Internationally acclaimed biographer Carol Baxter teaches genealogists how they too can write books that are praised as being "a thrilling biography" (Publishers Weekly, USA).
Family history researchers often ask me: “How do I write an interesting family history when I’ve found little more than names and dates for my ancestors?”
Sadly, we won’t find much more than names, dates and places for most of them. However, each of these facts sits within a world of lived experiences. We can tap into our ancestors’ lived experiences to help us bring their stories to life.
This doesn't mean fictionalising our family histories or “recreating” scenes or conversations involving long-dead ancestors. How can I state this with such certainty? Because I don’t make things up in my “popular histories”. I use the literary tools we all have at our disposal to turn dry facts into exciting narrative.
You might respond: "Well, you're dealing with dramatic and well-documented stories. My ancestors are barely mentioned in historical records."
True. But how did I develop the writing skills that ultimately produced these gripping biographies?
At the time I received my first writing contract, I hadn't undertaken any writing courses or read any books on writing. (How remiss! I soon rectified that problem.) My writing experience consisted of analytical essays at university, a few family histories, and some articles for genealogical and historical journals.
Prior to writing An Irresistible Temptation, my prose was dry and heavily factual. However, as I struggled and strove to turn dry facts into interesting words, I gradually developed a writing style that produces gripping history. Now I realise that a good writer can turn even the driest of facts into interesting prose. It's all in the writing.
That's what I'm teaching you in this Writing Fabulous Family Histories syllabus. That's why my logo says:
Teaching you how to write, not just what to write.