Southern California Genealogical Society
SCGS INTEREST GROUPS - Writers Interest Group

SCGS Writers Interest Group
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Meets: 2nd Sundays of each month (check calendar)
Hours: from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.
Occasionally we change an already published date, so if you're not yet on The Writer's Group mailing list, please email us.
Location: 417 Irving Drive, Burbank, CA 91504
Southern California Genealogy Society building

We are a lively, friendly group, sharing ideas for researching and writing our family tales and histories. The only requirement is membership in SCGS. You may have read one of our stories, columns or book reviews in The Searcher or on the website. We welcome beginners. If you are shy, check out the encouraging book If You Can Talk, You Can Write, by Joel Saltzman. He's right: you can write!

This is not like a college or evening class, we choose a topic for writing and discussion ahead of time. We bring stories we work on, articles from magazines and newspapers, URLs of interesting websites and books on writing we like. At almost every meeting we spend time "free-writing," choosing a topic, writing, sharing what we've written. This sparks further ideas for tales. Learn how to turn the dry statistics of your "Begats, Beweds and Begones" into lively tales of family and situation.

In the Writers Group you'll learn how to find and weave into your tales historical events and social customs to enliven the dry names and dates of your ancestors. Specifically, you'll learn how to:

entice a reader into your tale
find clip art to add
prune word weeds
change "telling about" into showing
find and use writer's resources
refine and streamline your tales

Jennifer Taylor is a freelance writer and professor, with a research focus on the personal, social, and scientific significance of family history writing. Jennifer's position as facilitator of the Writers Group draws on her enthusiasm for teaching, genealogical research, and writing, to maintain SCGS's strong community of writers with a shared passion and commitment to family history. Jennifer holds a PhD in Sociocultural Anthropology from University of California-Santa Barbara, and a BA in English and Religious Studies from the University of San Francisco. Her doctoral research is recorded in an ethnography of the debates over multiple personality disorder in the United States entitled "Know Thyselves: Theorizing Multiple Personality through Social Movements" (2013). Her more recent paper "Imagining Family: Genealogical Research and Writing as Ethnographic Inquiry and Self Discovery," is published in the Annual Meeting journal of the Southwestern Anthropological Association, Long Beach, CA (2015). She will present her newest paper "Back to the Future of Our Genes: An Ethnographic and Historical Inquiry on Trends in Genealogical Writing, DNA Testing, and Genetic History," at the Southwestern Anthropological Association Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA this April 2016.

Raymonde Motil, a member of our group, describes our Group as follows:

sometimes there are three of us, sometimes twenty
we come to sit at our writer's table in a corner of the library
we come to tell our stories, all that we remember
we talk about our childhood, our parents, our relatives

we reach far into the past and bring it into the now
we listen to the telling and we impress each other and say wow

sometimes things get out of hand,
one talks too much too long and reminiscing can be tedious…

sometimes the genealogist in all of us gets tangled in family trees
the techie puts forth heaps of how-to's and do's, dont's and " did you ever try this''?

often we tell about first times, births, deaths, celebrations, school days, family homes ,
farms, beloved pets, and cities near and far away

always we come back to writing: how to write, what to write, why to write.
the grandparents, the sisters and brothers, the soldier uncle, the spinster aunt,
the beautiful mother, the funny cousin all come tumbling from our pages

always, a narrative touches our heart or our funny bone
forgotten thoughts are awakened
and our own journeys are brought to mind

we return to the writer's table because we need to tell our stories to other storytellers
we return because we need to hear a good tale
because we know our people wanted us to remember
because we want our children to know and remember

in the end we have a good time
we get inspired
we have writing to do

- Raymonde