How to Collect Personal Stories to Write a Book

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Collect personal stories to write a book by having conversations with lots of people, using a tape recorder to capture stories, always carrying a notebook and going back through old letters. Capture the oral histories that people have to share with advice from a writing instructor in this free video on writing.

Part of the Video Series: Writing & Education
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Laura from and I'm going to talk about how to collect personal stories to write a book. When you're putting together a book and want to include many voices or many different stories a good way to do this, to accomplish this is to have conversations with people and talk with them. Capture the oral nature, some of the oral histories that they might be able to share and it's a much more comfortable way than asking people to write things. You might start a conversation with someone who has a piece of history that you want to include. And Use a tape recorder, you know a very small hand held tape recorder to capture it. And that way your conversation will be much more comfortable and flowing. You'll have the essence of what this person has to share without having to slow it down with writing or typing. Another good tool for you to use is a notebook. Even just jotting your own notes when you're talking to someone or even ideas that you have yourself. So always carry a notebook with you. It could be a small one that will fit in to your pocket, but something good to have as a writer. If you're collecting your own stories to include an anthology, go back through your old letters or old writings, even notebooks that you may have saved from years before. This might be a way for you to find some of the stories that you've forgotten that are buried and you can combine these stories and put them out for your book. So those are some ideas about how to collect personal stories to write a book.


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