Course Title: Beginning Your Memoir

Course Duration: 7 weeks

Course Overview:  "Beginning Your Memoir" is designed to guide participants through the process of initiating their memoir-writing journey. Memoirs are powerful tools for self-expression, reflection, and storytelling. This course will provide students with the foundational knowledge, skills, and inspiration they need to start crafting their own compelling memoirs.

Assessment and Deliverables:

  • Weekly writing prompts related to the topics covered
  • Participation in class discussions and peer feedback sessions
  • Submission of a working excerpt from your memoir at the end of the course
  • Individualized feedback from the instructor on submitted assignment

Recommended Materials:

  • Notebook or digital writing platform for drafting and note-taking
  • Selection of memoir excerpts for analysis (linked below)
  • Access to relevant writing resources and style guides (recommended)

By the end of the "Beginning Your Memoir" course, participants will have gained a deeper understanding of memoir writing as a genre, developed their writing skills, and created a strong foundation for their personal memoir projects. They will leave the course with newfound confidence in their ability to tell their own stories and continue refining their work beyond the classroom.

Week 1 (October 5): Introduction to Memoir Writing

Week 2 (October 12): Finding Your Voice

  • Unleashing your unique voice as a memoirist
  • Overcoming self-censorship and fear of vulnerability
  • Developing a writing routine and setting goals
  • Writing prompts to explore different narrative styles

Reading: Except from Cinderland

Week 3 (October 19): Selecting Key Life Events

  • Identifying pivotal moments for your memoir
  • Distinguishing between chronological and thematic approaches
  • Mapping out the timeline of your life events
  • Exercises to uncover hidden memories and emotions

Reading: The Wave by Francisco Goldman

Week 4 (October 26): Character Development

  • Portraying yourself and other characters authentically
  • Techniques for describing people and relationships
  • Balancing empathy and objectivity when portraying real individuals
  • Crafting dialogue and interior monologues

Reading: Excerpt from The Chronology of Water

Week 5 (November 2): Setting and Atmosphere

  • Using setting to enhance the mood and tone of your memoir
  • Recreating places from your past with vivid detail
  • Utilizing sensory language to immerse readers in your world

Reading: Excerpt from The Things They Carried

Week 6 (November 9): Structuring Your Memoir

  • Exploring different narrative structures (linear, non-linear, thematic)
  • Building a compelling beginning that hooks readers
  • Creating tension, conflict, and resolution
  • Incorporating flashbacks and transitions effectively

Reading: Strange Gods, How to Be an Other Woman

Week 7 (November 16): Editing and Feedback

  • The importance of revision and self-editing
  • Strategies for tightening prose and improving clarity
  • Seeking and giving constructive feedback
  • Finalizing the first chapter or excerpt of your memoir

Turn in memoir excerpt.


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