In our previous post we discussed how to create imagined dialogue to enliven your family history book. We looked at
- How time and place might contribute to what ancestors thought and discussed
- Imagining the emotions they might have felt
- Examining retrospectively what motivated them at that time
- Using what you know about ancestors favorite expressions or style of speech
All of these things can help you to imagine how they would have sounded in a conversation.
Creating imagined dialogue is not as difficult as you may think. The best way to test that statement is to try doing it. To help out I’ll give you two prompts to practice on. You won’t have to think about your own ancestors here. Just imagine a conversation involving the people described in the prompt.
- It’s 1937. A husband and wife in Enid, Oklahoma are sitting at their kitchen table of their farmhouse. The country has been gripped by depression for almost a decade. Oklahoma topsoil has been blowing away for almost as many years, creating what has come to be known as the Dustbowl. Several of the couple’s neighbors have lost their farms to foreclosure. The couple fear the same fate. They have just received a letter from a former neighbor who moved to California with her family. After several months of looking for work the neighbor’s husband has found a job as a laborer constructing the massive Shasta Dam just north of the small town of Redding.
Write the dialogue for the conversation the couple might have had.
- It’s late 1942. A woman and her neighbor in Ypsilanti, Michigan are sitting at her kitchen table. The United States has entered World War II. Both women’s husbands been drafted into the Army and shipped off to basic training. They will shortly be headed overseas. Some women in the town have already taken jobs at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory. The local radio stations and newspaper are filled with advertising calling upon other women to join those already at the factory. The women want to do their patriotic duty. They are also concerned with their responsibilities as mothers.
Write the dialogue for a conversation the women might have had.
There are no rules for what you should do. Let your imagination take over. We’d love it if you would share your results by posting them as comments. Have fun!