable TV stations or news stations that what type of video and audio you choose ahead of time is broadcast quality.
  33. Make sure you have an external microphone and also a second microphone as a second person also tapes the interview in case the quality of your camera breaks down. You can also keep a tape recorder going to capture the audio in case your battery dies.
  34. Make sure your battery is fully charged right before the interview. Many batteries die down after a day or two of nonuse.
  35. Test all equipment before the interview and before you leave your office or home. I’ve had batteries go down unexpectedly and happy there was another person ready with another video camera waiting and also an audio tape version going.
  36. Make sure the equipment works if it’s raining, hot, cold, or other weather variations. Test it before the interview. Practice interviewing someone on your equipment several times to get the hang of it before you show up at the interview.
  37. Make up your mind how long the interview will go before a break and use tape of that length, so you have one tape for each segment of the interview. Make several copies of your interview questions.
  38. Be sure the interviewee has a copy of the questions long before the interview so the person can practice answering the questions and think of what to say or even take notes. Keep checking your list of what you need to do.
  39. Let the interviewee make up his own questions if he wants. Perhaps your questions miss the point. Present your questions first. Then let him embellish the questions or change them as he wants to fit the central issue with his own experiences.
  40. Call the person two days and then one day before the interview to make sure the individual will be there on time and understands how to travel to the location. Or if you are going to the person’s home, make sure you understand how to get there.
  41. Allow yourself one extra hour in case of traffic jams.
  42. Choose a quiet place. Turn off cell phones and any ringing noises. Make sure you are away from barking dogs, street noise, and other distractions.
  43. Before you interview make sure the person knows he or she is going to be video and audio-taped.
  44. If you don’t want anyone swearing, make that clear it’s for public archives and perhaps broadcast to families.
  45. Your interview questions should follow the journalist’s information-seeking format of asking, who, what, where, where, how, and why. Oral history is a branch of journalistic research.
  46. Let the person talk and don’t interrupt. You be the listener and think of oral history as aural history from your perspective.
  47. Make sure only one person speaks without being interrupted before someone else takes his turn to speak.
  48. Understand silent pauses are for thinking of what to say
  49. Ask one question and let the person gather his thoughts.
  50. Finish all your research on one question before jumping to the next question. Keep it organized by not jumping back to the first question after the second is done. Stay in a linear format.
  51. Follow up what you can about any one question, finish with it, and move on to the next question without circling back. Focus on listening instead of asking rapid fire questions as they would confuse the speaker.
  52. Ask questions that allow the speaker to begin to give a story, anecdote, life experience, or opinion along with facts. Don’t ask questions that can be answered only be yes or no. This is not a courtroom. Let the speaker elaborate with facts and feelings or thoughts.
  53. Late in the interview, start to ask questions that explore and probe for deeper answers.
  54. Wrap up with how the person solved the problem, achieved results, reached a conclusion, or developed an attitude, or found the answer. Keep the wrap-up on a light, uplifting note.
  55. Don’t leave the individual hanging in emotion after any intensity of. Respect the feelings and opinions of the person. He or she may see the situation from a different point of view than someone else. So respect the person’s right to feel as he does. Respect his need to recollect his own experiences.
  56. Interview for only one hour at a time. If you have only one chance, interview for an hour. Take a few minutes break. Then interview for the second hour. Don’t interview more than two hours at any one meeting.
  57. Use prompts such as paintings, photos, music, video, diaries, vintage clothing, crafts, antiques, or memorabilia when appropriate. Carry the photos in labeled files or envelopes to show at appropriate times in order to prime the memory of the interviewee.
  58. For example, you may show a childhood photo and ask “What was it like in that orphanage where these pictures were taken?” Or travel photos might suggest a trip to America as a child, or whatever the photo suggests. For example, “Do you remember when this ice cream parlor inside the ABC movie house stood at the corner of X and Y Street? Did you go there as a teenager? What was your funniest memory of this movie theater or the ice cream store inside back in the fifties?”
  59. As soon as the interview is over, label all the tapes and put the numbers in order.
  60. A signed release form is required before you can broadcast anything. So have the interviewee sign a release form before the interview.
  61. Make sure the interviewee gets a copy of the tape and a transcript of what he or she said on tape. If the person insists on making corrections, send the paper transcript of the tape for correction to the interviewee. Edit the tape as best you can or have it edited professionally.
  62. Make sure you comply with all the corrections the interviewee wants changed. He or she may have given inaccurate facts that need to be corrected on the paper transcript.
  63. Have the tape edited with the corrections, even if you have to make a tape at the end of the interviewee putting in the corrections that couldn’t be edited out or changed.
  64. As a last resort, have the interviewee redo the part of the tape that needs correction and have it edited in the tape at the correct place marked on the tape. Keep the paper transcript accurate and up to date, signed with a release form by the interviewee.
  65. Oral historians write a journal of field notes about each interview. Make sure these get saved and archived so they can be read with the transcript.
  66. Have the field notes go into a computer where someone can read them along with the transcript of the oral history tape or CD.
  67. Thank the interviewee in writing for taking the time to do an interview for broadcast and transcript.
  68. Put a label on everything you do from the interview to the field notes. Make a file and sub file folders and have everything stored in a computer, in archived storage, and in paper transcript.
  69. Make copies and digital copies of all photos and put into the records in a computer. Return originals to owners.
  70. Make sure you keep your fingerprints off the photos by wearing white cotton gloves. Use cardboard when sending the photos back and pack securely. Also photocopy the photos and scan the photos into your computer. Treat photos as antique art history in preservation.
  71. Make copies for yourself of all photos, tapes, and transcripts. Use your duplicates, and store the original as the master tape in a place that won’t be used often, such as a time capsule or safe, or return to a library or museum where the original belongs.
  72. Return all original photos to the owners. An oral history archive library or museum also is suitable for original tapes. Use copies only to work from, copy, or distribute.
  73. Index your tapes and transcripts. To use oral history library and museum terminology, recordings and transcripts are given “accession numbers.”
  74. Phone a librarian in an oral history library of a university for directions on how to assign accession numbers to your tapes and transcripts if the materials are going to be stored at that particular library. Store copies in separate places in case of loss or damage.
  75. If you don’t know where the materials will be stored, use generic accession numbers to label your tapes and transcripts. Always keep copies available for yourself in case you have to duplicate the tapes to send to an institution, museum, or library, or to a broadcast company.
  76. Make synopses available to public broadcasting radio and TV stations.
  77. Check your facts.
  78. Are you missing anything you want to include?
  79. Is there some place you want to send these tapes and transcripts such as an ethnic museum, radio show, or TV satellite station specializing in the topics on the tapes, such as public TV stations? Would it be suitable for a world music station? A documentary station?
  80. If you need more interviews, arrange them if possible
  81. Give the interviewee a copy of the finished product with the corrections. Make sure the interviewee signs a release form that he or she is satisfied with the corrections and is releasing the tape to you and your project.
  82. Store the tapes and transcripts in a library or museum or at a university or other public place where it will be maintained and preserved for many generations and restored when necessary.
  83. You can also send copies to a film repository or film library that takes video tapes, an archive for radio or audio tapes for radio broadcast or cable TV.
  84. Copies may be sent to various archives for storage that lasts for many generations. Always ask whether there are facilities for restoring the tape. A museum would most likely have these provisions as would a large library that has an oral history library project or section
  85. Make sure the copy is well protected and set up for long-term storage in a place where it will be protected and preserved.
  86. If the oral history is about events in history, various network news TV stations might be interested. Film stock companies may be interested in copies of old photos.
  87. Find out from the subject matter what type of archives, repository, or storage museums and libraries would be interested in receiving copies of the oral history tapes and transcripts.
  88. Print media libraries would be interested in the hard paper copy transcripts and photos as would various ethnic associations and historical preservation societies. Find out whether the materials will go to microfiche, film, or be digitized and put on CDs and DVDs, or on the World Wide Web. If you want to create a time capsule for the Web, you can ask the interviewee whether he or she wants the materials or selected materials to be put online or on CD as multimedia or other. Then you would get a signed release from the interviewee authorizing you to put the materials or excerpts online.
  89. Also find out in whose name the materials are copyrighted. Obtain at least one-time print and electronic rights to the material to publish as a gift book for your client. Get it all in writing, signed by those who have given you any interviews, and from those who own the latest publishing rights, even if you have to call upon a local intellectual property rights attorney.

Week 5 – 6 (Summary)

1. Document Recovery

2. How to Open a DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting and Production Service

1. Overview: Document Recovery

 

How do you rescue and recover memories from mold using conservation techniques? You transport horizontally and store vertically. Store documents and photos in plastic holders, between sheets of waxed paper, or interleave with acid-free paper. Books are stored spine down. Archive DVDs and CDs in plastic holders and store in plastic crates. To conserve time capsules, according to the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), in Washington, DC, neutralize that acid-wracked paper.

