Day 16 of the Armchair Genealogist‘s writing challenge: Back Story – Integrating Your Ancestor’s Past. The gist of today’s lesson was only include things from before your current story if it actually helps to tell the story. Here are the criteria that Lynn suggested:
- Demonstrates the Stakes
- Reveals Motivation
- Reveals Inner Fears
- Reveals Obstacles
Not sure how all this will apply to my Dad’s history about his time at the Underwater Swimmers School yet. I’m sure I don’t want to include too much back story but I can see that depending on how I end up approaching the story the back story could include the process it took to actually get him to Key West from the letter announcing the formation of the school to the weeks in San Diego at Instructors School. How much more personal back story I’ll be included remains to be seen. I will keep the list above handy as I come to area where back story might be appropriate.
Today’s free writing exercise was to practice writing about a back story from my life. Lynn suggested looking at events in the past influence my current motivations, fears and obstacles. I decided to write about why I’m a puppy raiser and how our pet dog, Shadow’s cancer lead me down the road to be a puppy raiser.
Have you struggled with how much back story to use in your histories? What thoughts have helped you?