Every country, state, county, province, and location has a history. As such, anyone living anywhere on the face of the planet identifies with a specific locational history. Therefore, for someone interested in research, starting with a local history research can prove a perfect place to start.
A resident historian has an opportunity to paint a picture regarding a region, town, or village on its outlook in the past by narrating stories of individuals who worked and lived there. So, how can you get started if you want to venture into this niche?
Diverse aspects of local history exist that you can concentrate your study and writing on. For instance, you can concentrate on the wider community or specific families. Additionally, you can focus on traditions, local events, entertainment, and occupations. Alternatively, you direct your energy on monuments, churches, buildings, organizations, industry, historical sites, churches, and schools. It will offer you some insight into the cradle and growth of the society and community within the location.
Tips on Starting Your Local History Writing Gig
- Begin by writing about something you comprehend well. It proves easier to begin by concentrating on familiar subjects, and those that bring your passionate side to the fore. So, start by only selecting one theme for your piece, especially if your research proves extensive.
- Avoid writing about big concepts. It proves advisable to start writing by mentioning significant people and events but without neglecting the need to state to your readers concerning the experiences and lives of common people. Your potential readers would love to identify with characters you write about, and to unearth more regarding their residential places.
- Target audience for your story. It proves crucial to consider your target audience before you begin writing your piece. It can entail a particular group of individuals or sometimes a publication. Other times, it can target larger audiences. However, learning and comprehending your audience can assist you in deciding the volume of detail you have to include, besides the style you employ in telling your story.
- Plan before starting your piece. It always proves useful to develop a synopsis when it comes to writing your historical piece. You can use it to submit a book’s concept to your publisher. It proves simple as all you need to do entails listing down the main subjects you plan on covering. Such a plan will make your writing easier and save you precious writing time. An excellent synopsis highlights gaps contained in your study and can get sorted out before you start writing.
- Place a larger historical context to your story. You have to narrate stories about the history of places and individuals and how the impact of the occurrences within and without the community on people working and living there. When you describe the impact beyond your study area, it will place your story into a larger historical context to assist you in explaining the course events.
- Check the facts you use. The content you write has to prove accurate. Try and use primary sources as they come very accurately. However, secondary sources can also come in handy though you have to become careful as secondary sources like the internet can have all types of information, which can prove inaccurate.
- Transform the past into life. You have to do more than present the dry facts, dates, and figures to your readers. Try and spruce up the history dates and other crucial information to entertain your readers besides enlightening them.
Three Local History Writing Elements
Most, if not all, successful factual history writers mix three elements of brilliant history writing. It entails description, narrative, and analysis. When you interweave descriptions of the occurrence at a specific time together with why it might have happened, it will allow you to narrate an interesting story to people. While it might become tempting to incorporate all the little details you uncover, it proves wise to identify only the pieces of information that can make your story brilliant and leave out the rest.
If you want to start a career in local history writing, then consider the outlined guidelines. You can become an accomplished local history writer with widespread acclaim if you understand what it takes to do such pieces.