Marilyn Collins at Fayetteville Public Library with Your Story, Their Story

Marilyn-Collins says she hates to see a good story lost.  Author Marilyn Collins will teach an interactive memoir writing workshop called Your Story, Their Story beginning February 4. Sessions for this writing series will help memoir writers, genealogists, and even budding fiction writers to capture those rich family stories and preserve the characters that make our families memorable.Participants will write a story for each session and share their work.

Session 1. Gather the Rascals, Gather the Saints. This session helps you select the folks you want to include in your book, focus on the core qualities and eccentricities of each—what makes them special, and decide where they fit in the family’s legacy. Learn to give depth to each person—make each truly memorable.

Session 2. Add Richness & Depth to Your Stories. Learn to effectively use dialogue, create memorable settings, and use the five senses to bring your stories to life for your readers. Gain the most from interviews/conversations/family reunions to give energy to your characters. Make the most of “place” by visiting (in your mind’s eye or in person) where your stories happened. Your readers perhaps never walked the family farm, played in a real barn loft, took the subway in a major city, or experienced travel in other countries. Bring readers to these special places through your words and descriptions.

Session 3. Organize and Structure Your Book.
Are you overwhelmed with boxes of research and photo files that keep you from writing? Use my Timeline Process for easily organizing your research into a workable approach for your book. You’ll learn to use this method to help visualize the entire book, readily see gaps in your research, and develop a personal writing schedule that fits you and matches your writing goals.

Session 4. Let’s Make a Book. Capitalizing on the pre-story and post-story sections of a book is often overlooked as the writer is so focused on the overall content. This session will help you make the most of the Preface, Introduction, Acknowledgments, Dedication—Appendix, Index, End Notes, and Author Page. You’ll also learn publishing options that you can handle and/or the process for seeking a publisher.

Class size is limited to 15 people. Registration is required. For more information, please contact the library at 479.856.725 or

Marilyn Collins draws her love of storytelling from her father. He spun tales of adventure as a young man seeking excitement by traveling west experiencing life as a rancher, gold miner, logger, playing bit parts in early movies, and eventually went to war for his country. Her mother’s books filled the house and large trunk in the attic stirring her curiosity and filling her mind with wondrous characters and places.

“I hate to see a good story lost,” says Collins. “My passion is to help others save their cherished stories before they are lost in time—personal memoirs, family stories, and local history. I make the organizing, researching, writing, and publishing practical and user-friendly through my Step-by-Step Writing Guides, online newsletter, blogs, and other helpful writing books.”
She is a frequent conference speaker and workshop leader for groups interested in writing history, narrative stories for genealogy research, regional magazines/special interest magazines, marketing, as well as offering general encouraging tips for writers. Collins is an award-winning author of history books, how-to books/ebooks for writers, and over 100 magazine articles and newspaper features.

Nancy Hartney writes fiction, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction articles. Her full bio can be found at

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