Memoir in Progress: Craft - Remote!

4 Wednesdays from 6:00pm-9:00pm (EST), starting May 27th
Remote! (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: Intermediate
Adult (18+)
This class is full

Part of a two-part series! Students can take one or both parts of the class. Check out the second half here: Memoir in Progress: Revision.

Writing the first draft of your memoir can be daunting. Determining its scope, narrative voice, and figuring out how to handle time, are no easy tasks. But guidance in a group setting of peers facing similar questions can help. This class will tackle these big-picture issues and pay close attention to the minutiae of good writing.

For this 4-week class, students will focus on becoming familiar with the 4 key elements to the craft of memoir: developing your persona, situation vs. story, conflict-driven structure, and "truth" and memory as it relates to recovering and recreating the past. Students will examine such concepts from the works of writers such as Mary Karr, Vivian Gornick, T Kira Madden, and Carmen Maria Machado, and then participate in in-class writing exercises addressing such elements. There is no work outside of class other than continuing to write, with the goal of each student writing 5 new pages or revising 10 pages each week, while developing a solid sense of their book's themes and driving questions.

This course is designed for writers with some knowledge of the craft of memoir who have either: (a) begun at least three chapters of a full-length memoir or (b) begun at least three essays of a connected series of personal essays. Please come to the first class with a copy of “an elevator pitch" for your potential or existing memoir (a compelling title and 150-word blurb that summarizes and encapsulates your work).

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Sarah Chaves
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "Supportive Environment"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • In-Class Writing
  • Instructor Feedback
  • Workshop
  • Revision Assignments
  • Reading Homework
  • Writing Homework


  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



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