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  Course Overview

Have you ever had difficulty retrieving details related to important events? Or gotten confused about which memories are germane to your story and which are not?

Journaling for Memoir course consists of three, two-week units. As designed, it is a six-week course, though you are welcome to work through it at your own pace.

In Unit 1, Mining the Past, you will learn techniques to trigger and enhance memories, mine past journal entries for details, explore recurring themes and issues, and conduct research to add or verify details important to provide context for your memoir.

Once you have those details, how do you pull them together into a compelling narrative? Scene, rather than exposition, captures the imagination of your readers and pulls them into your story. Scene communicates the visceral experience of your story.

Unit 2, Creating Scenes, gives you the tools you need to take "dry" memory of past events (this happened, then that happened) and craft memorable and powerful scenes using vivid description and other fiction writing techniques to bring your real characters to life on the page.

In looking back at past journal entries, have you discovered you didn't record enough information about what happened? Did you focus so much on your thoughts and emotions that you forgot to describe a situation with enough detail to help you write the story you want to write? Or, conversely, did you focus on what happened while neglecting the emotional/psychological impact of those events? Did your journal writing consist of daily to-do lists?

Unit 3, Preserving Memories for the Future, is all about ways to use your journal today to preserve the most information — facts, concrete, sensory details, and reflection — for future memoir writing.


Before you get started, do you have any general questions about the course?