02 October 2011

Celebrate a life

Every life is a story. Famous or humble, celebrated or unsung, the passing of our friends and family has a profound influence on us.

Those are the opening words of a solicitation in the Ottawa Citizen for their weekly feature is called Life Story. Readers are invited to submit 600-700 word remembrances of the lives of those near and dear top them recently deceased.

Although you may not want to publish a Life Story the guidelines may be helpful to those struggling with writing a family history. Start by writing short pieces, 600-700 words is good, don't get too ambitious, on individuals.

"These should be anecdote laden personal stories, full of colour and character, to inform our readers of the special memories and place that individual had in your life.
Some basics are necessary:
- name, age, cause of death,
- place of birth, place of death,
- description of the person – profession, hobby, and family ties, i.e., mother, sister, aunt and grandmother. 
Try to answer the 5W's: who, what, when, where and why. 
These stories are about the person being honored; this is about them. Rich detail is helpful. Accomplishments, telling anecdotes. That reveal character and legacies left behind are the types of information that will help readers understand the subject better."


David said...

I use ancestry.com, family search and my own website www.davidandcarole.info

Old Census Scribe said...

I wish every newpaper obituary was based on these principles.
Those of us who live far away and may not have seen the deceased for many years (perhaps since high school) would find it much easier to identify them by their past than by a list of the people left behind to mourn.