 

2. Overview: DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting Service

A memoirs gift book may include a report on DNA-driven genealogy test results. Include an interpretation on how to understand and ‘read’ the test, findings, or other information about genetic anthropology and its possibilities concerning genealogy. This information may be included in a memoirs gift book slanted to genealogy information when records of surnames can no longer be found.

 

If you decide to open an online, home-based DNA-driven genealogy reporting and production service, reports and time capsules could include the possible geographic location where the DNA sequences originated. Customers usually want to see the name of an actual town, even though towns didn’t exist 10,000 years ago when the sequences might have arisen.

 

The whole genome is not tested, only the few ancestral markers, usually 500 base pairs of genes. Testing DNA for ancestry does not have anything to do with testing genes for health risks because only certain genes are tested—genes related to ancestry. And all the testing is done at a laboratory, not at your online business.

 

If you're interested in a career in genetics counseling and wish to pursue a graduate degree in genetics counseling, that's another career route. For information, contact The American Board of Genetic Counseling. Sometimes social workers with some coursework in biology take a graduate degree in genetic counseling since it combines counseling skills with training in genetics and in interpreting genetics tests for your clients.

 

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.” __ Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, debator, and prime minister in England (elected to parliament), wrote many novels, including a trilogy "Coningsby,” "Sybil," and "Tancred.” and The Life and Reign of Charles I (1828). A nearly three-page listing of Disraeli’s quotations appear in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

How to research, record, and write creative, salable biographies

 

Before you begin writing or publishing works, remember the quote from Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action." Your goal in memoirs writing or writing biography and autobiography or in recording and writing life story highlights is to stimulate memories in creative ways. Check out my video lecture on Internet Archive, "So You Want to Be a Personal Historian."

The one hour and 44 minute talk is at the Internet Archive site:

https://archive.org/details/SoYouWantToBeAPersonalHistorian

 

Your project to enhance creativity in writing skills would include how to interview older adults, write their stories, or video record them for future generations to make time capsules, keepsake albums, recorded oral history/transcribed also as text, or salable life stories. It would appeal not only to writers but also to personal historians and others interested in life story writing and recording.

 

How to Stimulate Memory by Memoirs Writing

 

How do you help others (and yourself) by teaching or coaching a course in how to increase memory efficiency by writing one's life story as a salable non-fiction memoir, autobiography, play, skit, monologue, or transcribed oral history recording?


The technique would be of interest to anyone working with older adults, stay-at-home moms, or persons at any stage of life from high-school graduation life stories (to be looked at a generation later) to working with senior citizens through intergenerational writing--where young and older people work together on life story writing, recording, and transcribing for memory stimulation/reminiscing. Focus on how to make a time capsule of memory from life story highlights, turning points, and significant events.

 

Here's how your course in writing memoirs could operate, run, and play

Writing Memoirs to Enhance Memories and Creativity

Start with Vignettes

 

To stimulate your age-wise memory, start by writing short vignettes about an experience that emphasizes significant events, turning points, and individual stages of life. Use insight, hindsight, and pitfalls to avoid. Use foresight if you’ve had the premonition. Put direct experience in a small package and launch it worldwide.

 

Write your life story in short vignettes of 1,500 to 1,800 words. Write eulogies and anecdotes or vignettes of life stories and personal histories for mini-biographies and autobiographies. Then condense or contract the life stories or personal histories into PowerPoint presentations and similar slide shows on disks using lots of photos and one-page of life story.

 

1,500 word vignettes provide a slice-of-life biography of an experience or life story highlight

 

Finally, collect lots of vignettes and flesh-out the vignettes, linking them together into first-person diary-style novels and books, plays, skits, or other larger works. Write memoirs or eulogies for people or ghostwrite biographies and autobiographies for others.

If ghostwriting is too invisible, write biographies and vocational biographies, success stories and case histories, and customize for niche interest groups. Your main goal with personal history and life stories is to take the direct experience itself and package each story as a vignette.

 

The vignette can be read in ten minutes

 

So fill magazine space with a direct experience vignette. Magazine space needs only 1,500 words. When you link many vignettes together, each forms a book chapter or can be adapted to a play or script.

By turning vignettes into smaller packages, they are easier to launch to the media. When collected and linked together, they form a chain of vignettes offering nourishment, direction, purpose, and information used by people who need to make choices. Here's how to write those inspiration-driven, persistence-driven life stories and what to do with them. Use universal experience with which we all can identify.

 

Included are a full-length diary-format first person novel and a three-act play, including a monologue for performances. There's a demand for direct life experiences written or produced as vignettes and presented in small packages.

Save those vignettes electronically. Later, they can be placed together as chapters in a book or adapted as a play or script, turned into magazine feature, specialty, or news columns, or offered separately as easy-to-read packages.

 

Use General Statements, Proverbs, Slogans, or Mottos, and ‘Brand’ the Event

Here’s how to write, edit, dramatize, package, promote, present, publish & launch gift books as personal histories, autobiographies, biographies, vignettes, and eulogies: launching the inspiration-driven or design-driven life story and detailing your purpose.

Use personal or biographical experiences as examples when you write your essay. Begin by using specific examples taken from your personal experience, personal history, or biographical resources.

 

Start with a general statement, motto, slogan or proverb to connect the public to your client or the client’s attitude, purpose, achievements, or service. Then relate the general to your specific personal experience. You don't have to only write about your client or yourself. You can write about someone else as long as you have accurate historical facts about that person, and you state your credible resources. ‘Brand’ your client’s event as a stage of life celebration. With a business success story, ‘brand’ the type of event, such as a grand opening with the most important reason or purpose of the event—a good product.

 

Here's an example of two opening sentences that state the general and then give the specific personal experience. "Mom's a space garbage woman. She repairs satellites." Let's analyze all the different parts of an informed argument essay. By analyzing the result in depth instead of only skimming for breadth, you will be able to write concretely from different points of view.

 

You'll learn how to construct a memoirs or commemoration gift book from bare bones--from its concept. You start with a concept. Then you add at least three specific examples to your concept until it develops into a mold. A mold is a form, skeleton or foundation. Think of concept as conception. Think of mold as form or skeleton. Think of awning as the outer skin that covers the whole essay and animates it into lively writing.

You don't want your memoirs or other gift book to be flat writing. You want writing that is animated, alive, and able to move, motivate, or inspire readers. Finally, you cover the mold with an awning.

 

The mold is your pit, skeleton or foundation. Your mold contains your insight, foresight, and hindsight. It has the pitfalls to avoid and the highlights. You need to put flesh on its bones.

 

Then you need to cover your mold with an awning. You need to include or protect that concept and mold or form by including it under this awning of a larger topic or category. The awning holds everything together. It's your category under which all your related topics fall. That's what the technique of organizing your essay or personal history is all about.

 

In other words, concept equals form plus details. Story equals form plus details. That's the math formula for writing an essay if you'd like to put it into a logical equation of critical thinking. C = Fo + De. That's what you need to remember about writing an essay: your concept is composed of your form (mold, foundation, or skeleton) and details. A concept isn't an idea. It's the application of your idea.

 

A concept is what your story is about. Your concept is imbedded in your story. A story can mean your personal history or any other story or anecdote in your essay, or any highlight of your life or specific life experience. A concept also can be a turning point such as rites of passage or take place at any stage of life.

 

When writing the informed argument, you will be able to give examples backed up with resources. That's what makes an essay great--knowing what examples to put into the essay at which specific points in time.

 

Gone will be general, vague, or sweeping statements. Therefore, I'd like each of you on this learning team to start planning your essay by analyzing and discussing the parts that chronologically go into the essay. That's how you organize essays in a linear fashion.

Take an essay apart just as you would take a clock or computer apart, and put it back together. Now all the parts fit and work. Taking apart an essay helps you understand how to plan and write your own essay-writing assignments or personal history as a time capsule.

 

Here's how to take apart a memoir or life story or a business success case history. Some of your gift books will commemorate an event such as a coming of age ceremony, confirmation, sweet sixteen party, graduation, wedding, baby shower, anniversary or retirement. Your business clients may want to commemorate a grand opening or narrate a business history. To analyze a memoir in depth, you break the significant events into its six parts: statement-of-position, description, argumentation, exposition, supplementation and evaluation just as you would take apart a persuasive essay. Use the same format as if you’d write a persuasive essay destined to convince.

