Writing about People We Love: Balance Candor with Compassion

Thursday, May 6, 2021 @ 2 PM- 3:15 PM Eastern

The people we love have a way of showing up on the page. How do we tell our truths while acknowledging theirs?

Additional Information

We write about people we love all the time. They become characters in our novels, or they drive us to write that personal essay or memoir. And yet, they have their own fully realized stories, as well. How do we tell our truths while staying compassionate to theirs? How do we write with humor, courage, rage, or beauty about the ones we love(d)?

Writers can struggle with ethical considerations, fear of betraying family, or worries about backlash. Writers may even struggle with voice or character-building that’s honest but also serves the larger story. This webinar will offer examples, arguments, and techniques for writing compelling stories about the people we love.

We’ll look at the work of renowned writers who overcame their fears, examining how they handled these challenges. You’ll learn how to find the moments and voices of family that lend themselves best to the story, as well as how to stay focused on the goal of writing the story while navigating the ethics and perils of writing uncomfortable truths.

In this webinar, you will:

  • CONSIDER how writing stories drawn from our lives and our loved ones can be authentic, courageous, and compassionate. We will determine the reasons why we must tell these stories of the ones we love.
  • EXAMINE the ethics and perils of such writing and learn how writers have done it over the ages. We will look at examples for inspiration.
  • LEARN the craft of building beautiful stories from the nuggets and voices of family life. We will learn how to use memory, lists, writing prompts, and other exercises to generate new writing.

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for beginning or mid-career writers who intend to write stories that include family members or other loved ones.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Course Presenter

Course Registration


Out of stock

Become a Supporting Subscriber today and get up to 10% off your purchase.

Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from Our Students

Creative Nonfiction's online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


Marty is thorough and thoughtful in his feedback and generous with his time.

Deb Frank

Education FAQs

  • Will there be closed-captioning or a transcript of the webinar?

    We will provide closed-captioning upon request. Please contact us at least a week prior to the webinar to allow time for scheduling with a captioner.

  • Will I need to install any software?

    The webinar link will prompt you to download the GoTo Opener. For troubleshooting questions, please refer to GoTo Webinar’s support page: https://support.goto.com/webinar

  • What video conferencing program does CNF use for their webinars?

    We use GoTo Meeting. After you register for the webinar, you will receive an email with a link to the class.

  • Is there a preferred browser for viewing the webinar?

    Yes: Chrome tends to work best with the GoTo Webinar software.

  • I’d like to attend a webinar but have a conflict. Will the program be offered at another time?

    Our webinars are usually presented on Wednesday at 2:00 pm Eastern time. We rarely repeat webinars, but we do send out a recording of the program to everyone who registers, and you may watch the program at your conviencence.