Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Time to Write: #1 Making an Outline

When I write I need to know exactly where I am headed and how I am going to get there. I have been researching my mother’s family for years. I know the main characters, the supporting characters, the setting and the timeline very well. However, I need to organize the events in the lives of those intertwining characters in a way that someone who unfamiliar with them can follow along easily.

I began with index cards pinned to my cork board to lay out the main sections of this book. Those break it down to these sections:

Early Pages: Title page, Dedication, Table of Contents, Introduction & My mother’s Ancestor Tree
The Families: The oldest information on the four families, Brady, Coyle, Gartner & Mullane
The Families Come Together: Marriages between the four main families & those descendants
Our Family: Where are the families now?
Later Pages: Special Thanks, Epilogue, Documents, Works Cited & Index
These are pinned to my corkboard and easy to move around which I have done several times until it seemed to flow easily.

From those basic cards I wrote an outline which will become my Table of Contents. Here is a section of that outline:

Remembrances: The Story of the Brady, Coyle, Gardner & Mullane Families
Title page                                                    
TABLE OF CONTENTS                  
THE FAMILIES                   
                   The Brady Family Tree       
                   The Brady Family Timeline                                       
                    The Thomas & Catherine (Gibney) Brady Family Story   
                   The Children of Thomas Brady      
                             Patrick Brady                   
                                      The Children of Patrick & Ellen (Reilly) Brady     
                             William Brady                            
                                      The Children of William & Bridget (O’Reilly) Brady
                             Owen Brady                     
                                      The Children of Owen & Mary (McGovern) Brady 
                             Margaret Brady Coyle                  
                             Thomas Brady                            
                             John Brady                       
                                      The Children of John & Mary (Mc Cartin) Brady            
                             Ann Brady Kilday               
                                      The Children of James & Ann (Brady) Kilday                
                             Bartholomew Anthony Brady         
                                      The Children of Bartholomew & Mary (Reddan) Brady    
                             Mary Ann Brady                
                             Catherine Brady                
                   The Descendants of Thomas Brady 
                   The Coyle Family Tree                 
                   The Cunningham Family Tree                 
                   The Michael & Mary (Cunningham) Coyle Family Story   
The Descendants of Michael Coyle  
                   The Gartners in Europe: The Markusz & Devorah (Horn) Gartner Family
                             The Markusz Gartner Family Tree
The Markusz Gartner Family Story
                                       From Poland to Hungary
                                       The Golden Age
                                       Wars & Death
                   The Gartners in America: The Leopold & Fannie (Edelstein) Gartner Family
                             The Leopold Gartner Family Tree
                             The Leopold Gartner Family Timeline
                             The Leopold Gartner Family Story
                                      Marriage: Leopold Gartner & Fannie Edelstein
                                      1900 in New York City
                                      World War I
                                      Buffalo, New York
                             The Descendants of Leopold Gartner
                   The Florence (Gartner) Weissberg Family
                             The Weissberg Family Tree
                             The Weissberg Family Story
                                      A Family Visit
                                      World War II
                                      Milton Sydney Weissberg
                   The Mullane Family Tree
                   The Mullane Family Timeline
                   The & Brigid (English) Mullane Family Story
                             Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland
                             A Growing Family
                             1900 in Clonmel
                             Family Visit
                             The Death of Daniel Mullane
                             Frances (Mullane) Keeton
                   The Descendants of Daniel Mullane

I have printed out my outline, put it on my clipboard and made notes all over it. I have notes on the fonts I will use for each section, stars to show the pages I want to be sure end up on the right hand side of the book, arrows to show a couple things rearranged, etc. My outline gives me the confidence to know where I am headed.


  1. You make this look so simple. When are you coming back to North Carolina; I need one on one instructions.

    1. Charlie, I always enjoy reading your comments! Yes, we should get together again. Our son is no longer in NC. He is living nearby. I do go to VA often. Our baby grandson is there. Maybe in the spring...

  2. Colleen,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a wonderful weekend!


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