This interactive workshop will focus on the way a writer constructs characters in memoirs, personal essays, and journalistic profiles. Students will examine – through their own work and others’ – how nonfiction writers must shape information to render people on the page in a way that is honest and engaging.
Much of this workshop will be spent on the “I” character. How do we portray ourselves, both when we’re at the center of our stories and when we’re on the edges looking in? How do we decide what to include and how do we justify what we exclude? We will think about how to integrate what we know about ourselves and the world now into stories that happened in the past. We will look to the writers Joan Didion, Phillip Lopate, Mary Karr and others for help when we need it.
The majority of class time will be spent discussing student work. Revision will be essential. Canvas will be used to discuss readings and other topics. In addition to writing assignments throughout the semester, students will complete a final portfolio of approximately fifteen pages of revised work.