Brain on FireJoin us for our new best-seller short course:

How to Write a Memoir That Changes Lives

Class dates: Sept 19, Sept 26, Oct 3, Oct 10
Mondays at 4pm PT | 5pm MT | 6pm CT | 7pm ET

All classes are one hour and we record all sessions so that you can watch the recordings if you have to miss a class.

Brain on Fire (soon to be a major motion picture) set us on fire! This fast-paced memoir has a lot to teach memoirists about how to write what you don’t remember; the value of advocating for others through your writing; and the power memoir holds to truly change lives.

Cahalan brilliantly captures her month of madness, despite the fact that she recalls almost nothing of what happened during that time. She uses effective techniques, like dropping into the point of view of others, incorporating records and journals, and excerpting bits from video sessions. In pushing the boundaries of memoir through the use of multiple “I” narrative voices,  Brain on Fire is a valuable teaching tool to aspiring memoirists who want to better grasp the power of transformation—and how to bring your reader all the way into the story as you face your own struggles and setbacks, and areas of growth and transformation.

Class 1 (Sept 19). Writing What You Don’t Remember

  • Techniques for writing what you remember
  • How to free yourself from the burden of not needing to remember everything
  • Tools for exploring the depths of your remembered and unremembered experiences
  • Unconventional storytelling for the memory-challenged

Class 2 (Sept 26). Characterization of the Self in the Narrative Arc

  • How to track your narrative “I” and how you can learn from Susannah’s many “I’s”—her normal self; her diagnosed self; her ill self; her “guinea pig” self; her recovering self; her advocate self
  • How to characterize yourself and others in unreliable narratives
  • The importance of pacing as it pertains to characterization and character development in the storyline
  • Distinguishing between the real, the unreal, and the possibly real and why to make sure your readers know what’s what.

Class 3 (October 3). The Power of Showing

  • How to write descriptions that show
  • Varying up tenses as a showing technique
  • How to make your reader feel what you feel by tracking the intensity, discomfort, physical reactions, and other visceral experiences in Brain on Fire
  • The importance of showing broader cultural issues in your era and/or as pertinent to your particular issue

Class 4 (October 10). Takeaways and Other Devices to Create Meaning

  • How and why to use journalist techniques to create takeaway
  • An exploration of different types of takeaways
  • The power of unconventional narrative techniques and how and why they create meaning
  • How to get at the heart of what matters in your own memoir to write a book that changes lives

Sign up here.