Candy Window Update

partly constructed doghouse

I started on Step Four: build following the DOABLE approach to story projects. We picked up a 4×8 sheet of 1/2″ thick Styrofoam insulation to build the doghouse. Bill asked me if I didn’t need two sheets. I replied that the doghouse wasn’t that big so one should be enough. I was wrong. I was missing one side and half the roof. I patched two pieces together to make the side but there isn’t nearly enough to make the other roof panel. That’s what happens when you don’t plan very well. Now it will take another trip to the store. I guess I was being lazy.

I’ve glued together the four sides of the doghouse so they will be set when I get the rest of the roof cut. I also made a little wreath to hang above the door on the end. One item is ready to go. I even have candy that will work for the wreath. It is exciting to be starting on the actual building part of my window! My first big goal is to get the structure done (hopefully before our new puppy comes next Friday).

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Planning an Oral History Project

I’m finally admitting to myself that my allergies have spawned a cold, but I don’t want to miss another post of doing story projects. So here is a link to some detailed information on doing an oral history project on the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center.

Here is a brief outline of the planning part:

  1. Determine the goals of the project.
  2. Learn about the work that is required for a typical oral history project.
  3. Determine the scope of the project.
  4. Conduct preliminary research.
  5. Determine who will work on the project.
  6. Determine what will happen to the recordings and other documentary materials after the project comes to an end.
  7. Create a release form.
  8. Determine what equipment, supplies and other resources are needed.
  9. Develop a timetable for the project.
  10. Develop a budget.
  11. Identify sources of funds.
  12. Publicity.

Adjectives for Focus

DOABLE Sidebar DMaking a list of adjectives that describe  what you want your finished story project to be can help you stay focused on the desired outcome. Think of the words not only as guides but also as inspiration as you move forward with your project. It would be a great to post your list of adjectives where you can see them and remember why you are doing your story project. You could add sketches or pictures or anything that helps to communicate the feelings you want your project to generate in those you will share it with.

Using “My Grandma Mary” again as an example, here are a list of adjectives for what I hoped to do:

  • appealing (I wanted it to draw the child into the story)
  • accurate (I wanted it be true to the known facts)
  • ageless (I hoped to appeal to many age groups for many years to come)
  • appropriate (I wanted the information shared to take into account the age of the target audience)
  • courageous (I wanted the courage of Mary and the other pioneer to be felt)
  • determined (I wanted the reader to understand that it took determination to reach Utah)
  • grandmotherly (I wanted the reader to relate to Mary Taylor as if she were their own grandma)
  • happy (I wanted the happy times of Mary’s life and journey to be present too)
  • hopeful (I wanted the kids to know that they can have hope even when things are at their worst)
  • hungry (I wanted them to understand how very hungry she was)
  • inspirational (I wanted Mary’s story to inspire them)
  • short (I wanted to keep the story short and easily read in a few minutes)
  • spiritual (I wanted the reader to feel Mary’s testimony)
  • thankful (I wanted the reader to feel Mary’s gratitude despite the trials of her life)

Another thing to keep in mind as you start on a new story project is who the intended audience is. With “My Grandma Mary” I kept in mind that I wanted it to most appealing for kids between 5 and 10 years old. Remembering this helped with many important decisions along the way.

Try making an adjective list about a new story project or one that you are already working on and see if the process is helpful for you.

The Many Mediums of a Story Project

DOABLE Sidebar DLet’s say that you’ve narrowed down your story project and have a good idea of what you want to do and why you want to do this story project, the next big question is what medium to do want to use to tell this story?

I’ll use my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor again as an example. I knew I wanted to do a story project about her and I had decided that I wanted to focus on her journey from England to Utah with the Martin Handcart company. I also knew that I wanted to do something that would be appealing to kids. I figured that if it was approachable for kids, adults would take time to learn about Mary Taylor too.

