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Better than Fiction: Writing Your Memoir with Flair
Memoirs don’t have to read like diaries or timelines. The best ones are written like good novels—with the same literary tools that make great romances and mysteries come alive. This seminar will help memoir writers turn their memoirs into compelling stories, with the same dialogue, description, pacing and narration that make fictional protagonists jump off the page. This five-session hands-on workshop will feature in-class exercises and real-time, constructive feedback for both those who’ve started their memoir and those who want to get started. The sessions will be held every other week.

Session 1: Introduction – What is memoir and how to choose your story. We’ll explore some best-selling memoirs and hear from a couple of memoir writers in our community. We’ll go home with an assignment to start shaping our story.

Session 2: Plotting the narrative arc – Developing your story line and getting started. We’ll share our stories with each other, share feedback, and discuss techniques for organizing the narrative based on good fiction-writing techniques.

Session 3: Writing great dialogue – How your characters express themselves. We’ll discuss the basics for capturing speech and the various techniques for building character and scene through dialogue. We’ll make our dialogue as compelling and telling as that in good fiction.

Session 4: Setting and action – Creating a sense of place and moving the story forward. We’ll discuss how to choose anecdotes that illustrate the story, and ways to put the reader in the midst of the story. We’ll practice writing scene-setting narrative in class.

Session 5: Self-editing and publishing your memoir – What are your options. We’ll try some editing exercises and discuss your options for hiring editors and taking your memoir to print.

Dates: Thursdays, September 28, October 12, 26, November 9 and 30.

Time: 10 a.m to noon

Location: Welwood Murray Memorial Library, 100 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs

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