Spinning Straw into Gold: The Magic of Memoir
August 23, 2019
11 AM PDT | 12 PM MDT | 1 PM CDT | 2 PM EDT
No matter what you have lived through, your story can be told in a way that is compelling to others. At first it may just feel like a big mess of straw and that’s intimidating. Who cares about straw? Can you craft it in a way that others will find irresistible? How do you start the spinning wheel anyway?
In this webinar, we will spend time looking at those questions. We’ll start by looking at the straw. In my case, the straw was hundreds of pages of a private diary I had written about a tragic event. How was I going to turn that diary voice into a good public narrator? What makes a narrator “good” anyway? Where should I begin? What should I include and what should I leave out? And who cared if I did?
Ultimately, the key to writing a good memoir is figuring out why you yourself care enough to spend your days spinning straw. What questions are you exploring? Once you figure that out, you’ll be on your way to transforming you own life story into something valuable for others.
- Getting enough distance on your material
- Figuring out your main questions
- Choosing where to begin
- Deciding what to put in and what to leave out
- Turning yourself and your life into a story for others
Monica Wesolowska is the author of the memoir Holding Silvan: A Brief Life which was named a “Best Book of 2013” by The Boston Globe and Library Journal. Her essays and short stories have been published in a wide variety of venues including the “Modern Love” column of The New York Times. Her debut children’s picture book Leo Plus Lea is forthcoming from Scholastic in 2021. A former fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she currently teaches creative writing at UC Berkeley Extension, Stanford Continuing Studies and Left Margin Lit. In addition, she runs an independent editing business, helping clients hone their own voices. She edits novels, essays, short stories, picture books and memoirs. Read more at www.monicawesolowska.com
Upcoming opportunities to work with me:
Developing the Memoir, a ten-week course on writing your memoir, starts at UC Berkeley Extension on October 2.
Intermediate Fiction, A 12 week online course on writing short stories, starts online through UC Berkeley Extension September 10.
How to Start Your Story: A Memoir Workshop, a one-day workshop on starting your memoir at Stanford Continuing Studies Sunday, October 6th.