Elements of Memoir

Do you have a personal story to tell, but want to know more on how to distill the most important parts into a compelling tale? In this class we will examine contemporary pieces in the memoir genre and help you learn how to identify what works in them. You’ll learn and discuss the basic tenets of the genre, reliability of memory, “truth”, and emotional veracity.
You will do a brief autobiographical sketch to help identify what slice of life you want to focus on for your memoir. Then you’ll sketch a basic story progression you can work from and compose a minimum of 10 pages of your memoir.
We’ll peer workshop at least one time with instructor feedback and suggestions for revision and continuation.
Course Sequence:
  • Class 1:  What’s Your Story?
    • Introduction
  • Class 2: Story Arc
    • Plot and structure
    • Scenes/”camera eye”
  • Class 3: (Re)Creating Dialogue
    • The revision/editing process
    • Dialogue use
  • Class 4: Workshopping
    • Student will bring a piece to be workshopped
  • Class 5: What is Truth
    • Nonfiction ethics and the reliability of memory
  • Class 6: To Be A Writer
    • Discuss revisions
    • Reading like a writer
6 Tuesdays, 1-3 pm, April 10, 17, 24, May 1, 8, & 15
Wordcrafters Workshop, 438 Charnelton, Eugene
Cost $199

This course is appropriate for writers of all levels and skill.


About Bronywnn Dean
Bronwynn Dean has an MFAW from Goddard College. She has written a non-fiction essay collection called Potted: A Cultivated Life that examines the evolution of marijuana culture and her development in relation to weed. She teaches non-fiction classes through Wordcrafters, is a cofounder of the writing group The Stonecutters Union, and serves as the nonfiction editor for Clockhouse.