‘No-one is boring if they tell the truth,’ said Quentin Crisp. But making your story come alive on the page is challenging and often elusive. While fiction is about making an ‘invented story’ feel believable and memoir is about truth and authenticity, many rules of fiction can also apply to memoir. In this workshop we will explore how techniques of character, place, theme and structure can help make the difference between an engaging memoir and a lifeless one.
Using practical writing exercises and extracts from published memoirs, we will explore questions such as:
I know the people in my story. I can see them and hear them and smell them and feel How can I help my readers do the same?
How can I help my readers feel a place as intensely as me?
What, at its heart, is the story I need to tell and how will this influence the way I tell it?
We will also address ethical and moral issues involved in writing memoir. How do we write honestly about our life without hurting those closest to us? What is the difference between the ‘truth’ and the ‘facts’? What if our truth differs from those around us? Is memory reliable? How can we reliably reconstruct events and conversations, which often took place many years ago?
You can bring a project you’re already working on or just come with an idea of the story you wish to explore. You will do a lot of writing and hopefully leave with tools and insights to continue unraveling your own unique story.
Alan Close’s most recent book is Before You Met Me: A Memoir Of One Man’s Troubled Search For Love. He has written widely on men and relationships in the national print media and edited the anthology Men Love Sex, a collection of stories and essays by men about love, sex and relationships. He lives in Mullumbimby with the writer Sarah Armstrong and their young daughter and works editing manuscripts and as a writing mentor and teacher, both face-to-face and online
Date: Tuesday 30 July Time: 10.00am – 4.00pm Where: Byron Community College, East Point Arcade (opposite Mercato) Jonson Street, Byron Bay Cost: $120 General / $100 Members