Saturday, November 12, 2011

Using the Story Sphere

Today, I’m enjoying the crowd and the activity at the Georgia Family History Expo being held at the Gwinnett Center. Family history researchers and genealogists (professional and amateur) have traveled from near and far to learn the latest techniques to discover the secrets of the past. 
I’m encouraged by all of the information available to help researchers tell their family’s stories. In fact, I gave a presentation yesterday -- “Write Your Life: How to Turn Your Research Into a Compelling Book.” 
The group was quite receptive to the idea of approaching the task of turning research into a book, particularly the story sphere I shared. This story sphere includes the basics of storytelling:
  • Theme: the core of your story 
  • Characters: the who of the story. In this case, characters are your ancestors and other individuals who impacted the lives of yourancestors.
  • Situation: the what, or the event that greatly impacted your ancestor.
  • Setting: the where, meaning the town/city, area, or venue where your story takes place.
  • Time frame: the when of your story. The year or era during which the activities took place. 
  • Motivation: the why, or the reason your ancestors did what they did.
  • Outcome: the end result, the moral,lesson, inspiration

The group enjoyed a great exercise where we created a family history story based on the above elements. Our theme was “victory.” From there, we created characters--a general, his two sons who were soldiers, and two slaves. The situation was that the general was taken captive in a prisoner of war camp. All of this happened in Georgia during the Revolutionary War. The motivation of the sons and the slaves was to free the general prior to his execution. And the outcome was that the general was saved. Of course, this story would have to be based on facts and documents discovered in your research. 
As it turns out, parts of this story ring true. Click here for the story of Revolutionary War patriots Kate and Jack, who actually did rescue Col. Stephen Heard, who later became a governor of Georgia. 
What a fun exercise! 

What story can you create based on the family history research you've done?

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