 

This is your foundation or umbrella. On top of this framework, you’d add the creative elements that make the life story or business success narration able to hold the attention of the reader. Remember that this is a coffee-table type gift book.

 

If you need to find out what the parts of a persuasive life story are, they are similar to the six parts of a persuasive essay. You can organize the parts of a life story as you would organize the six parts of an essay as explained in the book titled, The Informed Argument. (ISBN: 0155414593).

 

Use the same technique when writing life stories, skits, plays, persuasive essays, and gift books based on significant events of lives or business histories. This technique works because readers look to be convinced by experiences backed up by facts. It works for persuasive essays, and it works as well for life story experiences. Action verbs also help you organize your gift book topics or chapters by achievements done and results obtained or problems solved. For more ideas, you also can look at some action verbs in another book titled, 801 Action Verbs for Communicators. (ISBN: 0-595-31911-4).

 

Argumentation is part of a memoirs gift book if handled with courtesy and details that can be fact-checked or verified, if at all possible. Include resources and photos or video clips or audio interviews on a disk placed in an envelope at the back of the book if at all possible. Or use interviews in text in print paperback books. Before you even get to the expressive part of argumentation, you have to state your position and describe it by using specific examples. Then you get to the informed argument in the middle of your essay.

 

After you've finished arguing logically using critical thinking and your resources, you use exposition. Then you use supplementation, and finally evaluation. To practice writing personal history essays in text or on video, define and analyze the words 'exposition' and 'supplementation.' Use exposition and supplementation in at least one sentence each as an example of how you would use it in your essay. Don't stick to only what is familiar.

My dictionary defines 'exposition' as "a careful setting out of the facts or ideas involved in something." The principal themes are presented first in a 'music' exposition. Apply it now to an essay. Present your principal themes first in your personal history. Supplementation means adding to your work to improve or complete it.

 

The goal of an essay is to analyze your informed argument in depth. That's why there are six parts to an essay. Knowing what those six parts are as well as showing examples gives you the experience you need to plan and organize your essay. The result is that once you have organized your plan in writing, the essay almost writes itself.

 

Use proverbs, quotations, (with credits) and flesh out the proverbs or quotes with details of life stories and events. Keep an old proverb or quotation in front of you when you write. A memoirs book is about wanting others to know that your client cares

 

One goal of a memoirs book is to let the reader know that the client cares more about the readers than the readers would care what the client knows. It's a great saying to remind others why the client is creating a book. Everyone has a life story of great value.

How do you present the outcome of significant events, family or business history, or commemorations as a gift book? How do you publish the book? You start with your time and money budget and only then begin to break your organizing, writing, editing, and publishing into weekly tasks. The first week is for interviewing and gathering significant facts, events, and turning points.

 

A gift book may be presented also as a skit, play, or monologue and/or as a narrative book of highlights. For business histories and success stories, the narrative also can be turned into a 28 ½ minute infomercial script with two or more people interviewing the client.

 

The business success story infomercial, like the life story interview, needs a list of questions to present in advance that would take a specific time to answer such as a half-hour to an hour. Business infomercials usually are limited to 28 ½ minutes. Attention span for viewing is short. So write in seven to 10-minute chunks of reading or viewing time that allows time out for breaks.

#

“The Mind that Alters, Alters All” __ William Blake

 

Create a course on how to produce life stories, biographies, or personal and/or corporate success stories or similar histories and teach it

 

Course Overviews: Weeks 1 through 5 - 6

 

Week 1

 

1. Put Direct Experience In A Small Package And Launch It Worldwide. Make Time Capsules.

2. Write, Record, & Publish Purpose-Driven Personal History

Dramatize, Package, Promote, Present, & Launch Your Purpose.

3. Edit, Dramatize, Package, Promote, Present, Publish, Record, Produce, & Launch Time Capsules of Personal Histories, Autobiographies, Biographies, Vignettes, and Eulogies: Launching the Inspiration-Driven or Design-Driven Life Story and Detailing Your Purpose.

 

Week 2

 

Use Simplicity and Commitment in Personal History Writing, Time Capsules, and Videos. Here's useful insight to those who may someday write fiction, or their life stories, true experiences, or other people's life stories as vignettes or books created by linking a dozen or more vignettes together into a publishable book. Your aim is to produce time capsules or keepsake albums and other family history-related books, videos, audio projects, memory and/or prayer boxes, or memorabilia as heirlooms.

Look for insight, foresight, and hindsight. Mentoring is about pointing out what pitfalls to avoid. Instead of a formula, aim for simplicity, commitment, and persistence. Use simplicity in your writings.

 

Week 3

 

How to Motivate People to Interview One Another for Personal History Productions

 

People are "less camera shy" when two from the same peer group or class pair up and interview each other on video camcorder or on audio tape from a list of questions rehearsed. People also can write the questions they want to be asked and also write out and familiarize themselves with the answers alone and/or with their interviewers from their own peer group.

 

Some people have their favorite proverbs, or a logo that represents their outlook on life. Others have their own 'crusade' or mission. And some have a slogan that says what they are about in a few words...example, "seeking the joy of life," or "service with a smile."

A play can come from someone's slogan, for example. A slogan, logo, proverb, or motto can form the foundation for a questionnaire on what they want to say in an oral history or personal history video or audio tape on in a multimedia presentation of their life story highlights.

 

