Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Opening Chapter of a Family History, Biography or Memoir

What to Include in the Start of a Narrative
Here are some random thoughts about what to consider when getting set to write the opening chapter of your nonfiction narrative. For some tips on the pre-writing stage, leading up to writing that all-important opener, see our previous blog post:

Give your readers some context, so they understand what’s about to happen – but not too much!

Writing instructor Alice LaPlante (The Making of a Story) suggests you write the first chapter and then tear up the first three pages—and start from that point. This forces you to drop the reader into […]

The First Steps to Writing Nonfiction

The First Steps to Writing Nonfiction
There’s a lot riding on the first chapter of your nonfiction narrative. You want it to snap with energy, life and intrigue and you want to hook readers right from the start. To do that you need to know your story and characters very well. And it helps to know how the piece will end.
A Delayed Start Has Advantages
There’s a lot to be said for NOT starting at the beginning. Jump in at whatever point you’re most familiar with because you can back up later to write the beginning. There are lots of advantages […]

“Ruffles on My Longjohns” by Isobel Edwards

Book Review: Ruffles on My Longjohns, by Isobel Edwards
Here’s a guest post by Sandra Doran of Campbell River, BC, sharing a favourite coastal history book from the past century.

I listened to my mother’s stories of growing up in the town of Ocean Falls and her and her friends’ expeditions into the surrounding hills and valleys. I wondered about the homesteaders who settled in the valley to the east and was delighted to find, at a second hand book sale, Isobel Edwards’ book, Ruffles on My Longjohns, where she talks about her experiences living in the Bella Coola valley.

When Isobel […]