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Sage Advice #4: Family Anecdotes

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Family anecdotes and quirky behaviors may have a place in your writing. I have lots of stories I can tell on myself.

I accidentally swatted a child's leg at Kmart once. On the same day, my daughter got her finger stuck in a gumball machine and the store manager had to use baby oil to free it. I'm surprised we were ever allowed back in the store. I worked the incident into a fictional story.

There was the time I was late for school so I took a short cut through a field full of dairy cows. On a rainy day no less. My shoes got bogged down in soggy cow pies. It was weeks before my nose cleared the smell from my nasal passages and memory. And, yes, it will find its way into my next children's chapter book about a young adolescent named Elizabeth Anne.

I admit I'm a little crazy but "the nut didn't fall far from the tree" as the cliche goes.

I have a sister, Sara, who rubs cloth items up against her cheek (such as sweaters, blankets, towels, etc.). If it doesn't pass the softness test, she won't buy it. You should see the looks she receives from other shoppers. Somehow, somewhere that's going to end up in a story, devotion or article. I don't know when or where but I'm going to use it.

My son and one of my grandsons were both funny kids. (They still are for that matter.) We never knew what hilarious things they would say next. I've written down some of their funnier stuff and have used them in a couple fiction books. For example, whenever my then three-year-old grandson fell he would yell, "I could use a whittle help here." That phrase found its way into a fiction book about an elephant calf named Kairu who became stuck in the mud.

Of course, there's the Auntie Christy sauce, and my mother's cliches in which her words got twisted in a way that made the cliches even funnier, and my husband's "Darth-Vader" snoring, and my grandfather not understanding what we said because he refused to wear his hearing aids (and now my hubby is doing the same thing).

You, too, have those hilarious episodes you like to tell about yourself and your family members. Write them down and use them. They will add color to your story. (Be sure to get their permission if you can, or at least warn them before you publish.)

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