It’s possible to construct a “creative” family history by weaving together facts and suppositions. Creative writing gives you the license to assign specific words, thoughts and emotions to an individual although the reality is lost to history. But, to do this, you need a decent base of research to make the story plausible and important to your family. This class will help tell you where to start and how to conduct your research, give you some creative writing practice and feedback, and help you fashion your creative family history.
Jodi Crawford is a writer and podcast producer from Toronto. With Print and Broadcast Journalism diplomas and a Creative Writing/Psychology double major Honours B.A. under her belt, she worked in television for more than a decade and has written for a number of periodicals and websites, but also ran her own tour company and recently created, produced, and hosted a podcast on movie musicals called Sing & Be Happy, Dammit! In her free time, Jodi enjoys writing plays and delving into genealogical research.
Links to Jodi’s work, reviews and media attention
Who Should Take This Workshop?
Anyone with an interest in genealogy and writers of all skill levels.
Session 1: Discuss why family stories matter. Discuss the many different ways to conduct family research. Homework: choose a family story you’d like to delve into further OR begin conducting your own research to attempt to discover a family story that is new to you.
Session 2: Continue research discussion with a deep dive into genealogical sites, using instructor’s personal research as an example. Discuss any information acquired by students. Talk about writing – how to write an engaging story, writing from 1st or 3rd-person perspective, etc. Homework: write a short piece using a writing prompt.
Session 3: Read excerpts of examples of creatively told family stories. Discuss specifics of how to write a family story, what to keep in mind, what needs to or can be left in and taken out, how creative the writer can be, etc. Discuss progress on research and writing and field questions from students. Demonstrate how to follow their genealogical trail to complementary websites and resources, how to reference comb, etc. Homework: write your family story.
Session 4: Students may read their family stories to the class, if they are comfortable doing so, and receive feedback and suggestions from their fellow students and the instructor. Suggestions will be made for further next steps in family research and/or creative writing. Writing prompts will be provided for future creative writing practice.
Session 1: November 09, 2021
Session 2: November 16, 2021
Session 3: November 23, 2021
Session 4: November 30, 2021
Start time: 12:00 EDT
End time: 14:00 EDT
Venue: Zoom Conference