Description of Class
How do you turn raw material into a memoir?
Maybe you have scraps of thought in a journal, memories of particular places and moments, letters and photographs from the past, and scribbled notes, but you don’t know how to take these scattered pieces and bring them together into a narrative whole.
This four-week class will show you how to find the story in those fragments and help you begin writing a memoir. The class is perfect for those who want to capture their own experiences, the lives of family and friends, or their family history.
We’ll talk about ways to focus your ideas, sifting through thoughts, memories, keepsakes and documents to narrow down the story you want to tell. We’ll also spend time looking at the spaces in between our fragments, the gaps in our knowledge, and discuss how to bridge them– whether by seeking out information or using speculation to open new possibilities in our narratives.
The class will read published excerpts of memoirs, including those that structure their stories in a fragmented style. Writing exercises and informal sharing will give students a solid start to their project, leaving with new scenes, more focus, and a map for the way forward.
What You’ll Learn:
- How to narrow down and give focus to the story you want to tell
- How to build a narrative thread out of individual episodes, memories, and documents
- Strategies for handling gaps in knowledge when telling a story
- How fragments offer a possible way to structure your story
What You’ll Write:
- Exercises to help transform and combine fragments into scenes
- A narrative outline for your project
What You’ll Read:
- Published excerpts of memoirs, including ones written in a fragmented style
- Informal sharing of work by peers