While Church leaders have counseled us to adopt the spirit of Elijah and write our life stories and family histories, they haven’t given us any instruction about how to do it. The truth is, many family histories we’ve inherited from well-meaning relatives could use a little help. Some aren’t particularly interesting because they’re primarily a collection of names and dates arranged into sentences that tell readers what their subjects did, but not who they were. Others suffer from an over-concern about painting family members in a favorable light. Everyone is a model of saintliness we’re supposed to revere and emulate. Of course, these kinds of “stories” are boring to read because we can’t take them seriously.
Dawn and Morris Thurston have written Breathe Life into Your Life Story, a book to help us write the kind of personal and family history we’d all like to inherit from our ancestors, one that’s a pleasure to read. Written for both novices and experienced writers, their book presents techniques to show you how to animate the people in your story so they become interesting, believable characters, rather than mere names on the page. You’ll learn how to re-create the world of your subjects so readers can visualize what it was like to live in their day. The book also treats topics like writing at the “gut level,” dealing with family skeletons, and using techniques that keep readers with you to the end. The podcast will tell you more.