Tips, guidelines and principles: How to write a personal history your posterity can't put down
3. Keep in mind that different people remember different facts. If a relative doesn’t agree with the way you tell a story, then they should write their own version of the story and leave you alone, Nelson wrote.
4. It is wrong to fictionalize or make stuff up.
“Don’t do it,” Nelson wrote. “There will always be some factual mistakes in writing from memory, but you’d better be honest about what happened, how you felt and what you think you learned.”
5. Once you have composed 50-100 stories, you will have a feel for which ones must stay, which ones might be marginal, and which ones deserve the firing squad. Instead of including everything, good or bad, the personal history writer is selective and only includes the best stories, Nelson wrote.
6. Finally, Nelson shared the key secret to writing a personal history.
“There is no secret,” Nelson wrote, “It’s not hard, but it does take time and attention, usually over several years. It might go faster if I do it for you, but it might be better if you do it yourself. After all, you are the one who did all the research.
“The elements in great stories, the stories that never die, are the same elements we see in our own lives. The great stories parallel the lives of human beings. All of us are reluctant heroes or heroines engaged in life’s journey.”
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