Writing the Family History Scene

Learn to write narrative nonfiction and use summary and scene writing to transform your family history stories.


Begins October 31, 2017, 6-week course

Are your stories boring? Do want your stories to read like a novel?  The answer is showing and more specifically showing through the use of scenes. In this course, we focus our attention on scene writing. We look at the difference between scene and summary. We cover the various elements required to write a scene, description, dialogue, and conflict. We learn to add layers of emotion and theme to our scenes. At the end of this six-week course, family history writers will have a full understanding of scene writing and will be on their way to practising and improving their scene writing skills.


Course Curriculum

No curriculum found !

Course Reviews


5 ratings
  • 5 stars3
  • 4 stars2
  • 3 stars0
  • 2 stars0
  • 1 stars0
  1. Writing a Family History Scene


    This course was definitely worth taking. It got me started on my writing journey about my ancestors which I kept putting off before. Each lesson is well thought out and very thorough. I now understand how important Lynn’s suggestions are for making a scene about my ancestors really come alive. So worthwhile! Thank you Lynn.

  2. Scenes - oh boy - I learned so much


    Aspiring to share my family genealogy and being tickled by my imagination brought me to Lynn Palermo’s Writing the Family History Scene. Conflicted as many family historians are, I struggled for years to give myself permission to elaborate on the ‘facts’ of my ancestor stories. I will never know what really happened or how they truly felt yet, with an honest intent, I have now learned how to offer the possibility and plausibility while writing a story showing how my ancestor’s life might have been. I am really fired up now, laying out 29 more scenes.
    The course material was offered in layers taking my initial attempt, which I was quite happy with, then adding richness, interest, emotion and so much more. I became more comfortable with writing technique and have a good start to shaping a book about my Great Grandparents.
    Some of the interfaces took extra steps – such as moving through log in to my course to continue course to get to the specific forums, however, it was manageable. Kudos to all the other participants for their efforts over the last six weeks. I saw great developments in their scenes too. Lynn is a positive and encouraging force helping me see where my story could get better.

  3. Great Class!


    I never thought I’d be able to write an historical narrative scene. This class has changed my mind – I look forward to taking more classes from the Family History Writing Studio.

  4. Writing the Family History Scene


    This course has helped me to develop my writing skills to a great degree. I have been trying to write my family’s story for a long time, but could never seem to write it in such a way as to interest my non-genealogy family. In just a few weeks, I have learned so much about telling the story and making it interesting with the use of descriptions and dialog — two areas that never sounded “real” in the past.
    This is the second class I have taken with Lynn and I am looking forward to the next — Plotting a Family Story.

  5. 4

    This course has been very helpful. The content provided in the workbook and throughout the course was clearly presented and helped promote an understanding of the essential elements of writing family scenes. Each week the assignments facilitated the process of writing family scenes. Feedback from the instructor to myself and others was extremely beneficial. Suggestion for improvement helped to see how the scene could be improved.
    I found providing effective feedback a challenge. Feedback is essential to learning but each genre requires a different approach for this reason, it would have been helpful to have a guide or a check list leading up to the final checklist.

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