Rules for Getting the Story Down

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1. Write it fast, fix it later.

2. Commit to writing 16 ½ minutes per day or 3 hours per week. If it is easier for
you, commit to writing 3 pages a day.

3. Quality is more important than quantity. If you only get one paragraph done
but it conveys your feelings and paints a picture the reader can see, then it is
good.

4. Write stand-alone anecdotes, stories or chapters. You can connect them later
with a theme, but if you don't the "pearls" will still have great value.

5. Make sure each piece has a "hook" which brings the reader in, a "middle"
which gives the necessary information and the "end" which teaches a moral,
makes us laugh or delivers the point. The end is usually tied in with the hook.

6. Don't worry about literary style. Write your story as if you were sitting at the
kitchen table swapping tales. Be yourself.

7. Include lots of details. Remember what was going on in society, the family,
and the neighborhood as well as physically and emotionally with the people
involved in the story.

8. Remember the five senses. Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and feel. Help the
reader relive the memory with you.

9. Edit out 10%. You will be amazed at how much better it is when you take out
the extra words and phrases. Now edit out another 10%.

10. Let others read it for content, grammar and flow. Listen to their suggestions. If one or two people tell you the same thing it is an opinion, however if 3 or
more tell you it is an observation that you should definitely consider.

11. Don't allow others or yourself to criticize too much. You are your own worst
critic. It doesn't have to be perfect or to please everyone. It just has to be
done. Many generations will be grateful you took the time, energy and risk to
record some small part of history.

12. Re-write or correct passages. Let it sit for a few days and then you may want
to tighten it some more.

13. Include some memorabilia or photos to bring the manuscript to life. You may
find copies of newspaper articles, letters, cartoons, maps etc. that will add
interest and information.

14. Finish the thing! It will never be completely done but bring it to a logical
conclusion and be able to let it go and start on another project.

You are a writer -never forget it- just keep writing!

Judy H. Wright is a parent educator, family coach, and personal historian who has written more than 20 books, hundreds of articles and speaks internationally on family issues, including end of life. You are invited to visit our blog at www.AskAuntieArtichoke.com for answers and suggestions which will enhance your relationships. You will also find a full listing of free tele-classes and radio shows held each Thursday just for you at www.ArtichokePress.com.

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