How to Bring More Heart and Craft to Your Story
A Daylong Online Memoir Conference
6 hour-long sessions with best-selling and award-winning authors and industry experts
$39 for all 6 sessions
(All sessions will be recorded and available to all registrants. All classes will have a Q&A section, allowing you to interact with the teachers.)
Part of the magic of memoir is the connection that happens between writer and reader when a reader sees themselves in the writer’s story, forming a bond right there on the page. Memoir helps readers feel less alone, more alive, and seen in ways they’re sometimes not even seen by the people closest to them. Memoir helps writers make sense of their lives, and offers an opportunity to express their truths and their understanding not only of their own experiences, but of the culture and the world we live in. Memoir is a gift that goes both ways. Its intimacy comes both from the heart-felt truth the writer pours onto the page, and their capacity to write a story that draws the reader in.
With all this in mind, TURN UP THE DIAL ON YOUR MEMOIR is designed to deepen your craft as a writer, but also to attend to the heart matters of memoir writing—to help you understand how to deepen and connect, both on the page and out in the world as you grow your platforms and think about publishing your book.
We can’t wait to see you on April 28th with our amazing line-up:
• Julie Barton, NYT bestselling author of Dog Medicine
•Jenni Ferrari-Adler is a longtime agent at Union Literary in New York
• Linda Joy Myers, PhD, award-winning memoirist and President of the National Association of Memoir Writers
• Jordan Rosenfeld, author of seven books, most recently Writing the Intimate Character
• Deborah Siegel, PhD, author and Coach-in-Chief at Girl Meets Voice, Inc.
• Brooke Warner, author and Publisher of She Writes Press
10am PT|1pm ET
Keeping Your Readers in the Story with Research and Vivid Scenes, with Linda Joy Myers
Writing a memoir involves more than remembering your life. You also need to create a world that comes alive on the page so readers can live in that world through scenes. In his book, The Art of Fiction, John Gardner talks about keeping the reader in the “fictive dream.” Since memoirists must draw upon the skills of good storytelling just like fiction writers do, we need to learn the mechanics of powerful storytelling. When we offer our readers specific descriptions and details they become immersed fully in an experience of the story that won’t let them go until the end. In this hour, Linda Joy Myers will bring you an arsenal of tools to teach you exactly how to go about creating the fictive dream in memoir. She’ll address common memoirist pitfalls, like how to write what you don’t remember, and how to use theme as your North Star. She’ll also present helpful tips for easy ways you can research your own past, to inform and in some cases resuscitate memories that will undoubtedly deepen your memoir.
11am PT|2pm ET
Platform Made Personal: How Memoirists Can Find Their Public Voice, with Deborah Siegel, PhD
In this session, writers of personal narrative will learn best practices for authentically building and inspiring an audience—including editors and agents seeking “proof” that a memoirist will be read. Girl Meets Voice founder Deborah Siegel, PhD, an author, blogger, journalist, essay writer, and TEDx speaker who has tested the waters of platform-building firsthand, will guide you to change the way you think about the all-important “platform” by showing specific ways to organically and creatively grow your online and in-person profile.
Noon PT|3pm ET
The Art of Writing Memoir vs. The Nuts and Bolts of Selling Memoir, with Jenni Ferrari-Adler
In this hour, literary agent Jenni Ferrari-Adler explores trends in contemporary memoirs focusing on four popular titles: Joan Didion’s YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING (grief), Jeanette Walls’s THE GLASS CASTLE (strange upbringing), Cheryl Strayed’s WILD (saving your own life), and Gretchen Rubin’s THE HAPPINESS PROJECT (figuring things out through a project. She will cover how to think about your memoir as industry insiders do, with emphasis on both the art and how to sell your memoir (including proposal best practices).
1pm PT|4pm ET
Getting Intimate With Your Characters, with Jordan Rosenfeld
The memoirist has a unique challenge in writing characters—how do you transform the living, breathing people in your story, and your narrator, into vivid, memorable characters who ring true? In this hour, Jordan Rosenfeld will teach you how to apply useful fictional techniques to character development in memoir. She’ll present things like identifying character cues, excavating emotional layers, demonstrating backstory in action, and using dialogue to advance the story and your memoir’s message to your readers.
2pm PT|5pm ET
Finding the Heart of Your Memoir, with Julie Barton
If you’ve dabbled even just a little with memoir writing, you know what it feels like to be dangling at the edge of a precipice. You know you’re supposed to go deep, and yet the vulnerability it takes to do that well can feel paralyzing at times. Connecting to your audience requires you to bare your soul, but it also requires you to stay present and be fully aware of your craft—including structure. In her memoir, Dog Medicine, Julie Barton dug deep into a difficult time in her life to uncover universal truths that connected with readers everywhere. In this session she’ll talk about excavating combined with holding the big picture, and how to take those necessary deep dives while also staying within a specific scope. She’ll share her process and what she learned, and give you a tip or two around how to know your edge, and how to take care of yourself as you write.
