Writing Challenge: day 45

Today subject in The Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge was very fitting since day 15 puts me over the hump, it is about what’s in the middle of a family history. The middle has lots of important things in it that are essential to a successful story. Here is what Lynn had to say:

  1. In the middle, you reveal for your reader a deeper understanding of your ancestor’s problem that propels them toward the ending, hinting of coming changes. The middle adds depth to your story, it shows what it all means, or otherwise your story is nothing more than your ancestors acting out the events of their life.
  2. In the middle, you reveal the obstacles, the plot points facing your ancestor, each one escalating to a crisis point, creating tension keeping your reader moving forward. Things become harder and harder for your ancestor, they overcome obstacles but these victories are short lived as the next struggle is quickly facing them. Tension must be at its peak through the middle keeping the reader engaged and moving forward.
  3. In the middle, your ancestor begins to take charge of the situation and find new ways to reach his goal. The middle will demonstrate the growth your ancestor is going through as he looks for new ways to overcome his obstacles and are no longer reacting to the situation but taking matters into his own hands to change the situation.
  4. Your ancestor begins an internal journey, developing deeper relationships with family or friends or revealing his own self development. Not all the obstacles your ancestor faced were physical obstacles but emotional obstacles as well. Your middle story should demonstrate an internal change in your ancestor as well.
  5. The middle of your story should foreshadow the final crisis; the greatest obstacle your ancestor faces. However, by the end of the middle your ancestor should face his greatest obstacle, the crisis point.

Today’s writing exercise was about creating tension through a secret. The idea is to find a secret from my life or an ancestors life. Here are the questions that Lynn suggests to explore a family secret:

  • What is the secret?
  • Who is keeping the secret?
  • From whom is the secret being kept?
  •  Who are the people involved?
  •  Why does it need to kept?
  • What will happen if it is uncovered?
  • What happens when the secret is found out?
  • What is the risk of and rewards of keeping the secret or letting it out?
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