Week 4

  1. How to Gather Personal Histories
  2. Use the following sequence when gathering oral histories:
  3. Develop one central issue and divide that issue into a few important questions that highlight or focus on that one central issue.
  4. Write out a plan just like a business plan for your oral history project. You may have to use that plan later to ask for a grant for funding, if required. Make a list of all your products that will result from the oral history when it’s done.
  5. Write out a plan for publicity or public relations and media relations. How are you going to get the message to the public or special audiences?
  6. Develop a budget. This is important if you want a grant or to see how much you’ll have to spend on creating an oral history project.
  7. List the cost of video taping and editing, packaging, publicity, and help with audio or special effects and stock shot photos of required.
  8. What kind of equipment will you need? List that and the time slots you give to each part of the project. How much time is available? What are your deadlines?
  9. What’s your plan for a research? How are you going to approach the people to get the interviews? What questions will you ask?
  10. Do the interviews. Arrive prepared with a list of questions. It’s okay to ask the people the kind of questions they would like to be asked. Know what dates the interviews will cover in terms of time. Are you covering the economic depression of the thirties? World Wars? Fifties? Sixties? Pick the time parameters.
  11. Edit the interviews so you get the highlights of experiences and events, the important parts. Make sure what’s important to you also is important to the person you interviewed.
  12. Have the person you’ve interviewed approve of the selected highlights, experiences, or turning points to make sure what you select is the same as what the person wants included and emphasized in the memoirs gift book.
  13. Make any adjustments
  14. Process audio as well as video, and make sure you have written transcripts of anything on audio and/or video in case the technology changes or the tapes go bad.
  15. Save the tapes to compact disks, DVDs, a computer hard disk and several other ways to preserve your oral history time capsule. Donate any tapes or CDs to appropriate archives, museums, relatives of the interviewee, and one or more oral history libraries. They are usually found at universities that have an oral history department and library such as the oral history library at UC Berkeley and other similar libraries for oral histories.
  16. Check the Web for oral history libraries at universities in various states and abroad.
  17. Evaluate what you have edited. Make sure the central issue and central questions have been covered in the interview. Find out whether newspapers or magazines want summarized transcripts of the audio and/or video with photos.
  18. Contact libraries, archives, university oral history departments and relevant associations and various ethnic genealogy societies that focus on the subject matter of your central topic.
  19. Keep organizing what you have until you have long and short versions of your oral history for various archives and publications. Contact magazines and newspapers to see whether editors would assign reporters to do a story on the oral history project.
  20. Create a scrapbook with photos and summarized oral histories. Write a synopsis of each oral history on a central topic or issue. Have speakers give public presentations of what you have for each person interviewed and/or for the entire project using highlights of several interviews with the media for publicity. Be sure your project is archived properly and stored in a place devoted to oral history archives and available to researchers and authors.
  21. Recorded and Transcribed Oral History Techniques (Video and/or Audio)
  22. Begin with easy to answer questions that don’t require you explore and probe deeply in your first question. Focus on one central issue when asking questions. Don't use abstract questions. A plain question would be "What's your purpose?" An abstract question with connotations would be "What's your crusade?" Use questions with denotations instead of connotations. Keep questions short and plain--easy to understand. Examples would be, "What did you want to accomplish? How did you solve those problems? How did you find closure?" Ask the familiar "what, when, who, where, how, and why."
  23. First research written or visual resources before you begin to seek an oral history of a central issue, experience, or event.
  24. Who is your intended audience?
  25. What kind of population niche or sample will you target?
  26. What means will you select to choose who you will interview? What group of people will be central to your interview?
  27. Write down how you’ll explain your project. Have a script ready so you don’t digress or forget what to say on your feet.
  28. Consult oral history professionals if you need more information. Make sure what you write in your script will be clear to understand by your intended audience.
  29. Have all the equipment you need ready and keep a list of what you’ll use and the cost.
  30. Work up your budget
  31. Choose what kind of recording device is best—video, audio, multimedia, photos, and text transcript. Make sure your video is broadcast quality. I use a Sony Digital eight (high eight) camera.
  32. Make sure from cable TV stations or news stations that what type of video and audio you choose ahead of time is broadcast quality.
  33. Make sure you have an external microphone and also a second microphone as a second person also tapes the interview in case the quality of your camera breaks down. You can also keep a tape recorder going to capture the audio in case your battery dies.
  34. Make sure your battery is fully charged right before the interview. Many batteries die down after a day or two of nonuse.
  35. Test all equipment before the interview and before you leave your office or home. I’ve had batteries go down unexpectedly and happy there was another person ready with another video camera waiting and also an audio tape version going.
  36. Make sure the equipment works if it’s raining, hot, cold, or other weather variations. Test it before the interview. Practice interviewing someone on your equipment several times to get the hang of it before you show up at the interview.
  37. Make up your mind how long the interview will go before a break and use tape of that length, so you have one tape for each segment of the interview. Make several copies of your interview questions.
  38. Be sure the interviewee has a copy of the questions long before the interview so the person can practice answering the questions and think of what to say or even take notes. Keep checking your list of what you need to do.
  39. Let the interviewee make up his own questions if he wants. Perhaps your questions miss the point. Present your questions first. Then let him embellish the questions or change them as he wants to fit the central issue with his own experiences.
  40. Call the person two days and then one day before the interview to make sure the individual will be there on time and understands how to travel to the location. Or if you are going to the person’s home, make sure you understand how to get there.
  41. Allow yourself one extra hour in case of traffic jams.
  42. Choose a quiet place. Turn off cell phones and any ringing noises. Make sure you are away from barking dogs, street noise, and other distractions.
  43. Before you interview make sure the person knows he or she is going to be video and audio-taped.
  44. If you don’t want anyone swearing, make that clear it’s for public archives and perhaps broadcast to families.
  45. Your interview questions should follow the journalist’s information-seeking format of asking, who, what, where, where, how, and why. Oral history is a branch of journalistic research.
  46. Let the person talk and don’t interrupt. You be the listener and think of oral history as aural history from your perspective.
  47. Make sure only one person speaks without being interrupted before someone else takes his turn to speak.
  48. Understand silent pauses are for thinking of what to say
  49. Ask one question and let the person gather his thoughts.
  50. Finish all your research on one question before jumping to the next question. Keep it organized by not jumping back to the first question after the second is done. Stay in a linear format.
  51. Follow up what you can about any one question, finish with it, and move on to the next question without circling back. Focus on listening instead of asking rapid fire questions as they would confuse the speaker.
  52. Ask questions that allow the speaker to begin to give a story, anecdote, life experience, or opinion along with facts. Don’t ask questions that can be answered only be yes or no. This is not a courtroom. Let the speaker elaborate with facts and feelings or thoughts.
  53. Late in the interview, start to ask questions that explore and probe for deeper answers.
  54. Wrap up with how the person solved the problem, achieved results, reached a conclusion, or developed an attitude, or found the answer. Keep the wrap-up on a light, uplifting note.
  55. Don’t leave the individual hanging in emotion after any intensity of. Respect the feelings and opinions of the person. He or she may see the situation from a different point of view than someone else. So respect the person’s right to feel as he does. Respect his need to recollect his own experiences.
  56. Interview for only one hour at a time. If you have only one chance, interview for an hour. Take a few minutes break. Then interview for the second hour. Don’t interview more than two hours at any one meeting.
  57. Use prompts such as paintings, photos, music, video, diaries, vintage clothing, crafts, antiques, or memorabilia when appropriate. Carry the photos in labeled files or envelopes to show at appropriate times in order to prime the memory of the interviewee.
  58. For example, you may show a childhood photo and ask “What was it like in that orphanage where these pictures were taken?” Or travel photos might suggest a trip to America as a child, or whatever the photo suggests. For example, “Do you remember when this ice cream parlor inside the ABC movie house stood at the corner of X and Y Street? Did you go there as a teenager? What was your funniest memory of this movie theater or the ice cream store inside back in the fifties?”
  59. As soon as the interview is over, label all the tapes and put the numbers in order.
  60. A signed release form is required before you can broadcast anything. So have the interviewee sign a release form before the interview.
  61. Make sure the interviewee gets a copy of the tape and a transcript of what he or she said on tape. If the person insists on making corrections, send the paper transcript of the tape for correction to the interviewee. Edit the tape as best you can or have it edited professionally.
  62. Make sure you comply with all the corrections the interviewee wants changed. He or she may have given inaccurate facts that need to be corrected on the paper transcript.
  63. Have the tape edited with the corrections, even if you have to make a tape at the end of the interviewee putting in the corrections that couldn’t be edited out or changed.
  64. As a last resort, have the interviewee redo the part of the tape that needs correction and have it edited in the tape at the correct place marked on the tape. Keep the paper transcript accurate and up to date, signed with a release form by the interviewee.
  65. Oral historians write a journal of field notes about each interview. Make sure these get saved and archived so they can be read with the transcript.
  66. Have the field notes go into a computer where someone can read them along with the transcript of the oral history tape or CD.
  67. Thank the interviewee in writing for taking the time to do an interview for broadcast and transcript.
  68. Put a label on everything you do from the interview to the field notes. Make a file and sub file folders and have everything stored in a computer, in archived storage, and in paper transcript.
  69. Make copies and digital copies of all photos and put into the records in a computer. Return originals to owners.
  70. Make sure you keep your fingerprints off the photos by wearing white cotton gloves. Use cardboard when sending the photos back and pack securely. Also photocopy the photos and scan the photos into your computer. Treat photos as antique art history in preservation.
  71. Make copies for yourself of all photos, tapes, and transcripts. Use your duplicates, and store the original as the master tape in a place that won’t be used often, such as a time capsule or safe, or return to a library or museum where the original belongs.
  72. Return all original photos to the owners. An oral history archive library or museum also is suitable for original tapes. Use copies only to work from, copy, or distribute.
  73. Index your tapes and transcripts. To use oral history library and museum terminology, recordings and transcripts are given “accession numbers.”
  74. Phone a librarian in an oral history library of a university for directions on how to assign accession numbers to your tapes and transcripts if the materials are going to be stored at that particular library. Store copies in separate places in case of loss or damage.
  75. If you don’t know where the materials will be stored, use generic accession numbers to label your tapes and transcripts. Always keep copies available for yourself in case you have to duplicate the tapes to send to an institution, museum, or library, or to a broadcast company.
  76. Make synopses available to public broadcasting radio and TV stations.
  77. Check your facts.
  78. Are you missing anything you want to include?
  79. Is there some place you want to send these tapes and transcripts such as an ethnic museum, radio show, or TV satellite station specializing in the topics on the tapes, such as public TV stations? Would it be suitable for a world music station? A documentary station?
  80. If you need more interviews, arrange them if possible
  81. Give the interviewee a copy of the finished product with the corrections. Make sure the interviewee signs a release form that he or she is satisfied with the corrections and is releasing the tape to you and your project.
  82. Store the tapes and transcripts in a library or museum or at a university or other public place where it will be maintained and preserved for many generations and restored when necessary.
  83. You can also send copies to a film repository or film library that takes video tapes, an archive for radio or audio tapes for radio broadcast or cable TV.
  84. Copies may be sent to various archives for storage that lasts for many generations. Always ask whether there are facilities for restoring the tape. A museum would most likely have these provisions as would a large library that has an oral history library project or section
  85. Make sure the copy is well protected and set up for long-term storage in a place where it will be protected and preserved.
  86. If the oral history is about events in history, various network news TV stations might be interested. Film stock companies may be interested in copies of old photos.
  87. Find out from the subject matter what type of archives, repository, or storage museums and libraries would be interested in receiving copies of the oral history tapes and transcripts.
  88. Print media libraries would be interested in the hard paper copy transcripts and photos as would various ethnic associations and historical preservation societies. Find out whether the materials will go to microfiche, film, or be digitized and put on CDs and DVDs, or on the World Wide Web. If you want to create a time capsule for the Web, you can ask the interviewee whether he or she wants the materials or selected materials to be put online or on CD as multimedia or other. Then you would get a signed release from the interviewee authorizing you to put the materials or excerpts online.
  89. Also find out in whose name the materials are copyrighted. Obtain at least one-time print and electronic rights to the material to publish as a gift book for your client. Get it all in writing, signed by those who have given you any interviews, and from those who own the latest publishing rights, even if you have to call upon a local intellectual property rights attorney.

