I did not expect to fall in love with ancestral writing. This type of prose differs from memoir but has many of the same elements- a snapshot of the ancestor’s life with an inciting event that leads to a conclusion. The beginning and ending are linked with a unique phrase or concept. However, whereas memoirs are generally book-length, ancestral pieces are generally shorter.
Ancestral stories are intentionally void of non-fiction. You can certainly add impressions of what could have happened or elements of your own introspection, but it must be clear what is fact and what is not.
So far, I have written about my paternal second great-grandmother who helped establish Cordell, Oklahoma, a paternal second great-grandfather who was a prominent farmer in Oklahoma, and great-grandmothers on both sides of the family who died young from disease and forever changed the lives of their infant sons. I continue writing these family stories and sharing them with my ancestral writing group created by our local genealogical society. I have some exciting characters in my blood family!
That said, I have not accomplished much lately with writing fiction. Now, being on a two-week staycation from my paralegal work, my goal is to redistribute my schedule so that I can do some serious writing each day. I will not be picking up old unfinished work, some of which might not ever see the light of day.
I have decided a new beginning is what I need now.
Today, I started working on a new novel using an idea that I have been chewing on over the last few days.
A novel with a catchy title and twists and turns in the prose. Unusual elements become characters in least expected ways.
A thriller with elements of my life of living at a lake—real life events slathered with embellishment to push readers to the edge of wherever they happen to be.
Like I said, I love ancestral writing, but I have also missed writing fiction.
Carry on, keep writing.