Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Change Is In The Air

clouds Oddly enough, I just read a status update on Facebook about a variety of changes that have gone on today.  In keeping with that theme, I am announcing a name change for this blog.

This change had been planned for awhile now, but with a variety of high-priority projects, I had to put it on the back burner.  A few weeks ago, I learned of a website called Genwriters, which is operated by a colleague of mine.  In addition, she operates a blog called Genwriting.  Since my blog’s name was very similar, I decided to change the name of my blog as a courtesy.

So, without further ado, GenWriter has been changed to Writing Your Way to the Past.  The main goal for this blog is still the same; to provide writing and research tips and ideas.  News about my services and the world of genealogy will also be posted.

Friday, August 12, 2011

4 Resources for Writing Your Family History

MP900439466 Following are four great resources that can assist you in writing your family history.

You Can Write Your Family History

A great book to set you on your course is You Can Write Your Family History, by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack.  One of the questions I struggle with the most is answered in this book:  How much research is enough?  Sharon also defines the various types of family histories and provides creative strategies for the writing process.  This book can be purchased on Amazon for under $20.

Producing a Quality Family History

Patricia Law Hatcher gets into the nitty-gritty of writing and publishing a book in Producing a Quality Family History.  While Patricia does discuss the writing aspect, the most valuable piece of her book is the several chapter dedicated to putting the book together in terms of what elements to include, the layout and design of the book, and publishing considerations.  I’m glad I got this book awhile ago since it appears to be out of print; it’s certainly worth checking to see if your local library or genealogical society has a copy.

Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family’s Story

Lisa Alzo did a great webinar in June called Ready, Set, Write! Share Your Family’s Story.  The webinar was done through Legacy Family Tree.  Lisa’s presentation was very informative and extremely inspirational.  A 13 minute preview is available here.  You can also purchase the CD from this link as well; it’s worth the $9.95 price tag!

For All Time:  A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History

For All Time:  A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History, by Charley Kempthorne takes a different approach than the previously mentioned books.  Charley really focuses on the writing and shows you how to make the story interesting.  He gives a lot of examples and even has small challenges throughout the book to put what you’ve learned into practice.  There are also chapters on the types of family histories and publishing.  This book can be purchased on Amazon for under $15.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Find Your Research Mojo

MP900442383There are so many factors that take us away from our passion for genealogy:  lack of time and money, limited access to records, and other obligations.  All of these suck the motivation right out of us and when we do find time or some extra cash, we don’t have the desire to do any research.  So how can we find that motivation?

The following is a list of activities that serve as motivators.  I almost always walk away feeling renewed with a sense of purpose.  My perspective shifts and I’m ready to tackle some research.

Heck, just writing this post has inspired me.  Even thought I have a zillion other things to do, I’m going to carve out some time today and work on my own research for a bit…I found my mojo!

What are some other activities that help motivate you to dive into your research?  Post a comment and share!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Did You Know? Different Types of Editing

MP900446674 When you ask someone to “edit” your work, what exactly does that mean?  There are various schools of thought on types or “levels of edit” so it is important to ask a potential editor what type of editorial services they offer and what to expect.  Doing this will set the expectations of the project and ensure that both author and editor are on the same page.

For my own professional editorial services, I use the following levels of edit:

  • Developmental
  • Substantive
  • Copyediting
  • Proofreading

Each level has its own parameters.  Note:  The parameters may vary from editor to editor.  Be sure to find out what is included at what level with any editor you consider.


  • Assists the author during manuscript development (sometimes before, perhaps during the concept or outline stage) in terms of content and organization.
  • May be involved in the writing and/or editing of the manuscript, depending on the scope and terms of the project agreement.
  • A developmental editor may sometimes be regarded as a ghostwriter or co-author.


  • Concerned with the overall integrity of the manuscript.
  • Rewrites/revises and reorganizes content for clarity, logic, and presentation.


  • Adheres to specified style guide.
  • Corrects errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, syntax, and word usage.
  • Checks for consistency in voice, terms, abbreviations/acronyms, style, and format.
  • Verifies facts, calculations, cross-references, and website addresses.
  • Queries author when questions of clarity, logic, or inconsistencies arise.


  • Examines a proof (a.k.a. galley proof or galley) against the edited manuscript for typographical errors or omissions.
  • May query copyeditor or author with other errors such as word usage, grammar, and punctuation. 

Most of the work I do falls under substantive and copyediting, and more often than not, due to time constraints, those types of edits end up combined.  This is always determined ahead of time and is provided for in the written service agreement.

Remember, when working with any editor it is important to clearly understand what editorial services will be provided.  And of course, make sure to get it in writing to ensure the project’s expectations are agreed upon by both author and editor.

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