What begins with “I have a story to tell” can soon feel unwieldy in terms of structuring a narrative, creating scenes, and adding factual depth. This class helps you create an action plan for getting your memoir or memoir-in-essays written, resulting in an annotated outline that can be used both in querying agents and to guide future drafting. We also ask the big questions about developing your voice on the page. Week by week, we’ll discuss the key elements such as where to begin and end, identifying core conflicts, developing characters, and incorporating research. We’ll read inspiring exemplars from successful memoirs. Participants can opt to take part in brief generative writings, using prompts provided by the instructor; they can also submit one substantive portion of the book-in-progress for feedback. Get serious about your creative nonfiction with this fun, immersive workshop.
Optional LIVE Elements: a weekly “visiting hour” accessible via Zoom. Enrolled students are welcome to use this time for socializing or asking general questions.
Sandra Beasley is the author of four poetry collections—Made to Explode, Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, which won the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling—as well as Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir and cultural history of food allergies. She served as the editor for Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Honors for her work include the 2019 Munster Literature Centre’s John Montague International Poetry Fellowship, a 2015 NEA fellowship, and five DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities fellowships. She lives in Washington, D.C.