Writing the Memoir: Day-Long & Extended Workshops Print
Writing Workshops

Thomas Larson, renowned writer and memoir facilitator, is available for daylong, weekend, and weeklong workshops. He has taught beginning to advanced classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, MN, at Ghost Ranch in Santa Fe and Abiquiu, NM, and at Writing Centers in Bethesda, MD, and Indianapolis, IN. Currently, he teaches in the Low-Residency MFA program at Ashland University, Ashland, OH. He works one-on-one with writers, critiquing and editing manuscripts. The announcement below describes his basic workshop and can be used for advertising and promotion.

Join Thomas Larson, author of The Memoir and the Memoirist, for a workshop in memoir writing. We beging by discussing the significant differecnes between traditional autobiography and contemporary memoir. Next, we explore memoir's demanding questions: Where do I begin? What is my focus? How do I discover the emotional truth of my story? How do I write about the living? With numerous writing prompts, we look at the mainstays of the form: truth-telling and self-disclosure; sudden versus long-ago memoir; good and bad therapeutic writing; and the importance of metaphor and mything in the personal life.

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An extended workshop (weekend or weeklong) begins with the following description.

Many of us have lived fascinating lives whether inwardly or outwardly, during childhood long ago or as adults in the last decade. But when it comes to writing a memoir, where do we begin? The day of our birth? The day we left home? The beginning or end of a relationship? Memoir is most successful when it is not the “story of a life,” but a focused part of that life—a dozen summers spent working on a grandfather’s farm; a long relationship with a dying relative; the first year of law school.

In “Writing the Memoir,” we discuss how to choose a subject, plan, focus, and begin a memoir. What makes for good subjects in memoirs? Examples include a relational memoir, one focused on mother and daughter or father and son; a memoir of passionate interest, a love of reading or mountaineering; a memoir of a phase or era, time spent in Mexico, a divorce, the death of a favorite uncle. We also explore the differences between autobiography and memoir and address the idea of self-disclosure.

There is time for multiple writing exercises in recalling people, places, and events, readings from published memoirs, discussion of the tension between emotional and factual truth, ideas about truth-telling for memoirists, one-on-one sharing and critique, and advice on publishing. The goal will be to draft the material for the first chapter or for a section of a memoir.

  • Author photo, book cover, posters, and postcards are available upon request.
  • Venues must include desks or tables that accommodate participants.