What Makes a Great Treelines Story

There is no “one, right way” to write a Treelines story, but we do have some general recommendations for how you can take advantage of the features of the Treelines storybuilder to best tell your story. In short, write a great story, choose great pictures, and don't forget to tag and date your story pages!

Writing style

Easily Read in One Sitting

Treelines stories are meant to be a fun and quick way for you to share an interesting chapter of your family history with your family. They're not meant to be a replacement for your full memoir or multi-chapter family history book. Usually 5-15 pages is about what it takes.

Tells One Story

Keep focused on one aspect of your family history, and make sure there is a clear beginning, middle, and end to the story you are telling. You can always write another story to delve into a particular detail!

Written succinctly...

Just as Treelines stories shouldn't have too many pages, each page should be relatively short as well. The idea is to keep the story moving forward, providing just the right level of detail for each story moment without getting bogged down.

...but thoughtfully

The best Treelines stories not only tell an interesting chapter of family history, but also convey why this chapter is so meaningful and moving. Don't shy away from sharing your feelings! Make sure your personal perspective shines through to help your family connect emotionally the story, too!

Create suspense

If you take our advice to write many short pages as opposed to a few long pages, your family will be leaning forward after each page to click next. Take advantage of the frequent page-turning to create mini-cliff hangers between each page. Your family should be as surprised reading about your discoveries as you were in making them!

Historical context

The more you can convey the unique qualities of the time and place in which your story takes place, the better.

Great Pictures

Whether you include photographs, records, or art, Treelines stories should be visually appealing. If you don't have a picture, describe what you see in your mind's eye as you imagine the past.

Tag people and dates

The best part of Treelines stories are, well, the Treelines! The animated family tree/timeline that accompanies the story is how your family will keep track of all the names and dates and relationships and events. Don't forget to note the date each page took place and what family members are mentioned in each page. (More advice on tagging people in this tutorial.)