Life Writers: Memoir 101
Life Writers: Memoir 101
A 5-week nonfiction workshop. “I write to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”
Have you ever thought someday I'll write a book? Do you have a story about your life waiting to unfold on the page? In this five-week in person memoir workshop, you will discover what it takes to begin.
Each of us will write our own stories. It may be a moment from your third-grade year, an unforgettable conversation with a loved one, or that day your life changed. We will discover entry points and narrow the focus to a specific time and place in your life, as we explore dialogue, character and creating dramatic tension. You will learn to identify and practice the craft tools to make moments linger in the minds of your readers. You will see how these moments become scenes, and how scenes become chapters.
Through in-class reading of memoir excerpts and stirring writing prompts, you will begin writing stories you may be surprised to remember. We'll observe and practice the dual timeframe of the memoir's narrator, which is you. You will learn to look at your own work and the work of others with thoughtful curiosity, support and wonder. Each student will also have an opportunity to schedule a one-on-one conversation to discuss their work. Sharing your work aloud in our safe environment will be optional.
No prior writing experience is needed in this introductory memoir course. Whether or not you have written before or only thought about it, please consider joining me. As a teacher, it is my goal to invite you to the lifelong practice of writing to know yourself, seeking inspiration from writers who have paved our way. Readings among others to include Jo Ann Beard, Phillip Lopate, Sarah McColl, Leilani Barnett and Mary Karr. You will leave the class with good habits and tools to use long after the workshop.
Decide to begin the writing journey you've been longing to take. Get ready to write the memoir of your life.
April 9 to June 11, 2024
Tuesdays, 10:00am - 12:00 pm EST, On Campus
Who should take this class?
Anyone interested in beginning to write their true-life stories. Writers with some prior experience who seek inspiration in a supportive, creative space. Those of us interested in honing the craft of memoir writing with a desire for self-knowledge.
*Returning students can expect new readings and writing prompts to build on memoir concepts previously discussed.
"Janet Pfeffer has a natural gift to teach. Her positivity, encouragement and suggestions built my confidence and enjoyment of writing. Whether you’ve been writing for some time or just starting, you will benefit from Janet’s teaching skills and style." - former student
"I took a writing class this past summer with Janet Pfeffer. It was a wonderful experience. I don’t consider myself a natural writer, but under Janet’s guidance, I found the words to flow more easily than I had expected. With Janet’s prompts, something as simple as describing a tree could branch out into surprising directions. The warm, encouraging style of Janet’s teaching makes this class an opportunity to grow in one’s confidence as a writer. And it was fun!" - former student
"Janet handles each person's reading with sensitivity pointing out highlights and the reality under each story. She is adept at creating a safe space that encouraged me to take risks." - former student