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CNF 92 — How to Keep Your Story Going: A Memoir Workshop

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturday
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 1 day
Date(s): Jan 28
Time: 9:00 am—3:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 21
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $255
Instructor(s): Monica Wesolowska
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
9:00 am—3:00 pm (PT)
Jan 28
1 day
Refund Date
Jan 21
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Monica Wesolowska
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
You’ve shouldered your backpack and bravely set out to write a memoir, but a few miles into your journey the voice inside your head is screaming, as Cheryl Strayed puts it in Wild, “What have I gotten myself into?” If so, you’re not alone. No matter how talented you are, no matter how wild your life has been, no matter how many good pages you’ve written so far, you may have stalled. This course will offer help. We will start by addressing a key question: What really is stopping you? With the help of writing exercises, we will work to break through emotional barriers. We will review essential craft components, including how to plot, deal with backstory, and establish point of view. Do you have the right foundation? Should you plan in advance or discover where you’re going as you write? What does it mean to head for the climax? Realizing that every story is different, we will examine a variety of strategies from successful memoirists such as Cheryl Strayed, Andrew X. Pham, Jeanette Walls, and Kiese Laymon to see what inspires you. As Strayed puts it, “Ask yourself: What is the best I can do? And then do that.” With a fresh attitude and new craft supplies, you will regain your stamina to keep your story going.

This course is appropriate for writers of all experience levels. It can be taken independently or following the completion of CNF 91/WSP 91: “How to Start Your Story: A Memoir Workshop.”

Author; Editor

Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life, which was named a Best Book of 2013 by The Boston Globe and Library Journal, and the children's picture book Leo + Lea. Her essays and short stories have been published in a wide variety of venues, including The New York Times. For almost two decades, she has taught creative writing and worked with clients as an independent editor.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.