Class Title: Flash Memoir
Instructor: Sarah White
Class Term: August 13-September 10, 2018
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Memories are frequently more like snapshots than movies. So why not apply the techniques of flash fiction to our own life stories? "Going small" allows us to focus on the moments in which life is truly lived, absorbing lessons that would be hard to find in a larger narrative sweep. Accepting the challenge of creative nonfiction, we work within the boundaries of emotional and factual truth. Short, sharp, and true—no other rules apply.
Each week consists of discussion of an aspect of Flash Memoir, delivered via the class Yahoo Group. Students are expected to submit weekly writing exercises and exchange feedback with fellow students.
At the end of this class, students will be able to write with more clarity and concision about their life experiences. Flash memoir essays make excellent building blocks from which to begin a longer memoir or life story.
Instruction/Communication Method: Yahoo group for instruction, discussion, and exchange of students' written work. No additional materials.
- Unit 1: Ground rules of Flash Memoir. Examples. Story-finding technique: Clustering.
- Unit 2: From scraps to stories. The secret power of Object Writing is revealed.
- Unit 3: Characters and their desires. Find your heroes, villains, and beloved adversaries.
- Unit 4: Revision. "Bookends" improve your Flash Memoirs with better beginnings and endings.
Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required
Basic word processing, use of email, access to Yahoo group
Time Commitment: 1.5 hours per week
Tuition/Fees for this course
SCN members: $128. Non-SCN members: $160.
Sarah White, a published author and personal historian, has taught memoir writing workshops since 2004. She holds a certificate in Reminiscence and Life Story Work and is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Her memoir essays accepted for publication include "Make Love, Not War," Seasons of Our Lives: Summer (Volume 2), Women's Memoirs, e-book 2011, print edition 2018 and "The Plunge," My Words Are Gonna Linger anthology, Personal History Press, 2008. She published Write Your Travel Memoirs: 5 steps to transform your travel experiences into compelling essays in 2010. She teaches online and in-person in Madison, Wisconsin. Visit her website & her blog.
Praise for Sarah's Classes
- Never thought I would love writing my obituary, but I did! Lots of info in Sarah White's class. —Trudy E., Clarkdale AZ
- This was my first Story Circle on line course. The instructor Sarah White has set the bar very high. Her use of "appreciative inquiry" feedback was most helpful. I will look for her future courses and definitely consider taking another SC online course. The experience was as usual with Story Circle first class, very well done. Many thanks. —Pat T., Tyler TX
- Sarah White was everything I could have hoped for in an instructor: lively, engaged, affirming, prompt. I'm afraid she may have spoiled me for any future instructors! —Marilyn P., Waterville ME
- I learned a lot, it was a morale booster and I appreciated Sarah White's constructive criticism. —Jane C., Austin TX
- I learned basics of writing travel memoir—techniques for gathering material on the road, finding the story within the story, organizing and writing the memoir. When I leave for vacation next month, I'll be taking what I've learned in Sarah White's course along with me. —Kathy W., Austin TX
- Although I have a degree in creative writing, I learned a lot from Sarah White's style of outlining and writing. —Elizabeth F., Ogden UT
- The conference calls were very helpful and satisfying—more of a feeling of a class, camaraderie, etc. Also found Sarah White's comments and suggestions on my writing piece helpful. —Chestelle S., Austin TX
- Sarah White was informed, organized, and enthusiastic about her subject. When I was unable to submit my main essay on time, she graciously allowed me to turn it in after the deadline and critiqued it as well. Her critiques served not only to teach but also to encourage. I would enjoy taking other classes from her. Everything about the mini-course was excellent. —Kathy W., Austin TX
- I greatly benefited from Sarah White's instruction and help. I would love to take another course from her. —Mary Ann P., Sugar Land TX
- Sarah White presented the material in a concise and clear manner, using the conference calls to clarify even further. She provided extensive feedback to me in a format that was easy to follow. Her encouraging manner and helpful suggestions made writing my travel essay exciting. —Joan G., Bellevue NE
- Sarah White is a master at constructive criticism. Her comments were insightful and spot on. —Janice K., Austin TX