Last week I had the pleasure of sitting in on a short workshop by Linda Weaver Clarke, who has written a series of books based on her family history. Melinda and the Wild West is the first to be released. Her idea of taking a true family story and embellishing it into a work of historical fiction is a fun idea for those who are infected with a creative writing bug. If you can catch one of Linda’s free workshops, she not only offers a flash-course in creative writing but has the short booklet Writing Your Family Legacy free with purchase of a Melinda book. I have just used my notes and the booklet to rake over the final editing of the Cherry Blossoms in Twilight second edition.
Being that I have a true autobiography written in my mother’s voice, I cannot embellish my story too much, however I was able to use Linda’s tips to create more interest by the careful choice of my words, particularly in the case of descriptions. I was also able to ask my mother some more pointed questions about how she felt in certain situations, which in turn provoked other interesting tidbits to come out.
For those interested in writing more in depth about their family stories, be sure to study up on writing techniques and read other memoirs to get a feel for how to go about writing yours. I will look forward to reading the exciting and romantic Melinda and the Wild West while paying attention to how Ms. Clarke crafted her story, especially since I am toying with the idea of writing an “autobiographical novel” of my own, weaving true characters and events with embellishments in the hopes of entertaining my own children and others.
See http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/ for more about Linda and to see sample short stories.