When we mine our pasts for stories, childhood and adolescence are the motherlodes. This workshop, for students of all levels, begins with the assumption that everyone’s childhood was a fascinating and colorful place in which to come of age. Our daily exercises and discussions will help writers parse which stories can be told best in memoir form.
During the week, we’ll review the components that add up to a successful childhood memoir: detail and description; characterization; dialogue; humor; gravity; and—most of all—point of view. We’ll look at examples of young protagonists in published memoirs. Daily writing exercises will be scheduled in, including scene work and experiments with past and present tense, to explore how changing tenses in our work affects narrative point of view. We’ll also discuss the law and ethics of writing about real people, especially those closest to us.
By the end of the week you can expect to return home with five to ten pages of new work and an outline for a short work of memoir or book chapter.