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Shape the Story Structure of your Memoir

 NAMW Member Telseminar with Jerry Waxler

January 24,2014  11 AM PST  12 MST  1 CST  2 EST

jerry_vertical2We are so happy to welcome back Jerry Waxler, an NAMW board member and veteran teacher of memoir writing in his community of Philadelphia, and here at the National Association of Memoir Writers. Jerry is going to teach his specialty workshop in creating story in February, but you can get a taste of what he will present here in this special member teleseminar.

When you remember your past, your memories meander, occurring in random order, leading in no particular direction. As a memoir writer, your goal is to fit the facts into the shape of a compelling and satisfying story. In this teleseminar, Jerry Waxler will help you achieve your writing goals by describing the arc of a story, and offer tips and examples to show how to apply these universal principles to your own unique journey. Come join the call to ask about your own story challenges.

For further instruction, sign up for Jerry’s four-session teleclass on this subject

What you will learn from the teleseminar

  • Why readers expect your memoir to follow the story structure
  • What a universal story structure is
  • Why different situations require a unique approach
  • How the theme of your memoir could suggest your own approach
  • How reading memoirs offers examples to help you write your own


Examples of memoirs with a variety of structures

Linda Joy Myers, Don’t Call me Mother (coming of age)

Cheryl Strayed, Wild (young adult. Externally it’s about a hike. Internally it’s about growing)

Sonia Marsh, Freeways to Flipflops (Midlife of a family. Their trip to Belize combines travel with personal development.)

David Berner, Accidental Lessons (Trying to reinvent himself later in life)

Boyd Lemon, Digging Deep (A story structured as a life review)

Martha Stettinius, Dementia Epidemic (the journey of caregiving for a failing mother)



Jerry Waxler, M.S., is an experienced memoir workshop leader and a member of the advisory board for the National Association of Memoir Writers. His blog contains hundreds of essays, interviews and book reviews about reading and writing memoirs. His book Memoir Revolution offers insights into the cultural trend and personal benefit of writing memoirs. Jerry teaches nonfiction writing at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and is on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Writing Conference.


Book: Memoir Revolution


  1. I will attend. Phyllis Langton

  2. Indu says:

    Yippee! I need this one!

  3. Sandy says:

    I don’t see a way to sign up for the teleseminar, just for the class… ?

  4. When you say to sign up, do you mean just leave a message here? Or is there a different way? I’m planning to attend. Jumping into my NAMW membership with both feet!

  5. Count me in!

  6. I’ve been waiting for this one.

  7. Carolina Evans-Roman says:

    Will there be a recording of the seminar which we can access in case that we are not able to join the live presentation?

  8. Terri Calabrese says:

    I soul like to sign up for Jan 24.

  9. Brenda McManus says:

    Sounds good…i’ll be there…

  10. Sandy says:

    I couldn’t find a place to sign up for this. Will it be available for download later?

  11. Rhonda says:

    I tried for over 30 minutes to connect to this teleconference with no luck.

    I’ve waited to sign up for Jerry’s class, partly because I wanted to hear this call.

    Did anyone else have difficulty?


  12. Paula Wagner says:

    Oops! Sorry to miss this in person but please send me the recording. I’ve taken Jerry’s course before and he’s wonderful! Thanks much, Paula

  13. Darn it! I put it down as 2pm Pacific Time. I just waited on the phone for a few minutes before discovering I missed it. Shoot! Guess I’ll have to listen to it instead. Hope it was great!

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