Course Syllabus

Write Your Memoir Month

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Why should fiction writers get all the support this month? We’re proclaiming November as National Memoir Writing Month. Long live NaMeWriMo!

Patterned after our popular Thirty-Minute Memoir course, this self-paced course is designed to help break the potentially overwhelming task of writing a memoir into manageable daily writing assignments. Each week’s lessons, revealed on Mondays, will focus on a different aspect of memoir writing, from opening chapters to scenes involving dialogue. Daily writing prompts will keep you motivated and moving ahead with your project.

Week 1: Find Your Focus

A memoir needs a focal point on which the writer can build, but many writers dive into their first draft without knowing what their focus is. During Week 1 you will identify the focus of your book (or think of ways to fine-tune that focus for an existing project). This week’s writing prompts will help you identify and hone the central idea of your memoir.

Week 2: The Shape of Your Narrative

A book-length memoir offers many possibilities for structure: should the narrative be chronological, braided, retrospective? You will explore possible shapes for your memoir, and this week’s writing prompts provide opportunities to try out (or again, hone) different structures and approaches.

Week 3: Writing About People & A Sense of Place

People are the most important element of a memoir, in that a reader’s interest in all the book’s events is generally founded on his or her interest in the people who lived through those events. The setting in which your book takes place can also be an essential part of the story you want to tell; in many cases, the setting can be a character in and of itself. This week you will learn how to write about people and place in ways that readers will find engaging.

Week 4: Scene & Summary

Two of the most pivotal elements of nonfiction are scene and summary. You’’ll study the difference between summary and scene and practice using both effectively.