Memoir: Turning Experience into a Shapely Story (Intermediate - Weeklong PM) - Debra Monroe
Writing memoir means sharpening some details and chiseling away others to build a crescendo. We will discuss which details are irrelevant and which are essential for making the most compelling story-shape. The “show, don’t tell” advice from fiction workshops is important for creating drama and immediacy, as are moments of reflection (“show and tell”), so we will discuss how to create the dual perspective necessary to nonfiction: the less knowing person who lived these experiences; the wiser narrator who understands them now. Because I want you to be a great self-editor by the end of the week, I’ll discuss not just how content creates form, I’ll also teach hands-on lessons about better word choice and more muscular sentences. Whether you are working on an essay or a chapter from a book, you’ll leave workshop with a clear sense of how to revise and more confidence about your work.
Debra Monroe is the author of five books, most recently the memoir On the Outskirts of Normal. Her books have been widely reviewed and have won many awards, including the Flannery O’Connor Award. Her memoir was listed as “Required Reading” in Vanity Fair, as one of “Our Picks” in Salon.com, as “Recommended Reading” in O, the Oprah Magazine. She has published essays in Longreads, The American Scholar, The Southern Reivew, Guernica, The Morning News, and two have recently been shortlisted for The Best American Essays.