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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Preserving Your Family Holiday Memories

Goal:  using the writing process, families can craft a memoir of the holiday of their choosing.

Pre-writing:  Draw a map of a holiday dinner table.  Label who is sitting at each place, the kinds of food on the table, the table decor.  If you can, start recalling quotes of what people said, wore, etc.  Are there any peripheral details that you can add? What smells were in the air?  Noises, music?  The more thoroughly you label the map (take your time over a series of days), the more memories can come forward as they occur to you.

Web: Choose an aspect of your map that you can develop by adding details. It is helpful to make a web of the aspect and some details. Here is a sample web graphic organizer.

Rough Draft:  Start writing the story from your web.  Simply freewrite all that you can.  Don't try to do it all in one day. Write all you can and stop.  In a day or two, shape the piece by adding and subtracting details, and refining.  Zero in on details that represent the experience (hint:  sometimes the peripheral details are the most interesting . . . like a "hi-fi" in my piece or "winter chintz").   When you think you have a good draft, let someone read it and give you feedback.

Other things to add:  I added a recipe.  You can also add photographs or a collage of photos (use the iPad app Pic Collage, for an example).

My piece took about 20 minutes a day over a few weeks.  I just kept adding and deleting.  I had Mrs. Maleski read it and critique it for me.  She basically shared what she really liked and one part where she thought I could refine the details.  When you cannot refine it any more, proofread and edit the piece for conventions (you can also let someone read your piece and help you edit).

Extensions:  Make your memoir into an iMovie.  You might consider storyboarding your memoir, it would help in the making of the film.

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