April 1 – 22, 2014, 4 weeks (Tuesdays) 4 PST, 5 MST, 6 CST, 7 EST
$125 for non-members
$110 for members
To write a memoir, you need to translate unstructured memories into the structure called “Story.” In this four session teleclass, Jerry Waxler will break the form of a Story into simple elements. Then we’ll walk together step by step through the process of translating your life experience into a form that readers won’t want to put down.
What you will learn
- Importance of a protagonist and how you will become one in your memoir
- The importance of the inner as well as the outer story
- How to set up the beginning of a story so the reader wants to know the end
- How to energize the middle so it drives the reader to the next page
- How to create a satisfying ending
- How to turn life lessons into a crucial element of a good story
How it works—From Jerry:
We’ll get together for four 90-minute telephone sessions. During each session, I’ll offer a lesson to help you organize your structure. Then each of you will have an opportunity to share your project. By exploring your story in this virtual classroom, we build a trusting, mutually supportive atmosphere. Between each session, you will write brief assignments and email them to all in the class. Because we will be able to read your pieces on our own, you won’t need to read them aloud. We can use class time to work through issues and offer feedback. At every step, during and between classes, I will offer guidance to help you discover the story structure that best expresses your unique life experience.
Jerry Waxler M.S. is a workshop leader and writing coach, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. He is the author of the blog, Memory Writers Network, which contains hundreds of essays, book reviews, and writing prompts about reading and writing memoirs. Mr. Waxler is the author of Memoir Revolution, about the cultural passion for lifestories and Learn to Write Your Memoirs a step by step guide. Jerry is a board member of the Philadelphia Writers Conference, is on the faculty at Northampton Community College and on the advisory panel of the National Association of Memoir Writers.
This was the second time I took Jerry’s class and I’m sure, I’ll be a regular as long as he teaches this workshop. His guidance is very valuable and helps structuring the many “shimmering images” I’m carrying around about my childhood, my younger years and occurances in the recent past that need to be written down to make sense.
Thank you, Jerry! You’re a gem!
Dear Jerry: Thank you for helping me to see the “puzzle pieces” of my story through your story structure class. Your assignments and feedback helped me see myself for the first time as a character on a journey in my own memoir (and on a journey in writing my memoir.) The way you structured the class had me visualize and actually write crucial parts of my story — a beginning, two parts of the middle and the all important ending (or potential ending). It changes everything to have these bookends in place. It makes it seem possible to actually accomplish telling the story in between. I know these may change as my story and structure evolve, as you said, but I have a very basic arc to hang the rest of my story on and to evolve from. This is an invaluable step forward and in such a short time — the four week class.
Thank you also for using the stories that we each wrote for class and pulling out teaching points from the stories. We not only enjoyed sharing our stories and kindly critiqued each other’s work, thanks to the tone you set for the class, but we could actually learn from each other’s weekly assignments.
Your class and your encouragement throughout have been an important step for me and I want you to know it and to properly thank you. Please consider teaching other classes through NAMW. You are a kind man which makes you a great teacher for such a sensitive subject as memoir. Your have a vast body of knowledge, always able to point students to a memoir that uses a method or technique that might work for us. I would definitely take another class you taught and, indeed, may take this class again in April after my memoir and I have evolved further! Thank you so much for your help.
Frances A. Rove
Thank you so much for your invaluable feedback and wonderful class.
I also would be interested in your class in April. I think Frances said it all in her email to you!
Jerry you are a great teacher, and you do so in a way that the student is not aware of it until after the class is over.
Your teaching is subtle and supportive, which is what is needed in writing memoir due to its highly charged emotional memories that live in each of us.
I have a direction and structure now to move my memoir move forward!
Thank you so much for this wonderful class and the opportunity to get to know the other writers life stories and struggles to fulfill their dreams of writing their memoirs.
This course is a great way to get your memoir on paper and straight in your head. It helps you locate the story you are telling with your memories — and you will find yourself humbled and awed by other people’s stories and how they can help you write your own. Jerry, your instruction was straightforward, but kind and generous. You kickstarted my confidence.
~Dr. Danna Walker
Many of us have stories about our families, ourselves, that we want to write about but don’t know how. I encourage anyone wanting to turn his/her life experience into a memoir to sign up for Jerry’s workshops. His classes provide a safe and encouraging environment in which we can explore and find structure for our stories. Jerry is one of the best teachers of memoir development I’ve encountered. His coaching is insightful and inspiring.
I would highly recommend anyone who is interested in writing their memoir take this class, regardless of where they are in the writing process. Jerry is a gentle and compassionate guide to your memories and their placement process. I have worked on my memoir for several years, never getting pass the first few pages. During this class I realized why I couldn’t. I was trying to tell the wrong story. Thanks to Jerry’s insight, I learned what my real story is as did several others in our class.
To anyone looking for direction in their pursuit of writing a memoir, I highly recommend this class. Jerry’s familiarity with memoir writing and his expertise in the field is exactly the right foundation needed to help, not just the seasoned writer, but the beginner as well.
Having just birthed the idea of writing a memoir within the last few months, this class was such a joy to me. I came away feeling exuberant and encouraged. We all have areas of our writing which need to be polished. My area of weakness is with ‘showing, not telling’. Through the help of others in the class, I have the determination to pursue the skills necessary to become better at describing scenes in my writing.