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August 2020 Member Teleseminar

Kate Farrell
Storytelling Techniques for Memoir
August 14, 2020
11 AM PDT  |  12 PM MDT |   1 PM CDT  |   2 PM EDT

In the oral tradition, the storyteller is the narrator for the story, omniscient, the one who interprets the characters, emotions, and meaning, and who frames the story. We will explore how to use this objective point of view in memoir, and talk about how to develop voice in writing memoir through the use of storytelling techniques.

An engaging voice in personal narrative is vital, and makes the difference between a flat exposition to a story that leaps off the page and grabs readers’ attention. In your memoir, you are both the teller and a character in your life story. We will discuss and demonstrate storytelling strategies to frame narrative scenes and infuse your work with a compelling voice.

You can expect to participate in a writing exercise with a prompt, and come away with an appreciation of the modern oral tradition and how it can inform your memoir.

We will discuss:

  • How telling family stories are shared folklore, the “we” stories known by many, told informally and on special occasions
  • A short example of a family folklore tale, “Katie F.”
  • How defining stories can express our unique identity
  • A short example of a defining story, “A Kiss Goodbye, and Hello”
  • How to create effective scenes with a storyboard
  • How to use recordings and playback to develop voice
  • Choose one of two prompts for story writing (family or defining)
  • Optional sharing of a few stories, noticing voice, and the role of narrator

KATE FARRELL is a storyteller, author, librarian, founded the Word Weaving Storytelling Project and published numerous educational materials on storytelling. She has contributed to and edited award-winning anthologies of personal narrative. Farrell recently completed a how-to guide on the art of storytelling for adults, Story Power: Secrets to Creating, Crafting, and Telling Memorial Stories, released by Mango Publishing June 2020. Farrell is past president of Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter. Please visit: https://katefarrell.net/

Upcoming workshops include Story Power: The Storytelling Revolution from Traditional to Personal. A Virtual Workshop in the Art of Storytelling

Saturday, August 22, 2020 – 10:00am to 11:30am

Produced by Mechanics Institute in partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference



  1. Kate Farrell

    This looks like an exciting event! How do non-members sign up? I understand this is a special offer. Thanks!

  2. Beth Corso

    I would like to sign up for this session. Thank you. Beth Corso, bethanncorso@gmail.com

    • Erica

      Hi Beth,

      As a member, you should have already received the call access info via email. Please email customersupport@namw.org if you have not received the email.

      Kind Regards,

  3. Vicki Wallach

    How do I access the code to access the webinar with Kate Farrell?
    Thank you.

    • Erica

      Hi Vicki,

      As a member, you should have already received the call access info via email. Please email customersupport@namw.org if you have not received the email.

      Kind Regards,

  4. Paula

    Many thanks to you both, Linda and Kate, for a moving teleseminar, so rich in concise and useful information. Loved the writing prompts. Feeling more inspired to tackle my next memoir now.


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