It's All About Me: Making Yourself Into a Great Nonfiction Character

Saturday, March 29th, from 10:30am-1:30pm
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

Do you worry your "I" is boring, whiny, self-indulgent or one-dimensional? Do you fear no one cares about you in your essay or memoir? If you're writing nonfiction that features your little ole self, you might worry the "I" (that is, the character of you in your story) just isn't grabbing the reader. Perhaps it's because in your personal narrative, you haven't fully developed yourself as a character. Just like in fiction, if you're writing nonfiction --- - a book-length memoir, or a personal essay --- your own persona needs to be a well-rounded, reflective, complex character, with dreams, goals and desires, and beset with fears, complications and contradictions. You need to begin your narrative with the "I" in a compelling place. Your "I" also needs to go through an emotional/intellectual journey, or a "character arc." In this seminar, we'll show you how this is done. Via lecture, discussion of great examples from memoirs and personal essays, short exercises and Q&A, we'll explore how to make yourself a compelling character. You'll leave having written some new passages that you can later expand upon and import into your current projects. Bring to class a chunk of writing -- memoir or essay -- that features yourself as a character (perhaps a work you're struggling with). For writers looking to revise their work or find new inspiration to delve into personal narrative.

"Ethan is engaging, insightful, and overall a terrific teacher. Ethan provided a class that was both informative and fun. Also, the material was presented in a way that wasn't overwhelming."

"The seminar covered everything I wanted, the feedback was great, the instructor was both entertaining and informative."

"Ethan's strengths are his wit and knowing when to be silent and wait for input from the class."


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Ethan Gilsdorf
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "High-Energy Class"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Study Published Writing
  • In-Class Writing
  • Lecture
  • Q&A
  • Class Discussion


  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Literary Journalism

Commitment Level



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Learn more
Memoir Essentials: Characters-- Everyone Who Isn't You
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Autobiographical Writing in Fiction & Nonfiction
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Memoir: Seeing Yourself as a Character
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