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  • Seminar
  • Online: Zoom
  • Adult (18+)

Personal Narrative Essentials: Playing With Voice

No Longer Enrolling

  • $150.00 Non-Member
  • $130.00 Member

Class Description

Everyone talks about developing your own “voice”— some distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing. Think of what Simon Cowell on "America’s Got Talent” says when he wants contestants to make a song their own and not just do a note-for-note karaoke version, even if the basic melody is the same. Voice is particularly important in personal essay and memoir. Lack a distinctive voice and your reader might feel distanced, or bored, or annoyed.


In this one-day intensive seminar, we’ll examine how. We’ll try on some voices for size, from writers as diverse as Joan Didion, Brian Doyle and Eudora Welty. We’ll examine sentence and paragraphs structure, diction and tone, all in search of your own elusive voice. Feel free to bring drafts or outlines of short or longform works to which you can apply the class lessons immediately.


Part of The Personal Narrative Essentials series taught by Ethan Gilsdorf. Take every class in the series or simply choose the craft topics that are relevant to the challenges you face in your work. Classes include:


Personal Narrative Essentials: Finding Your Narrative Arc
Personal Narrative Essentials: Structure and Form
Personal Narrative Essentials: Using Research and Immersion
Personal Narrative Essentials: Playing With Voice
Personal Narrative Essentials: How to Publish

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.

Scholarships Format/Location

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

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. 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!

Zoom Participation:

Students are not required to turn their camera on, but are encouraged to participate any way they feel comfortable through functions such as the live chat, emoji reactions, and unmuting the microphone. Learn more about using Zoom here.

Zoom Accessibility:

We ask that instructors enable closed captioning and send a transcript of the session after class. You can also enable closed captioning at any time during the meeting. If your instructor forgets to send the transcript, just send ’em an email!