Write Your Family History: Create a Captivating Record of Your Family’s Story

We’re now offering an extended, eight-week version of this course, which gives you more time to work with a professional writer, Sunny McClellan Morton, to make your family history tale the best it can be.

The story of your own or your family’s history is likely to be the most personal, emotionally satisfying and overwhelming writing project you’ll ever undertake. You’ve collected oral histories, personal memories, journal entries, photographs, letters and countless other documents—now find out how to weave them together into a compelling story.

In the first half of this course, you’ll craft an outline for your book and start putting your family’s legacy down on paper. The second half of this course is a workshop, in which you’ll share your writing with the instructor and receive feedback on how to move forward.


$199.99 ($179.99 for VIP)

Course Length:

8 Weeks


Sunny McClellan Morton

Start Date:

View upcoming course schedule for dates.


“This course is wonderfully inspiring. The way it unfolds is key to getting a story/book published. Thank you so much. I’m using the timeline and getting the chapters down in order, preparing to write them later on in the course. I can’t praise you and the course enough. Thanks, thanks, thanks!” — Karen J.

“I love this week’s homework.”

“This course has really helped me and pushed me forward tremendously. What a learning experience.” — Sonja H.


  • How to define the scope, audience and purpose of your writing project
  • How to outline the content of an entire book
  • How to create a narrative structure or plot with momentum
  • How to incorporate genealogical research into your work
  • How to use creative techniques to make your narrative more interesting
  • How to write beginning, middle and ending chapters
  • How to edit and revise your own work to publishable quality


  • Family historians seeking writing advice
  • Writers who want to focus on a family history project
  • Anyone who could use support in getting writing projects off the ground


  • A general idea of what you might like to write your book about.


Part 1: Writing Your Family Narrative
Lesson 1:  Finding Your Subjects
A. Whose stories do you want to tell?
B. Are you sharing everything or focusing on a specific theme?
C. Starting a dateline and identifying historical themes
D. Exercise
Lesson 2: Understanding Your Audience
A. To whom are you telling these stories?
B. Understanding audience and purpose
I. Messages, themes, morals
C. Understanding perspective
D. Exercise
Lesson 3: Using Your Research
A. How will you incorporate your genealogical research in the book?
I. Using genealogical and historical research
II. Using historical details
III. Establishing time and place
B. If gaps in your research exist, how will you fill them?
C. Exercise
Lesson 4: Shaping Your Story
A. Scenes and chapters
I. Plotting and planning your story
II. Your opening scene: How to hook the reader
B. Using techniques such as dialogue
C. What’s next?
D. Exercise
Part 2: Writing Workshop
Week 1: First Draft Techniques
A. Dealing with the “fear factor”
B. Ignore perfection — just write!
C. Assignment: Create up to two “first draft” chapters for review
Week 2: Keep Going!
A. Use your “first draft” techniques to keep writing
B. Assignment: Create up to two more “first draft” chapters for review
Week 3: Second Drafts
A. Reading with a critical eye
B. Editing and reordering
C. Finding emerging themes
D. Assignment: Critique your work
Week 4: The Next Chapter
A. Use your “first draft” techniques to keep writing
B. Final thoughts
C. Assignment: Create one final “first draft” chapter for review

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