Helpful Hints

Brandt, Elizabeth Jeanne smallBefore you show up to record your stories, consider the following questions. Most of these questions are based on people, places or happenings in your life. Some of the questions might not be relevant to you so just skip over those. If you have a story in mind not related to these questions that is fine too. These questions are to help you get started in sharing your life story.

  1. How do you remember your hometown? Can you take us on a walk around your neighborhood and/or your childhood home? What was your favorite place to play/hide out? What did you do?
  2. What was your favorite activity as a child and why did your enjoy it? (games, adventures, travel, trips to relatives, summer camp, time with your favorite adult, etc.)
  3. Can you describe a moment of success during your childhood? (consider trying something for the first time, being somewhere new)
    1. Tell me about something you lost growing up, maybe a pet, a friend, a valued possession?
    2. Who did you want to be when you grew up? Tell me about them.
    3. Describe a time when you overcame great odds? What was your situation and how did you overcome it?
    4. Tell me about someone you had a crush on. When and how did you know them?
    5. How and when did you meet your spouse? Fall in love?
    6. Tell me about a time you got into trouble?

Hall, Michael Lee smallA few helpful hints as you think about your stories:

  1. Always describe where, when, and who as you begin. This includes where did the story take place? When did the story happen? Who was there during?
  2. Then, set the scene. What did I see, smell, taste, touch, hear? This includes sounds – voices, animals, music, machines, fans etc. Touch – soft, bumpy, cold, painful, rough etc? Smells – food, perfume, animals, exhaust, eraser dust. Tastes – snow, peanut butter, bubble gum.
  3. The story needs to have a beginning, middle and an end. “The central hinge of any story plot is a crisis. A crisis is any happening or an event that turns our lives upside down so that we have to adjust to a world that is shaped differently than before. This means that many of the most significant crises in our family lives are crises we volunteer for. Under this definition, winning the lottery is a crisis. It requires that our whole relationship to the world be changed. Getting married is a crisis, as is having a baby, retiring, buying a new house.” Telling Your Own Stories by Donald Davis, published by August House. Think about how your life changes as a result of “getting in trouble” or “getting lost” or “going on a vacation” or “overcoming great odds such as diving off a diving board” or “falling in love.”