This course is for writers working on either essay-length (short) memoirs or book-length memoirs.
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. But many of the topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.
Starring You: Putting yourself at the center. Creating a persona. Ways to reveal yourself on paper. Your distinctive voice.
Describing Your Life: Conveying your view of things. How quick or lingering your views should be. Effective description.
Story Construction: Story devices—desire/change, inciting incident/climax. The single event story. The chronological story. The collage story. Techniques for putting the story together.
Action & Reflection: Finding the balance of action and reflection. Using action—scene and narration. Using reflection—present and past perspectives. Broader reflection. Blending action and reflection.
Going Short: The really short memoir. Finding ideas. Short piece, big meaning. Analysis of a really short piece.
Making Scenes: The importance of scenes. Veracity. Connecting scenes. Scene dynamics—conflict, dialogue, direction.
Alternative Strategies: Alternative forms of memoir. Memoirs that don't just focus on you. Family history. Not first person. Unusual forms. Not just prose. The deliberate experiment. Memoir hybrids. Autobiographical fiction/fictional memoir.
Openings/Closings: Strategies for opening a memoir. Strategies for closing a memoir.
Humor: Using humor in memoir. Funny situations. Human folly. Writing humor. Exaggeration.
In Print: The benefit of publishing short pieces (even if you're writing a book). Literary magazines. Mainstream and niche magazines. Newspapers. Guidelines for sending out work. Responses, rejection, contests. Other avenues to publication.
Note: Content may vary among individual classes.