Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Keeping Family History Stories Alive through Fiction - Part B - "Dr. Bill" Smith

Keeping Family History Stories Alive through Fiction
Part B
"Dr. Bill" Smith

My favorite readings are biographies and family sagas… and many, if not most, biographies read much like family sagas. Or, is it the other way around? In any event, I enjoy reading family stories though out our history. Little House on the Prairie, Centennial, How the West was Won, Godfather… books, movies and television series focused on family life, much as we each see as we gather our family history and genealogy family stories, over the centuries., around the world. I like to see these stories preserved. Saving them through fiction is one approach, as I began to speak of here, last month, in Part A.

Today I would like to draw your attention to the "family saga" story in the history of literature (and as adapted to film and other media). If you have not given much thought to this subject, feel free to spend a few minutes looking at a list of the stories in this genre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_saga. Which of these are among your favorite stories? A few, I imagine. Roots, Dune, The Thorn Birds, perhaps, or Star Wars or Brideshead Revisited? They are set around the world, and throughout time: past, present and future. I noted that few, if any, have been set, in one place, in the Heartland of America. Therefore, I have created "The Homeplace Saga" set of stories to fill this need. I hope you enjoy them, as well. In addition, I hope you will be inspired, perhaps, to create your own family saga. That is, write your family history stories as a series of fictional stories, adding your own creative touches, to bring them alive for you and your readers.

Family saga stories are not always labeled as such. I just finished reading the new Jane Smiley novel, “Some Luck,” for example, that is clearly a family saga. However, it is presented as mainline literary fiction. Each chapter, a year, from 1920 to 1953, follows the stories of the lives of a farm family, from newly-weds to the death of the husband, and each of their children, and their children, and some assorted grandparents and aunts and uncle and cousins. That sure seemed like a family saga, to me, from a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. This is also the first of a trilogy of books/stories.

What will your family story look like, in fiction? Which parts will you include, which parts will you omit? Which parts will you include from your own creative mind? Give it some thought! ;-)

If you have an active interest in what I have suggested, I would recommend that you consider reading the novel, "Back to the Homeplace," see below. It is how I got started. All the rest of “The Homeplace Saga” family saga is built around it. For shorter reads, check out one or more of the several recent episodes of "The Kings of Oak Springs," <http://homeplaceseries.hubpages.com/>.

See you next month! I love to read comments, so please leave one or more, including questions. 

Dr. Bill


"Dr. Bill" (Wm. L.) Smith can be found regularly at his genealogy blog, "Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories" <http://drbilltellsancestorstories.blogspot.com/> or his family saga blog, "The Homeplace Saga," <http://thehomeplaceseries.blogspot.com/>. He is an original contributor, as The Heritage Tourist, to the "In-Depth Genealogy" blog with a monthly column in the "Going In-Depth" digi-mag. He also writes a monthly post for the Worldwide Genealogy Blog.

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