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CNF 55 — Fast-Draft Your Way to a Complete Memoir

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 23—Dec 9
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 6
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): Rachael Herron
Limit: 21
Status: Closed
Please Note: This course has a different schedule than what appears in the print catalogue. The course will now meet for 10 weeks from September 23 to December 9. There will be no class on October 21 and November 25.
Fall
On-campus
Mondays
6:30—9:20 pm
Date(s)
Sep 23—Dec 9
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 6
3 Units
Fees
$675
Instructor(s):
Rachael Herron
Limit
21
Closed
Please Note: This course has a different schedule than what appears in the print catalogue. The course will now meet for 10 weeks from September 23 to December 9. There will be no class on October 21 and November 25.
Writing a memoir can be a daunting proposition— you’re the expert on your life, naturally, but narrating and organizing your own experiences effectively can feel impossible. Many writers become frustrated in early drafting stages and lack the confidence to move forward. In this course, we will learn how to get a draft of your memoir written quickly while keeping the memoir’s structure cohesive and compelling. We will discuss the framing techniques that best suit your particular life’s story and give it a natural arc that will keep your reader engaged. We will learn how working quickly heightens enthusiasm and quiets the inner critic. Perfectionists will discover strategies to get out of their own way while in the first-draft stage, and students leery of revision will learn procedures that can be utilized after the course has ended to make reaching the final draft an enjoyable experience. We will analyze work by memoirists Mary Karr, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jeannette Walls, Tara Westover, and Alison Bechdel. Approximately half of our class time will be devoted to students’ work, and by the end of the course, enthusiastic students will have not only a bare-bones first draft of a memoir, but also a course of action for self-completion.

Rachael Herron, Author

Rachael Herron is the author of the memoir A Life in Stitches, the nonfiction manual Fast-Draft Your Memoir, and fourteen novels, most notably The Ones Who Matter Most, which was named a 2016 Editors’ Spring Pick by Library Journal. Her first foray into the thriller genre is forthcoming. She has taught writing workshops at UC Berkeley, Seton Hall, and the Melbourne Writers Festival. Herron received an MFA in writing from Mills College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Tara Westover, Educated (ISBN 9780525589983)
(Required) Marion Roach Smith, The Memoir Profect (ISBN 9780446584845)
(Required) Steven Pressfield, The War of Art (ISBN 9781936891023)
(Recommended) The Glass Castle, Jeanette Walls (ISBN 9780743247542)
(Recommended) Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (ISBN 9780812993547)
(Recommended) Alison Bechdel, Fun Home (ISBN 9780618871711)
(Recommended) Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir (ISBN 9780062223074)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)