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A Deliberate Construction: The Art and Craft of Memoir


  • Life in 10 Minutes 2707 West Cary Street Richmond, VA, 23220 United States (map)
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Class Date(s)

4 Tuesday evenings, 7-9pm

10/29, 11/5, 11/12, 11/19

Class Details

“Memoir isn’t the summary of a life; it’s a window into a life, very much like a photograph in its selective composition. It may look like a casual and even random calling up of bygone events. It’s not; it’s a deliberate construction.”—William Zinsser

Our lives are big, messy, beautiful, crazy things. So how do we tame them into a single project like a book? In this 4-session intensive we’ll talk about approaches and strategies for giving shape to our life stories on the page. We’ll read excerpts from published memoirs, engage in discussions of the craft, and put lessons into practice through guided writing exercises. Writers will also have the opportunity to workshop a piece of writing during our second week of class to receive feedback from their instructor and classmates.

This class is ideally suited to writers who already have been some experience writing creative non-fiction. The class lessons pull from Elizabeth’s experience as freelance editor for memoir as well as graduate coursework. Because this is an intensive designed to maximize writers’ exposure to the topic, some outside “homework” will be required. Outside work will not exceed one hour per session (for a total of 4 hours), and the instructor will provide all reading materials.

Testimonials from past Deliberate Construction Participants:

The feedback on my writing from Elizabeth and the other participants in this class was particular, supportive and encouraging. That and Elizabeth’s teaching from the work of published writers made this a powerful learning experience for me.
- Chaya P.

Elizabeth’s intensive memoir writing class will help you focus on your craft and your story whether you are a beginning writer or a professional. She will create a safe place for you to explore your writing and to discuss the work and strategies of other writers. In addition to feeling welcomed into a community, you will leave with many more tools in your writing toolbox!

- Cindy C.

Earlier Event: October 29
Life in 10 Minutes
Later Event: October 29
Life in 10 Minutes