Week 5 – 6 (Summary)

1. Document Recovery

2. How to Open a DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting and Production Service

1. Overview: Document Recovery

 

How do you rescue and recover memories from mold using conservation techniques? You transport horizontally and store vertically. Store documents and photos in plastic holders, between sheets of waxed paper, or interleave with acid-free paper. Books are stored spine down. Archive DVDs and CDs in plastic holders and store in plastic crates. To conserve time capsules, according to the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC), in Washington, DC, neutralize that acid-wracked paper.

 

2. Overview: DNA-Driven Genealogy Reporting Service

A memoirs gift book may include a report on DNA-driven genealogy test results. Include an interpretation on how to understand and ‘read’ the test, findings, or other information about genetic anthropology and its possibilities concerning genealogy. This information may be included in a memoirs gift book slanted to genealogy information when records of surnames can no longer be found.

 

If you decide to open an online, home-based DNA-driven genealogy reporting and production service, reports and time capsules could include the possible geographic location where the DNA sequences originated. Customers usually want to see the name of an actual town, even though towns didn’t exist 10,000 years ago when the sequences might have arisen.

 

The whole genome is not tested, only the few ancestral markers, usually 500 base pairs of genes. Testing DNA for ancestry does not have anything to do with testing genes for health risks because only certain genes are tested—genes related to ancestry. And all the testing is done at a laboratory, not at your online business.

 

If you're interested in a career in genetics counseling and wish to pursue a graduate degree in genetics counseling, that's another career route. For information, contact The American Board of Genetic Counseling. Sometimes social workers with some coursework in biology take a graduate degree in genetic counseling since it combines counseling skills with training in genetics and in interpreting genetics tests for your clients.

 

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.” __ Benjamin Disraeli (1804 - 1881)

Benjamin Disraeli, novelist, debator, and prime minister in England (elected to parliament), wrote many novels, including a trilogy "Coningsby,” "Sybil," and "Tancred.” and The Life and Reign of Charles I (1828). A nearly three-page listing of Disraeli’s quotations appear in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Meet one of California's most prolific paperback book authors, a senior citizen who has been writing books for more than half a century. Meet nutrition, behavior, and health topics journalist Anne Hart, writing full-time freelance as an independent journalist since June 17, 1959, celebrating more than 50 years of being an independent journalist, novelist, and author of 91 paperback books emphasizing the realities of the lives of senior citizens, nutrition, and health trends. View 50 book cover photos.

 

Before retiring from teaching part time and writing full time, Hart taught creative writing courses to novelists specializing in specialty mainstream, historical, and genre fiction such as culinary novels, play and script writing, short stories, poems, and anthropology or history through fiction.

 

See a list of some of her 91 paperback books (87 paperback books currently in print at this date -- titles are listed at Amazon.com and at the of the publisher's site). She's also written numerous novels and short story collections in paperback and also with some works available as e-books. Some of the novels are time-travel adventures set in ancient or medieval times and in exotic locations.

 

Some of her 91 paperback titles include 101+ Practical Ways to Raise Funds, the nonfiction book, Diet Fads, Careers & Controversies in Nutrition Journalism. Looking to be a science or medical writer? See the book, 101 Ways to Find Six-Figure Medical or Popular Ghostwriting Jobs & Clients, 30+ Brain-Exercising Creativity Coach Businesses to Open.

 

Want fiction?

 

Then read the medieval historical time-travel novel, Adventures in my beloved medieval Alania and Beyond. Interested in family history newsletters? Then see the nonfiction how-to paperback book, Creating Family Newsletters & Time Capsules, Also see the paperback novel and collection of stories under one cover, Dogs with Careers: Ten Happy-Ending Stories of Purpose and Passion. And browse the paperback book, Who's Buying Which Popular Short Fiction Now, & What Are They Paying?

 

Looking for Anne Hart's food, health, and behavior-related nonfiction articles collected in a paperback book?

 

Check out Neurotechnology with Culinary Memoirs from the Daily Nutrition & Health Reporter. Some creativity-enhancing books include, 30+ Brain-Exercising Creativity Coach Businesses to Open.

 

Want to do creative genealogy writing?

 

You may wish to browse, How to Launch a Genealogy TV Business Online. Want to write ethnic or multicultural plays? See the book on how to write plays, Ethno-Playography. Browse the paperback book, How to Start, Teach, & Franchise a Creative Genealogy Writing Class or Club. Want to write great family history newsletters whether digital or text/print versions? See Anne Hart's book, Creating Family Newsletters & Time Capsules: How to Publish Multimedia Genealogy Periodicals or Gift Booklets.

 

Looking for nonfiction? Want to produce videos such as documentaries or films and write the scripts? See Anne Hart's book, How to Video Record Your Dog's Life Story: Writing, Financing, & Producing Pet Documentaries, Drama, or News.

 

Looking for humorous contemporary or time-travel historical fiction?

 

Also see novels, Astronauts and Their Cats, and the novel, How to Start Engaging Conversations on Women's, Men's, or Family Studies with Wealthy Strangers. See the novel, Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome. Want more creativity enhancement and writing assessments, that means questionnaires (multiple choice) for motivating, exercising, and inspiring your creativity--for historical fiction writers? See, Do You Have the Aptitude & Personality to Be A Popular Author?  Develop your historical fiction writing personality inclinations or creative inspirations.

 

Anne Hart earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English, emphasizing writing the novel, fiction writing and professional writing before starting a full-time career writing novels, plays, poems, and science writing. College minors were in psychology and anthropology. Many of her novels are for young readers focusing on adventure and historical time-travel stories. Nonfiction books include how-to books on nutrition, genetics, health trends, and behavior.

 

This author also taught university level classes since 1972 part time while spending more than eight hours daily writing novels, how-to books, plays, and scripts. Some of her novels include fiction titles such as Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome and Dogs with Careers. Want a suspense novel with humor? Read Anne Hart's novel, Murder in the Women's Studies Department."

 

Hart has written more than 2,000 articles and nonfiction books such as Neurotechnology with Culinary Memoirs from the Daily Nutrition Reporter and books on DNA-driven genealogy, including how to start and teach classes in family history. Besides numerous novels focusing on time-travel in exotic locations, she also has frequent columns on nutrition and health and specializes in finding healthier ingredients for various foods, for example chia seeds for starch in puddings and eating snacks of nuts and seeds instead of chips.

 

Check out some of her how-to videos on YouTube on topics ranging from foods to DNA-driven genealogy research. Since 1959, Hart has been writing daily at least six days a week, either stories, novels, how-to books, informational articles, and plays, poems, or scripts. She retired from part-time university teaching creative writing courses in 2002 and now spends her days writing articles "to make the world a kinder, gentler, and healthier place."

 

Anne Hart's hobby is writing about and cooking historical, sometimes ancient or medieval recipes, as long as they have health merit, such as 15th century style meals with spices. Anne Hart frequently writes in her columns about vegan cooking such as favorite Renaissance-era meals made with modern ingredients that are organic and vegan. The golden years are memorable times to bring cheer and smiles of joy to all, is Anne Hart's motto.

How to Write a Genre or Historical Novel and How to Develop Depth of Character in Your Fiction

 

Shallow, cardboard characters driven by unbelievable plots are gone. What sells currently in fiction is depth of character's personalities, commitment, and plots about making ancient roots contemporary. Mainstream novels and thrillers are in. For more information, you can browse my paperback novel, Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome: A Time-Travel Novel of Love as Growth of Consciousness and Peace in the Home.

The goal of today's manuscript doctor in fiction writing is to help writers avoid pitfalls that blindside your story's protagonist and could derail your manuscript. Instead of presenting your story's characters with shallow, stick-figure personalities, develop depth.

Start by slowly revealing growth, step-by-step. First your protagonist transcends past mistakes, bad decisions, and immature choices. Then he or she forgives and moves on to share confidence with others. Editors want to hear resilient voices rising in fiction dialog. Ethnography is in with mainstream fiction.

 

Here are the steps to take. Your main character, called the protagonist in your story, novel, or drama, gains depth through self-scrutiny. Editors need a system by which to judge your salable fiction. That system depends on the measured range of change of your main characters.

 

They derive that system from the simplest words describing your character's behavior found right in front of you, in your dictionary and thesaurus.

