2016 Workshop Description

Turning Life into Art: Memoir

Instructor: Reyna Grande

Memoir begins with memory, but it isn’t a collection of memories. It is about turning life into art. A memoir then is a work of art filled with deep meaning and truths that resonate with and illuminate the lives of your readers. Unlike autobiography, a memoir captures a meaningful slice of the writer’s life; so where to start and where to end, what to put in and what to leave out are crucial elements in the crafting and shaping of the book.

In this workshop, we will discuss what memoir is and what it isn’t, different approaches to structure, and determining what, exactly, your story is about. You will learn techniques borrowed from fiction writing–such as characterization, dialogue, and plot–to transform personal experiences into artful stories relevant to the reader. Through guided exercises, studies in craft, manuscript critiques, and a look at some successful memoirs as models, you will gain knowledge and confidence on how best to tell and shape your story.