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Writing Books/Letters into book?

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Question
Hello, I have a Bachelors degree (major History). I am 54 year old woman. I have many letters written by my family 1930s - 1950s. Many of these letters are during WWII (including letters to and from my 2 uncles who fought in Europe. One of these uncles was taken prisoner of war by Germans in Italy. Some of these letters were written while in prison. Many, many letters from my grandmother. These letters give day-to-day life of East-Texan farm life. My family was poor but very good hard working people. I really want to write a book based on these letters. But do not really know where to start. Help! Is this possible? Thanks for any information.

Answer
It's very possible, but without seeing the material, it would be hard to say where to start, and as you must be realizing, you can organize them in many ways. You might think chronologically first and see if that works, filling in background information between each one with the history of the era in which the letters were written. You may also choose particular people first, concentrating on their correspondence back and forth. Each chapter could focus on correspondence between separate couples. You could also organize it by subject matter, but I think that way might be the least effective.

The biggest thing, though, is simply to start. Don't worry too much about whether what you produce will be the final version; it probably won't. As you work, though, your ideas will gel, and the book will quite possibly all come together organically in its best form. Don't expect it to be perfect right off the bat. Just begin!

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Bobbie Christmas

Expertise

Book Doctor Bobbie Christmas owns Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm in metro Atlanta. She not only edits books, she also helps writers power up their prose to increase their chances of success. She is the author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), a creative-writing guide that won three awards.

Experience

Bobbie has spent more than 40 years in the publishing and communications industry and has run Zebra Communications, a book-editing company, since 1992. The editor of many publications and periodicals, she has worked with book publishers and trade magazine publishers as well as working in marketing communications and corporate communications.

Organizations
Past president, Georgia Writers Association; past vice president, South Carolina Writers Workshop; charter/lifelong member, Florida Writers Association; Southeastern Writers Association; Atlanta Writers Club; Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); International Guild of Professional Consultants

Publications
Write in Style (Union Square Publishing), A Cup of Comfort (Adams Media Corporation), A Cup of Comfort for Friends (Adams Media), A Cup of Comfort for Mothers and Sons (Adams Media), Haunted Engounters (Atriad Press), Remembering Woolworth's (St. Martin's Press), First-Time Home Buyer magazine, HomeBusiness Journal, Apparel Industry Magazine, Edge Magazine, Atlanta Jewish Times, Time Travel Australia, American Writers Review, Points North, That's Entertainment, Atlanta Parent, Agnes Scott Alumnae Magazine, etc.

Education/Credentials
Journalism: University of South Carolina plus four decades of working in publishing, marketing, communications, advertising, newspaper and magazine production, book publishing, etc.

Awards and Honors
First Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers Annual Contest, 2005; First Place, education, Royal Palm Literary Award, 2004; Best in Division, Georgia Author of the Year Awards, 2005; Finalist, Best Books 2005, USA BookNews Third Place, nonfiction, Georgia Writers, 1999; Nominated for Georgia Author of the Year, 1998; plus many other awards

Past/Present Clients
Capital Books, Sourcebooks, Olin Frederick, The Writer's Machine, Russell Dean & Company, Outskirts Press, and hundreds of writers.

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