Fiction Friday – Truth is Stranger – Mining your Newspaper

Hello Again.  Yes, I know, I haven’t been here as often as I should.  But here I am.

We are going to talk about Fiction Friday – Truth is Stranger – Mining your Newspaper.

Many of you have heard me comment on how rich a newspaper is when it comes to stories.  I used to clip articles to use as ‘Story Starters.’

Recently, I uncovered some long lost relatives on .

My father’s siblings were adopted into other families.  He knew where one brother and one sister were.  His sister Shirley was adopted within her birth family.

Where did at least three other kids end up?  How might I find them?  Newspaper clippings.  I found a clipping of my great grandfather’s obituary where my grandmother was listed as being with someone who was not her husband.  The missing children must have belonged to him.  I found a blurb in another paper about my grandmother’s involvement in a larceny case, again associated with this other man.

A clipping from another paper showed an obit for my grandmother listing her as still married to my grandfather.  Interesting?  Yes, they never divorced and he is buried in a Catholic Cemetery.

I began researching the other man in my grandmother’s life and found someone on Ancestry was researching his family.  I contacted them asking if their relative is ‘the other man’ and waited.

Low and behold, the answer came that the person I contacted claimed my grandmother as her grandmother!  I am now sharing information and photos with two Aunts!  They had been looking for a very long time.

But, really, the point of this isn’t just about putting newspapers to work solving mysteries that may lead to a lot of little memoirs to share with new found family.  If you need stories, you should be Mining your Newspaper.

Newspapers are story starters.

Here comes the part that makes this worthy of a Fiction Friday Post.


True Story
True Story


I still think about this story.  I rewrite the attack by making her a tourist walking past the enclosure with her family on a nice sunny Saturday afternoon.  She made lunches and they enjoyed a picnic in the shade before going to the zoo.

She was always doing things for others.

What no one knows is that during the week she is having a torrid affair with her church pastor.

I can go back into the article and pretty much do anything.

I can make up a story about the person who retrieved her arm.

If you come back next week, maybe I will show you the clipping that includes a Police Chase of a Space Heater Thief and a Mayor’s Crackdown on Subway Slobs.

Yes, Truth is Stranger than Fiction.

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.

1 comment

  1. My late father used to tell me that he knew he was getting old when he faithfully read the obituaries. He said it always made his day that his name WASN’T there! I find myself reading them now because some of the expanded ones are just so interesting! People lead such full and wonderful lives, then their descendants have to try to boil it down to a few paragraphs. Sometimes I get sad, thinking that since I spent time raising my 4 to be intelligent people, that my career part of my life took 2nd place and will never recover. Then I remember WHO writes the obits and I feel a bit better! ;-D

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