So looking at the 100 story projects post, and narrow it down. My first run through I deleted things that weren’t about her journey. That got me down to about 40 Then I deleted those that would not be very appealing to children. That took off about 20 more. Next I looked again at which ones would really tell the story of her journey and not just aspects of her experience and would appeal to kids ages 5 to 10. That got me down to the following list:

  1. make a story book with illustration of Mary’s childhood and journey to Zion (did that – it is so close to being ready to publish)
  2. make that story book into an ebook
  3. make that story book into an enhanced ebook with sound etc.
  4. make that story book into a video with narration and background music
  5. make a coloring book about Mary’s life (I could probably adapt the illustrations from “My Grandma Mary” for this)
  6. design surprise balls that tell a story about Mary Taylor
  7. make puppets to act out stories from Mary Taylor’s life
  8. make a video of the puppet show
  9. put together a story box about Mary Taylor

Looking at this more focused short list you could do some more brainstorming and ask yourself are there some different media that I could use to expand this list. Here are some extra ideas that come to mind:

  • make an animated video using claymation or other media
  • make paper dolls for the characters in Mary’s story
  • instead of having an adult illustrate the book have a child or children draw the images after learning about Mary’s story

The first five could be grouped together, because in completing the first one (make a story book), much of the work is already done for the next three. It is sharing it and enhancing it in different ways. Using different media. In some ways the story box could be the final end of several story projects about Mary Taylor all with the goal in mind of creating a story box about her life and/or her journey to Utah in 1856. The box could contain the story book and/or ebook, video etc, a coloring book, puppets and a script or scripts to perform or a video, and a surprise ball as a kind of summary of Mary’s story and trinkets to remind the kids what they learned about their ancestor. That would be really cool.

I didn’t make this list when I started the story book about Mary’s journey, but if I had I would then need to choose which story project to do first. The story box would be out because it is more appropriate as a long-term goal. Someone with more experience with puppets and script writing might pick that as a first project. But since my experience is mainly with books I would probably still pick that as my first project. Even the color book idea is a natural extension of the story book. If I was more comfortable with video that could be the starter project and then the book would be taken from still of the video. There are lots of options and mediums. Which one or ones you choose depends on you, your talents, your interests and your resources. The story book project turned out to be perfect for me because my niece was on board to illustrate it.

Does this example help you to see how to take a long list that you have brainstormed and narrow it down. There is not one right answer for a story project. Follow your intuition and move forward. This can be a fun process so let it inspire you. Then keep that vision alive as you take the many steps to complete your story project.

I’ve been inspired by this brainstorming exercise, I hope you have too. Now it is time for you to do something similar for your next story project!

 

So Many Stories, So Little Time

DOABLE Sidebar DAre you one of those people who has tons of ideas for story projects but can’t decide which one to do first? I’d start with making a list of all the projects you are thinking about doing. You might also make a few notes or comments about each of these projects and what you envision. Next be honest with yourself about how much time and energy you have to spend on your story project. Here are some ideas on some question to ask yourself that might help you decide which story project to do first:

  • Which one would be fastest?
  • Which one do you have all the skills needed to complete it?
  • Which one do you have all the resources (images, documents, etc.) you need to complete it?
  • Which one sounds the most interesting?
  • Which one do you find yourself thinking about the most often?
  • Which one would need you to learn something that you have wanted to learn?
  • Do any of these projects involve interviewing a person who may not be around much longer?

If this is your first story project be careful about making it such a big project that you get overwhelmed and don’t get it done. If you have successfully completed a few story projects than maybe it is time to challenge yourself. My advice is to trust yourself and your intuition as to which story project is right for you at this time.

Finally share your decision with someone who will be a supportive friend in holding you accountable to completing your project. If you want you can share it with me. I’d love to hear about your story project.

Update – revamping my blog

If you have followed the revamping of my blog you will notice that I’ve finished all the posts on the DOABLE approach to telling your family’s tale. So today, I checked back with my plan to see what was next on my list to do.

  • check revamp so far and adjust content plan if needed: Tuesday 14 May
  • move old content to new structure: Thursday, 16 May
  • move forward with new content plan: Monday, 20 May
  • start sharing with Google+: Monday, 3 June
  • start sharing with Pintrest: Monday, 1 July

So today I need to take a close look at my content plan and adjust it with my new structure and goals in mind. I also need to get started on moving my old content into the new blog plan. I think doing this could be very informative as to how my content plan needs to change. I want to make sure that all six step of the DOABLE plan has good ideas for how to carry out that step. With the set of posts I just completed there is some basic information but I’m sure there are lots more ideas and good information that would help in completing different story projects. I’m excited to have completed my revamp this far and anxious to see how the next steps develop.

How are you doing on your own projects? Do you have a story project in the works? I’d love to hear about it.