3pm PT|6pm ET
Reflection and Takeaway: The Two Unsung Heroines of Memoir Writing, with Brooke Warner
In this hour, Brooke Warner will take memoirists into a journey of two elements of craft that are essential to writing a good memoir: reflection and takeaway. And yet, these are skills that are often not taught in MFA programs. Many aspiring memoirists struggle with reflection—where and how to do it, how much is too much, and how to make it universal. Universal reflection is what Brooke and Linda Joy Myers, in their many memoir courses, call takeaway. Takeaway is part of memoir craft, and learning to integrate it into your memoir starts with understanding the many ways you can manifest it on the page. Brooke is passionate about reflection and takeaway, and believes that it’s the key to a memoir that connects to readers. If you’ve ever wondered what your memoir might be lacking, or how to write a memoir that touches people’s hearts, this hour may be a first step toward unlocking a whole new writing realm.
$39 for all 6 sessions (all sessions will be recorded and available to all registrants)
Julie Barton is the New York Times bestselling author of Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me from Myself (Penguin, 2016). She holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from Southern Connecticut State University. She’s been published in Brain Child Magazine, The South Carolina Review, Louisiana Literature, Two Hawks Quarterly, Westview, The Huffington Post, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and a small menagerie of pets. Join Julie and the Dog Medicine conversation on her Facebook page.
Jenni Ferrari-Adler is a longtime agent at Union Literary in New York City where she represents novels and story collections, cookbooks, memoirs, narrative nonfiction, and other categories. She looks for voice and humor, authority, and insight. Jenni holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan. She edited the anthology Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, and has an essay forthcoming in Tin House.
Linda Joy Myers, PhD, is president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers. Her memoir Don’t Call Me Mother was a finalist in the ForeWord Indie Awards and the IndieExcellence Awards, and won the BAIPA Gold Medal award. Her new memoir Song of the Plains: A Memoir of Family, Secrets, and Silence (She Writes Press) is forthcoming this June. She is the author of three books on memoir writing: The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story, Journey of Memoir, and Becoming Whole. She’s the co-author with Brooke Warner of two books on memoir: Breaking Ground on Your Memoir and The Magic of Memoir. A memoir coach for the last 19 years, Myers’s passions include memoir, healing through story, and the power of writing the truth.
Jordan Rosenfeld is author of seven books, most recently Writing the Intimate Character (Writer’s Digest Books). Her freelance work has appeared in The Atlantic, GOOD, New York Magazine, Scientific American, and many other publications. Jordan holds an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from the Hutchins School. A former resident of Petaluma, California, she created and hosted the LiveWire Literary Salon at Zebulon’s lounge, and Word by Word: Conversations with Writers, on KRCB radio, a radio program interviewing well-known writers such as TC Boyle, Louise Erdrich and others, which won an NEA Chairman’s grant in 2004.Visit Jordan online at Jordanrosenfeld.net.
Deborah Siegel, PhD, is Coach-in-Chief at Girl Meets Voice, Inc., a public voice consultancy that provides access to public voice possibility by helping lift barriers—internal and external—to a deeper influence in print, in person, and online. Deborah brings to this work a background in narrative studies and a special interest in amplifying women’s and other less-heard voices in public spaces. After more than a decade as a content consultant in New York City, where she co-founded the global network SheWrites.com and helped expand The OpEd Project, she completed her coach training. She currently works with leaders, experts, writers, and some of the nation’s most innovative thinkers, helping those with powerful insights put their best public selves forward in the service of their brightest ideas. Siegel is the author of two books, Sisterhood, Interrupted (Palgrave Macmillan) and Only Child (Harmony/Random House) and a TEDx speaker. A dynamic speaker with a personal approach, Siegel delivers keynotes and teaches workshops nationwide. Learn more at www.girlmeetsvoice.com and www.deborahsiegelphd.com.
Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Green-light Your Book, What’s Your Book?, and How to Sell Your Memoir, and well as the co-author with Linda Joy Myers of two books on memoir: Breaking Ground on Your Memoir and The Magic of Memoir. Brooke is the former Executive Editor of Seal Press and currently sits on the boards of the Independent Book Publishers Association, the Bay Area Book Festival, and the National Association of Memoir Writers. She writes a monthly column for Publishers Weekly and blogs actively on Huffington Post Books and SheWrites.com. Learn more about Brooke at brookewarner.com.
$39 for all 6 sessions (all sessions will be recorded and available to all registrants)