“The teaching of craft can be done without damage to a writer’s original voice or artistic self-esteem.”
― Pat Schneider (the 4th precept of the AWA Method)
FIRST DRAFT MEMOIR
FIRST DRAFT MEMOIR, Autumn 2023, facilitated by SUE REYNOLDS
In 2022, Sue took a year off leading First Draft Novel Approach to Memoir workshops. At that point she’d been leading them for 13 years. Both she and the course needed some rejuvenation.
She spent the next 12 months reading many, many memoirs, taking memoir workshops from other teachers and institutions, and working on her own memoir. She also led two 10 week Mining for Memoir workshops, focusing on shorter memoirs.
This fall Sue returns to leading A Novel Approach to Memoir, First Draft with a renewed passion for the art form, and many many new resources and new thoughts about the shape that memoirs can take.
This year’s course will have a similar structure to previous years’ workshops, in that we will be doing bi-weekly workshops with a synchronous, in-class focus on memoir theory and writers’ craft. But we will also be reading and looking at published memoirs with a wide range of structures. Early sessions in the fall will focus on producing shorter, standalone pieces. In December we will look at the work you’ve produced so far with an eye to discerning the organic shape your memoir is taking. The six months from January to June will be spent fulfilling the early promise of your work in the autumn, and fleshing out the shape your memoir wants to take into a full, first draft manuscript.
In her sabbatical year, Sue had the pleasure of taking a great many a-synchronous, online workshops where the focus was on self-study. Occasionally there would be a live Q&A session where the instructor would gather with colleagues to address issues students were encountering, but most of the work was done on her own time. She feels she learned a great deal of theory, but ultimately the lack of live, face to face time in person was disincentivizing.
Consequently, once again she is offering the 20-session, 40-week, live workshop where participants will generate writing in the workshop and receive immediate, strengths’ based feedback on their fresh new work. In the two weeks between workshops, participants will continue their writing, posting up to 3,000 words bi-weekly on a private website for feedback from their colleagues and Sue. Workshops will be based on the AWA model of strength’s based feedback to immediate fresh work, confidentiality and participation by the workshop leader. Over the course of the year, there will be two formal one-on-one hour long consultations with Sue.
HOW DOES A NOVEL APPROACH HELP YOU WRITE YOUR FIRST DRAFT?
(While also sharing the key aspects of craft along the way)
- You meet biweekly online, face to face, in a small group of authors who are also writing their first drafts.
- You post up to 3,000 words on a private workshop website every two weeks.
- You read and share positive feedback with each other on the scenes written.
- Your instructor reads every posting in detail and posts feedback.
- In each of the 20 workshops, a vital aspect of the writing craft is addressed
- At the conclusion of the workshop you will have written 60,000 words (or more) and learned the key skills to writing compelling stories.
- You will forge long-lasting writing friendships with your fellow participants.