Online: Writing Memoir

Kate Holden

11 July to 19 August 2022, online. 

Full Price: $660
Member: $495
Conc Member: $430

In a big life, where is the story? Everyone has not just one story but thousands. Somewhere in your many years, encounters, lessons and relationships is the tale you need to tell. It may be sad, it may be joyful, complicated or simple, it might be just for you or it might be a story lots of people can share.

Is this course right for you? Read our FAQ >

How do you condense a whole person into a memorable character on the page? What about the legal and ethical issues—how do you respect someone’s privacy while speaking the truth? And what are the ingredients that make a memoir something not only you will want to read, but people you’ve never met will want to read?

It’s one thing to live it; another to write it. In this six-week online course, Kate Holden takes you through discussion, exercises and the sharing of stories to help you shake off the cobwebs and tumbleweeds and find the story inside you – and how best to make it sing.

This online writing memoir course will include practical components and writing exercises as well discussions focused on theoretical issues.

This workshop will cover:

  • motives to write
  • motives to publish
  • memory and verification, clearances and permissions
  • legal and ethical issues
  • stylistic and voice issues
  • refining a story arc
  • boring and gripping memoirs

This course involves submitting short writing exercises, and giving and receiving peer feedback. Participants will receive limited tutor feedback.

This interactive online course has limited places. Book early to avoid missing out. 

Week-by-Week Course Breakdown:

Week 1: Introducing memoir

Memoir is an old form, going back to the middle ages or earlier – historians have written accounts of events from their own perspective for a thousand years or more. Some would say Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars are a memoir. In this week, we’ll start to introduce ourselves to each other online, explore the different types of memoir, the motive behind writing a memoir and the functions of memoir.

Week 2: Starting to write

Starting to write your memoir can feel overwhelming or intimidating. Let’s talk about assembling resources, plotting your thoughts, shaping the narrative, and moving through hesitation and blocks.

Week 3: Tools and techniques

This week, we’ll look at specific things to do with the writing of memoir. The language you use, the character you take on as narrator, the position you have as documenter of your story, and how to use techniques from fiction to make your memoir into a good read.

Week 4: Voice, style, tone

A tedious life story can be made amazing by a great voice. Even an incredible life can sound dull if it’s told in a monotone. The way you tell your story will be the voice in your reader’s ear. Let’s explore ways to find your unique voice, style and tone.

Week 5: Ethical issues

In lesson we’ll look at some of the more sobering issues to do with memoir. Most of them concern the most difficult and notorious element of memoir-writing: other people. We’ll look at the ethics of depicting other people, and the risks.

Week 6: The final touches – editing, approaching publishers, and more!

And finally, the fun (and sometimes terrifying) part! In the final lesson, we’ll talk about editing and polishing your writing, and share tips for approaching publishers.

Expected Learning outcomes: 

  1. At the end of the course the participants should feel like we have run through major logistical and stylistic issues of contemporary memoir.
  2. We will have talked about and shared impressions of successful (and unsuccessful) published works, described our own projects and challenges, practiced short passages of character-portrayal.
  3. We will have discussed the legal implications of publication, and fired up enthusiasm for the work ahead.

Participant Requirements

We’ve designed this online course to meet your learning needs. You can work through the lesson material, ask questions, and engage with fellow writers throughout the course. Internet access and confidence using basic computer software are essential for this program. Please read our FAQ before enrolling.

Please expect to spend a minimum of three to four hours per week on the course, noting that the amount of time needed to read, respond to discussions, write, revise and critique will vary from person to person. To get the most out of this course, we recommend logging in at least once a week. You don’t need to log in at a specific time.

You do not need to log into the course at a specific time and there are no live meetings. You will receive an email with an invitation link to join the online classroom by 10am on the day the course starts.

  • Participants will work through several lessons, which will open sequentially over the first few days of the course (see course dates in the blue box above).
  • You can complete the lesson material in your own time.
  • This course includes short writing assignments and the opportunity to give and receive peer feedback, and some tutor feedback.

You can find out more about the course by reading our frequently asked questions. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Get to know the tutor

If you would like to find out more about Kate Holden, check out our interview with her, Memoir invites you into someone else’s reality.


More from Writing NSW

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Online: Writing Memoir

$660

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