Divide your short story into three parts. Instead of calling those parts the beginning, middle, and end as you learned in literature classes, call your three parts foresight, insight, and hindsight.

 

Foresight

 

You show growth by taking a proverb and/or a quotation containing universal values and flesh it out-grow it like you grow crystals in a chemistry set. As you stretch out your proverb, fleshing it out as dialog and description, you will have set up the first part of your story, the beginning, or more precisely the foresight stage. It's about knowing growth will occur and having to make a choice about which path to take. You'll find plenty of proverbs in the Bible, in a published book of proverbs, or in a book of famous quotations from history.

 

Insight

 

The middle of your story is the insight stage. Ordinary people, including peers, colleagues, and neighbors making general conversation across lawns are responsible for words describing behavior, emotions, and personality traits. Those descriptions and observations end up in novels and thesauri.

Authors look at descriptions of behaviors or emotions, attitudes, and moods in dictionaries or thesauri. When you're looking for just the right word the dictionary is the prime source of definitions of personality preferences.

Then you look at proverbs to flesh out into a story focusing on the behavior traits of the specific personality type you want to target. That's one way you develop depth in a character in a work of fiction.

The other way is through inspiration and observation of real people in your environment that you fictionalize using as much accurate historical backgrounds as you can to make your fiction believable. If your fiction is believable it will hold attention better, even in a fantasy novel set in the far future or past. An example is "Star Wars" or "Valley of the Horses."

 

Hindsight

 

If your main character had one lesson to learn in life, what would it be? Your characters should reveal their personality traits through their behavior and actions. Let the character's personality unfold by example. Use simple words for dialog--words found in most dictionaries.

 

The gestures, patterns, and actions define behavior more than the words. Emotion is shown by tag lines. These lines reveal the character's attitude when any words are spoken. Tag lines prevent miscommunication. You can say, "He took a sudden interest in his shoes." But if you say, "He's shy." The word 'shy' is too abstract to define the behavior. You need to show what shyness looks like in one sentence. It's your pitch for your character in one line of action that presents the big picture of the protagonist's personality traits.

 

Your plot can be summed up in a proverb. Pick a proverb that is close to the theme or plot of your story. Then expand the proverb with dialog and actions. Describe surroundings.

 

Use action verbs, and adjectives for character, personality, attitude, and mood. Narrow your descriptive, behavioral "tag words" and tag lines to fourteen opposite concepts: feet on the ground or head in the clouds; sentimental or rational; traditional or change-oriented; decisive or explorative; impatient or patient; investigative or trusting; loner or outgoing.

 

Use action verbs to describe behavior or production, words such as designed, wrote, played, worked, or shopped.

 

For inspiration with action verbs, you might like to browse my book on action verbs for communicators titled, 801 Action Verbs for Communicators: Position Yourself First with Action Verbs for Journalists, Speakers, Educators, Students, Resume-Writers, Editors, ISBN : 0595319114. Before you write fiction, you need to define the behavior and personality of each main character, especially your protagonist and antagonist.

 

Those vernacular words from around the world end up in dictionaries and thesaurus, often translated into English language dictionaries, and most often focusing on a variety of personality aspects. These definitions help me design tests. Use the vernacular to get the big picture of your protagonist's and antagonist's personalities. They should be opposite in personality and equal in strength.

 

Don't take away their choices.

 

From the dictionary, make a list of personality traits and businesses that reflect the personalities of their owners. To get a handle on your main character's personality, break down conversation to the simplest parts of speech. Use descriptive words to describe the decisions your characters make.

 

Even water cooler gossip is a good source of listening to descriptive words that describe behavior or a company's mission. Describe personality traits by painting visual portraits with the simplest possible of definitions of behavior described by specific words. Listen to the emphasis people put on certain words. Does your character say one word marvelously or timorously?

 

What words are in your thesaurus describing a personality trait, style, attribute, mood, texture, or preference? How do dictionaries describe one aspect of personality, behavior, preference, or attitude? Is it based on observation by average people making casual conversation?

 

The more words you find in a dictionary describing how people talk or act or present their attitudes, the more important in that society a particular aspect of character is to the specific society and language. If you have writer's block, look at synonyms and antonyms and match them to your favorite proverb. Can they describe an anecdote?

Start your story with a 1,500 word vignette or anecdote and keep expanding the action as the characters' personalities drive the action forward and expand the events and their response to the events. Do they act or react to events or other people they meet or observe? Dictionaries contain the simplest definitions of human behavior described by people gossiping.

 

Simplicity in a novel, drama, or story means the story plot and actions of the main characters give you all the answers you were looking for in your life in exotic places, but found it close by. Your novel sells when it poses the least financial risk to the publisher.

Don't make up characters and sub-plots that are too complex for the average reader to understand and get the big picture with one reading. Emphasize simplicity.

 

Simplicity in a novel usually means the protagonist gets to stand on his or her two feet and put bread on the table because of commitment to family, faith, or friends. The salable novel or story has a moral point containing universal values that it is only right to pull your own weight and care for others, repair the world, and give charity while making your village or homestead a kinder and gentler place.

 

They key world in salable novel is "simplicity." Your story shows individual differences. But your main character is the backbone of the story. Characters should drive the plot. The plot doesn't drive the characters.

 

Emphasize commitment to responsibility. Give your protagonist social smarts at least by the end of the book. Any growth or change should reflect by the end of the story a rise in your main character's emotional quotient which is social maturity and responsibility.

Does your protagonist have empathy and compassion for others? Readers want to identify with an average person who also is a hero at least on the inside.

 

Fiction needs redemptive value to a universal audience. That's the most important point. Show step-by-step how your main character does the best he or she can do under the circumstances, with what he or she has. Show how your primary character grows enough to trust in his or her self-insight.

 

Use frequent dialog peppered between descriptions where the dialog is followed by action that shows each obstacle your character needs to overcome in a reduced amount of time. A salable novel is simple and cinematic, but not so cinematic to look like you couldn't sell your movie script and turned it into a novel by adding descriptions between the lines of dialog.

 

Don't make it so obvious that a script reader could spot the technique. That's where the use of proverbs enters. Use the proverb in a one liner in plain language. Then flesh out the proverb into action.

 

Don't let blind spots derail your writing career or your protagonist's goal of growth and a measurable range of change by the end of the story. The idea of measuring the range of change has been taught in numerous scriptwriting classes during the last decade.

Fiction competes with the entertainment industry. It's show business. But fiction also is used to gain insight. What acquisition editors look for is how believable your story is.

 

Publishers want to see how your writing reveals blind spots in an intense environment.

Fiction is purchased to help readers make sense of ourselves. In a thriller, the characters juggle conflicts. Your main character is being pressed and pressured in a tightening vice. He or she is caught between the push from regimented working life with its priorities-- and the pull from family responsibilities. Put your characters in this stew. Then pressure the protagonists with reduced time in which to make a great decision without taking away their choices.

 

The goal within each of your chapters in a mainstream novel is to highlight the important blind spots that exist within the core or personality of your protagonist and antagonist. One example would be overlooking important details under the pressures of reduced time when making decisions.

 

The measurable result is that the act of overlooking some important detail derails the protagonist's career early on. This could be your opening chapter. A salable short story nowadays offers a rich portrait of how a character stands up under stress, deals with conflicts, makes connections, communicates, solves problems, gets measurable results, and lives happily ever after. (Or at least the reader is left to believe there can be a sequel.)

 

The editor, publisher, or agent looking at your manuscript is really looking for a reliable system built into your story or novel to validate concepts of what sold well in the past-a best seller. Remember that your book is salable only so much as it poses the least financial risk to the publisher. Avoid tautology when writing dialog. The kiss of death is to have the characters speak about the same idea using different words throughout the manuscript.

 

The editor is looking for a tangible product rather than an intangible idea to sell to readers. Your characters must show confidence and have their own voices of resilience. Usually if you write one novel and sell it to a publisher, you get a contract to write two to four more to make it a trilogy or a series of five novels . The publisher wants to see endurance in you and in each of your characters if you are assigned a contract to write three to five more novels.

 

Editors want to see how each character makes sense of his or her world in your fiction. How reliable are you to write a series of novels or stories on the same theme, perhaps using the same characters? How reliable are the characters in your fiction to come up with a series of stories or novels using the same characters set in the same era with different plots?

 

What's selling now in mainstream fiction?

 

This year and last popular is the paranormal novel. Growing in popularity are sagas and novels of deep ancestry. Because of the human genome project and the popularity of DNA-driven genealogy, novels set against a background of phylogeography and exploration are becoming popular, as in the mainstream novel with a hint of romantic suspense and the time countdown pacing of a thriller titled, The DNA Detectives: Working Against Time.

