Memoir: Getting Started
SPRING DISCOUNT: Use code SPRING16 at registration checkout to get 10% off tuition for this course.
One of the hardest practical challenges writers face when beginning a memoir is where to start. It might seem obvious–just start at the beginning–but a cursory read of published memoirs will reveal many different approaches. Some start with family history. Others start with an image, a character sketch, or a moment in time. In a first draft, it’s not important to begin at the perfect moment; it’s much more important to actually get started. With that in mind, this one-week intensive workshop will explore various methods to help participants get their personal stories onto the page. We’ll real brief openings from published works as examples, and do daily writing exercises experimenting with different approaches. Participants will receive feedback from their peers as well as from me. This class is suitable for generating new material, or for revising the beginning of an existing work. Class discussions will assume a fundamental understanding of writing craft–scene, narrative summary, detail and description, and so on–but no prior workshop experience is necessary.
Justin St. Germain's first book, the memoir Son of a Gun, was published by Random House. It won the 2013 Barnes & Noble Discover Award in Nonfiction and was named a best book of 2013 by Amazon, Amazon Canada, Library Journal, BookPage, Salon, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Pima County Public Library. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, the Guardian, the Best of the West anthology, and various other journals, magazines, and anthologies. He is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and Marsh McCall Lecturer at Stanford University. He teaches creative nonfiction at Oregon State University.