Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writng history

Increasingly people are writing family or community histories. Writing these books is not just telling the story but also presenting the information in an interesting manner that people want to read as well as recording the sources used when researching the information for the book.

How to write history that people want to read by Ann Curthoys and Ann McGrath (2009) is a useful addition to books on writing history. These Australian authors provide information about research, selecting information, advice on writing, choosing a style, acknowledging sources, editing and revising the work and marketing the final product.

Gavin McLean in his practical guide, How to do local history, looks at the topic from a New Zealand perspective as he provides advice on ideas and questions, research, writing and publishing.

Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 6th ed, 2002 is an extremely useful resource for information on writing, presentation, use of grammar and spelling, use of citations, indexes, design and illustrating, editing - all facets of producing a book. A must for all Australian writers.

In 2006 the Federation of Australian Historical Societies published Publishing history: a guide for historical societies by Helen Doyle and Katya Johanson. Topics include planning projects, how to publish, drawing up a budget, contracting an author, components of a history book, images, editing and design, identification and access requirements and selling the finished product.

These are only a small selection of titles now available in libraries and bookshops to assist in the writing of readable history.

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