 

You might wish to look at the new tools that complement the evidence of the past in a novel set in contemporary times. Novels and tales about how we decipher the details carried in our genes open literary doors. Combine fiction with science written simply as a gripping story.

 

How to Write a Chapter Outline and Your Plan for a Historical Novel

 

Historical novels have a beginning, middle, and end like all stories and dramas. They also need a platform-visible expertise. But how the beginning, middle, and end are divided up and equally balanced in the planning stage may determine whether your novel will be salable to most mainstream publishers.

 

There's a precise but hidden formula for planning, organizing, and writing salable historical novels. The formula applies only if you're writing for most mainstream publishers of popular historical fiction. Publishers can change and vary their requirements. So check with them before you write anything. You can find a list of publishers of historical fiction in most listings of writers' markets either online or in book and magazine listings.

 

Begin with your public or university librarian to make a list of 50 publishers of historical fiction that you will query. When you get a go-ahead to send your manuscript or an outline and sample chapters from the publisher, here's how to start your plan before your even begin to write your fiction proposal. Many publishers do not require an agent. If you contact those requiring an agent, you can send the fiction proposal, three sample chapters, and an outline of your plan.

 

To begin actually writing an historical novel, begin first with the dialog as if you were writing a radio or stage play. Instead of writing in camera angles or lighting or sound effects, you'll fill in your description. Use dialog as the framework or skeleton of your historical novel.

 

Then build your action scenes around the dialogue with description and tag lines. You use tag lines to describe body gestures, emotional mood, and behavior. Tag lines are used in novels and stories to let the reader know the character's attitude and tone of voice.

 

For example, you can say he sniffed the roast, but you won't know what he thought of the roast unless you add a tag line in your dialogue such as, "Joe sashayed into the restaurant at closing time, sniffed the roast plangently, and wailed a mournful sound of delight like the breaking of waves." Now you know how he felt as he smelled the food in the restaurant.

 

Genres of Historical Fiction

 

The six genres within historical fiction divide into social history, exploration-adventure, biography, intrigue-suspense, sagas, and historical romance. Children's, women's, specific age group appeal novels including young adult's historical fiction also fall into these six genres, including family sagas spanning generations. In young adult fiction, the word length usually runs about 40,000 words. The appropriate page count of the usual adult historical fiction tome may run 75,000 to 100,000 words. Young adult family sagas are shorter in word length, about half the size of adult historical family or adventure sagas.

Biographical fiction runs from 50,000 to 70,000 words. And historical suspense, thrillers, or mystery tomes run about 60,000 words. Historical sagas set in ancient or medieval times can run 100,000 to 120,000 words, depending upon what word count the publisher prefers and can afford to publish. Historical fantasy is another category that falls under the fantasy fiction genre rather than historical fiction which usually is based on social history.

 

Dividing the Twenty-Four Chapters of a Historical Novel into Push and Pull of Conflict

 

Historical novels are divided into 12 chapters of dialog and description that push the plot forward and 12 chapters of dialog and description that pull the tension and conflict backwards. The even-numbered chapters create more problems to solve and additional growth and change for your main characters.

 

Even-numbered chapters show results that can be measured in each character's inner growth, reflection, emotions, dialog, behavior, frame of mind, mood, attitude, tag lines, and arc of change. Odd-numbered chapters are devoted to descriptions of locations, dates and times, geography, folklore, customs, habits, ethnology, nuances, settings, ceremonies, adventure, explorations, coming of age rituals, travel, descriptions of village life, cooking, costumes, warfare, military and social history backgrounds. For every action in a historical novel, there's an equal and opposite reaction.

 

The Twelve Even-Numbered Chapters

 

Divide your historical novel into 24 chapters. Number those chapters on your outline and plan. Next separate 12 even-numbered chapters from the 12 odd-numbered. On the even numbered chapters write your character's dialog showing the rise of dramatic tension, the conflict, the push-and pull of any relationships or romance. I learned this suggestion from a speaker many years ago at a writer's conference but never found out the source where she got it from or whether it was her original technique. But I certainly have tried it in my fiction writing with my longer suspense-adventure novels.

 

Your characters in a historical novel need to solve a problem and show the reader the results, the range of change, and their inner growth. What protagonists think of themselves in their social history context are shown in the even chapters. How they act toward others showing how they have grown by the midpoint of your story and finally by the ending chapter belongs in the 12 even-numbered chapters.

 

Write your character's dialog within the even-numbered chapters showing descriptions, locations, settings, scenes, action, adventure, and exotic descriptions of ceremonies, rituals, and significant life story highlights or turning points and events that animate your writing-make the writing come alive with sparkle, charisma, and the dash of adventure.

 

The Twelve Odd-Numbered Chapters

 

If you're writing an historical thriller, the odd-numbered pages get the physical action such as the ticking clock or count down to the high point of your novel. In historical mysteries, thrillers, and intrigue, the ticking clock is more like a ticking bomb.

Time evaporates at a faster and faster rate the farther you read into the book. The pace speeds up dramatically using more conflict and action where the characters need speedier reaction times with each advancing chapter as you head toward the middle point of your story.

 

Let the characters drive your plot forward. That's how you illustrate the illusion of the count-down and create the push and pull tension in a historical novel.

It's the same technique used in a thriller, without the historical attributes, settings, and costume drama or historical dialects and props, such as a setting at Versailles in the 18th century. Historical novels portray character-driven plots.

 

Begin Your First Chapter by Writing the Dialog

 

Your first chapter-chapter one-is an odd-numbered chapter. Here's the chapter where you put your setting, props, and descriptions. You're staring at a blank page. What do you write as your first sentence? Ask yourself what is your main character's payoff or reward in the book?

 

Is his or her reward to understand and control nature in order to become rich and powerful, run away from unbearable duty, get recognition, be remembered, and make an impact, or be loved and also be the center of attention?

 

You can break down your protagonist's goal or life purpose into four categories: control, duty, attention, and impact. To avoid writer's block on that blank first page, you write 90 seconds of dialog. Read it in 90 seconds aloud to a digital recorder. Play it back. How smooth does it sound to your ears?

 

Do real people talk that way? Is your setting and dialog believable? After the first line of dialog, put in some of your background settings, dates, geography, action, and other props belonging in the odd-numbered chapters. Start a conversation between two characters. Then have them answer the questions or pose a new question by the end of the first page. Don't put everything on the first page.

 

Introduce your novel a little at a time to readers. Don't give the whole story away in the first chapter. In your outline, put in chapter summaries and headlines, not the whole story. Put your plan down after the first chapter.

 

Never start a historical novel with people in transit. Begin when they arrive at their new destination or write a historical novel that takes place entirely on the ship and end it when they step off the plank at their destination.

 

After you have your first page of dialogue written, insert in between the dialog the descriptions of geography, location, dates, foods, costumes, room descriptions, and anything else you will be putting into your odd chapters, usually falling on the right side of the book pages.

 

That's where the right eye travels first in a right-handed person. Then you write the first chapter as if it were act one of a 24-minute play, but don't put in any stage directions or sound effects. In fact, each of your chapters can total 24 pages. You're aiming for balance. Beware of short and long chapters in an historical novel or any story or drama.

Keep in mind attention span.

 

The average attention span of a reader is seven minutes, same as the attention span for viewing video. That's why commercials are inserted at every 10 minute break. The human brain needs a pause every 90 seconds to recharge. Knowing those elements of time, keep your scene segments changing every seven minutes and pausing for a change every 90 seconds of average reading time. Usually it takes a minute to read one page.

 

Your entire book would be 24 chapters. So keep the number 24 in mind as your yardstick. The pages don't have to be exact, of course, but you need to balance your chapters so that one chapter is not much longer than any other.

 

Instead, you describe in animated language, the geographic setting and the century or date. Animated language is written by using action verbs-designed, wrote, built, cured, vaccinated, or fired or ....as in "The charivari and consonance of healing frequencies fired from the klaxon's usual noise."

 

Avoid Tautology

 

Animate historical writing by avoiding tautology which means: don't repeat the same ideas using different words. How many words a publisher wants varies with each publisher. It costs less to publish a 50,000 word book than a book twice that size. Historical young adult novels run about 40,000 words. Historical novels can be family sagas that read as if they were talking maps and family atlases.

 

Begin your planning stage of your outline by first compiling your plot and the names of your character, dates, customs, ethnography, social history, biography, and folklore in a computer file folder. Keep at least two backup copies on CDs and also printed out on paper in case your computer crashes or your files are lost.

