How do we turn “what happened” into a story? How do we shift through the sheer wealth of anecdote in a lived life and give it narrative purpose? Is “the truth” enough? This is a vigorous memoir workshop in which we devote laser focus to the tools and techniques of good writing in the service of the story. Students should expect to write frequently from generative prompts, to turn in weekly revisions and to read their colleagues’ work closely, as we investigate how to make meaning out of experience. You may already have an idea, sections, or a whole manuscript. Wherever you are in the difficult process of writing memoir, this class will provide you with some organizing principles to help you move forward. We will work hard to identify each writer’s core theme and shape a narrative governed by that theme.
LIVE ELEMENTS: An optional introductory Zoom meeting will start the class, and the instructor will hold optional drop-in zoom office hours weekly, times TBA.
Susanna Sonnenberg is the author of the memoirs Her Last Death and She Matters: A Life in Friendships, both New York Times Best Sellers. Her essays and personal narratives have been widely anthologized. She teaches writing online and writes in Missoula, Montana, where she has lived since 1993.