 

Buy a 3-ring loose leaf notebook for your paper copies. In the binder place all materials related to your book in progress. When the book is published, you'll need a second loose leaf notebook binder to keep track of publicity, press releases, reviews, contracts, and correspondence from your publisher and from the media. Place those little one-inch binder insert covers or tabs to label each chapter of your book.

 

Don't leave your book on the screen. Print out each chapter to edit and revise in the loose leaf note book. Put the book's title on the spine. Put into your note book plastic inserts.

 

Attach a tab to label your notes on research for historical accuracy. Put another tab for your synopsis, plan, outline, summarized chapters with chapter headings, and other notes. In another loose leaf notebook after the book is published, do the same type of labeling with plastic inserts and tabs for your editing, contracts, reviews, promotions, publicity press interviews, spinoff articles, history fact-checking, and royalty notices.

 

Keep your two notebooks in a metal filing cabinet, and keep copies of the same in your computer. One format will back up the other format. If your computer fails, you have everything printed out on paper and two or three CD copies of everything in a fire-proof metal filing cabinet or box. When your editor calls, you can find anything in moments if you label your chapters and other materials and keep them close by.

 

After your book is published your second notebook will track royalties, reviews, the book cover design information or ideas, editing/revisions, query letters, and research of your potential market of readers or age groups and ethnic associations interested in the historical novel.

 

Historical novels are about looking for answers to solve problems and get results in exotic places, but finding simple answers were right under your fingers. You want to emphasize universal values such as commitment to family and friends, caring for one another, repairing social ills and sickness, earning a living and becoming independent, supporting your children and keeping the family together against all odds, or finding freedom, faith and values, in the virtues of finding and being accepted a new home land.

 

Another genre in historical fiction is the family saga. The saga may be fictionalized but it reads like biography. Fictional sagas use action verbs in the dialogue. They read almost like a drama. And the action verbs animate the writing. The opposite of animated writing is flat writing, where passive verbs weaken the story. Historical novels become weaker when the plot drives the characters.

 

The characters should drive the plot faster and faster to a conclusion where problems are solved or conflicts resolved. You have closure at the end for the characters. Or they transcend past mistakes and rise above them. The last chapter gives the characters a type of choice and balance they did not have at the beginning of the book. The characters grow.

 

They change with the times and inspire the reader. Or they are heroes because of sticking to their purpose and commitment

 

The protagonists don't abandon their family or friends. But if they make mistakes, they find closure in rising above the mistakes by seeing more possibilities in the simple answers instead of the complex ones. Simplicity of answers close by is the formula for the historical novel that emphasizes growth and change for the better.

 

Before you write your plan, make a map or family atlas of your characters and summarize their problems and personalities in two paragraphs. Draw them on a map and point to how they relate to or interact with other characters and how they influence the other characters and the results. Read the book title, Silk Stockings Glimpses of 1904 Broadway, or A 19th Century Immigrant's Love Story. It shows how a love story intertwines with a historical novel that can be both a social history, romance novel, and historical novel or family saga rolled into one published book.

 

Write Two Scenes for Each Chapter

 

Your first chapter will consist of two scenes. Write those two scenes before sending them out to a publisher in an outline which usually asks for three sample chapters and an outline summary of one chapter (summarized by two paragraphs) for each of the 24 chapters of your book. Almost all mainstream novels consist of two scenes per chapter. Take apart any mainstream novel, and you'll see those two distinctive scenes in each chapter.

 

Within each chapter you'll have one scene of interaction between two characters or a character and his or her family and one action scene. So keep this formula in mind: one relationship scene and one action scene. It has been said by published authors in the past decade and repeated at talks and seminars where published authors speak to other authors repeating this formula.

 

When you first plan your historical novel, separate the relationship side from the action side. First summarize the relationship side and then do the same for the action side. Then bring both together in one chapter. In every relationship scene and in every action scene, you will have your characters interacting together.

 

You need to make a laundry list in your plan of what happens specifically on the relationship side. Then in your odd-numbered chapters, you will fill in the plot side, the mystery side, the action side, the geography, costume, food, ethnography, travel and ballroom or battlefield side.

 

What you don't want to do is have all even-numbered chapters where characters do nothing but talk or all odd-numbered chapters where characters don't speak to each other and just travel the roads or sail the seas or fight the wars. No, that's just the way you outline your plan, your skeleton. Now you bring the relationship scenes together and the action scenes together and put them interplaying in each chapter. At this point, you'll start writing your book. In the actual book, the reader will not see a difference between the odd and even chapters.

 

It's in your planning stage that you separate each set of 12 chapters totaling 24 chapters. So when you finally bring the chapters together to weave them slowly, what you have left is an historical mainstream novel with "two scenes per chapter, one relationship scene and one action scene," as it has been said by numerous published authors speaking at writer's seminars or meetings.

 

The quote I heard most often from popular published novelists emphasized that "Your protagonists interact together in the relationship and action scenes." What you do plan for in your historical mainstream novel is writing 24 chapters.

 

Your first step is to write up a plan that shows chapter by chapter exactly what is happening, changing, and moving the plot forward on the relationship side and on the plot or action side. Then you have to balance relationship and dialogue against plot or action. When the two sides are in balance as if on a seesaw, you have a salable historical mainstream novel.

 

In your plan, you'd have two columns, one for scenes with relationships showing communication, connection, and interaction using dialog. And in your other column, you'd describe your plot using scenes depicting action and adventure.

This is the best way to organize your novel before you sit down to write. It's set up so you can get a handle on what you're doing and find any scene or chapter quickly to do fact checking with actual historical events.

 

When you've picked apart your book's main points, results, and are able to show how the characters solved problems leading to growth and change, commitment, closure, or transcending past choices and taking alternative paths, you have arrived at a point in organization where every turning point or significant event and relationship or social history highlight is labeled and filed. Now that you have organized the details, it's time to flesh out your story.

 

Historical Novels Spring from Proverbs

 

Where do you get your storyline? You begin with a proverb related to the history your depicting. Look at a book of proverbs. Choose one. Flesh out the proverb into a story. Take a course in storytelling or read a book on how to be a storyteller.

 

Note most fairy tales and historical stories are built around proverbs with ageless, universal values and truths or are related to a culture's folklore and history. You can also use a proverb from the Bible or from any other similar book of any religion. Use an indigenous culture's proverbs or those from ancient cultures or hidden histories. You can write a historical novel about military dog, cat, or horse heroes.

 

Your story line can come out of a proverb or familiar quotation based on still older proverbs of any culture. If you need a plot, a proverb is the first place to look for inspiration or a start. Many novelists use proverbs as inspiration to write one-sentence pitch lines for their novels.

Before you write anything, summarize the pitch line of your book in one sentence. Pretend you were selling your novel to a movie producer. Pitch the book in ten seconds or less using one sentence. Here's one example used many times in lectures by scriptwriting course professors, "Star Trek is Wagon Train in outer space." Perhaps your historical novel resembles various popular cultures placed in a new context.

Books I have written many years ago before I retired as a freelance writer. Then again, I'm very elderly and still looking for something to write once in a while. My book titles at this date are listed at Amazon.com. I started writing June 17, 1959 and wrote nearly every day when I had the chance. It brought such joy. Now that I'm in my golden years, I'm looking for something to write about for about an hour each day. I wrote novels, nonfiction, plays, short fiction, and some poetry.

 

Noteworthy is that my M.A. in English/creative writing emphasized fiction writing, including poetry. My B.S. in English Education is dated 1964. Oh what fun it was to go to college in the late 1950s and early to mid 1960s, then return again for more graduate work from 1976-1979....How the courses (and tuition rates) changed over the years....fascinating. Here are some of my book titles written several years ago: And as an unknown writer, only a very, very few people ever bought any of my all print-on-demand published books. But in the 1980s, I wrote books (nonfiction) for major publishers. It's something to think about that all the books I ever wrote for mainstream publishers went out of print, but all the self-published or print-on-demand published books didn't quickly go out of print.

 

On the other hand, I had to pay for all the books self-published, and almost no one bought them. But even though I didn't earn any money to speak of from my books that would even pay for a good pair of shoes and a weekend vacation, on the other hand, the process of writing was joyful. The alternative? Since no alternative was ever offered, I'll never know. The result may have been the same...ending up a low-income senior citizen, nondriver, low-mobility, who's a frugal housewife growing her own tomatoes and zucchini in a tiny yard on a street near heavy traffic, and living on a tiny budget, but still love to write...now and then. And writing about another century does take one away from the air pollution and heavy traffic view, doesn't it?

 

Check out my historical novels if you want, such as Proper Parenting in Ancient Rome or Adventures in my Beloved Medieval Alania and Beyond, or my how-to book on playwriting with sample play, Ethno-Playography. They're listed at Amazon.com.

 

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