Express Your Life Experiences

Online Creative Writing Course: Essentials of Memoir Writing

No matter what your life experiences, you can turn them into a great memoir. This 8-week course will show you how.

A memoir is a true story, written by someone who was part of it. Memoirs dominate bestseller lists because readers love them.

By writing a memoir, you can preserve your memories and share your feelings and experiences with others.

In this course, you'll learn how to...

•   find ideas and material for your memoir.

•   recreate your memories on the page in full color.

•   give your memoir a meaningful structure and focus.

•   make your memoir stand out.

Since the course is taught by e-mail, you can learn from anywhere, studying when you have time in your schedule.

What you'll learn

Lesson 1: Introduction to Memoir Writing
  • What's a memoir?
  • Memoirs versus autobiography.
  • Types of memoirs.
  • Memoir topics and ideas.
  • What makes a memoir interesting.
Lesson 2: Focusing Your Memoir
  • How to make memoir-writing easier.
  • Exercises to generate ideas.
  • How to select the perfect topic.
  • How to make your life an endless source of writing material.
Lesson 3: Making It Unique
  • How to discover what's unique about your experience.
  • How to capture uniqueness on the page.
  • How to choose the right events to include.
  • How to choose the right details to include.
  • Setting and context.
  • How to use research to sharpen your memory.
Lesson 4: Making It Feel Like a Story
  • Options for structuring a memoir.
  • How to use story structure in a memoir.
  • How to use external and internal conflict.
  • How to keep the reader turning pages.
  • How to express theme.
Lesson 5: Using Scenes
  • The difference between summary and scene.
  • How to write your memoir in scenes.
  • How to choose the right scenes to show.
  • How to use summary and transitions.
  • How to deal with gaps in memory.
  • How to weave description into a scene.
Lesson 6: Voice and Perspective
  • How to let your personality shine through in your writing.
  • How to create intimacy with readers.
  • How to share your unique perspective.
  • How to avoid the trap of sentimentality.
Lesson 7: Writing About People
  • How to show character change.
  • Portrait memoirs.
  • How to describe people.
  • How to show people's character.
  • How to deal with ethical issues that may arise.
Lesson 8: Putting It All Together
  • How to create a master plan for your memoir.
  • How to find the perfect beginning.
  • How to write a satisfying ending.
  • How to divide a book-length memoir into chapters.

Bonus Lesson: Revising Your Memoir
  • How to come up with a great title.
  • How to revise your memoir.
  • Revision checklist.

Your teacher

Essentials of Memoir Writing is taught by Nancy Strauss, the Online Courses Director at Creative Writing Now. Nancy has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, where she has also taught creative and expository writing.

What you get in the course

Essentials of Memoir Writing includes:

•   eight e-mail lessons (one lesson a week for eight weeks. The first lesson will normally be sent to you within an hour after you confirm your course registration.)

•   weekly exercises included in the lessons

•   the chance to e-mail any questions about the lessons to a writing teacher.*

•   the chance to publish your writing on the class blog.

*Note: Please note that feedback on your writing assignments is not included in this course, which has been designed for self-study. While teachers will be available to answer general questions, they will not be able to read or comment on your memoir.

We guarantee the value of this course. If you change your mind any time during the first 20 days, you can ask for a refund.

Feedback on our courses

"I just want to say thank you for what you do. The lifelong dream of writing a book - well, for the first time ever, I feel hope. I have major cognitive deficits. Takes me twice as long. But the way you've written the Memoir Writing course? Wowwww! The exercises are just right for me, and I feel a little sense of mastery. And make me itch to write.

I've never had the training or the tools until now. I'm stunned and amazed how things start rising out of the ashes. One layer at a time. I really am excited!! Just wanted to share the joy and thank you. I'm writing EVERY day now. Never been able to focus like that. EVER!

I'm gonna keep chippin' away at it. All I can say is, for the first time in my life, I'm feeling a quiet joy about the learning and doing of it.

You guys are awesome, and I look forward to learning more of what you have to offer."
- Lisa Portelli

"Thank you for a course that builds writing skills with direction to excellence. Everything was included, possibly more than college courses can offer."
- Janett Lee Wawrzyniak

“I have found that after only 30 days, my writing is now more focused and it certainly flows easier. Sometimes now, I have to staunch the words pouring out of me, just so I can get some sleep. I no longer compare writing to bleeding a rock and for that alone Nancy, you have my absolute gratitude! Thank you so much for enabling me through your knowledge, to gift myself writing!”
– Jessica Clarke

“This course totally taught me how to be a writer. It was the best investment I have ever made.”
- Mary Jean Westerlund

“I find my writing flows better and ideas seem to flood into my brain. Since starting the course I have a new confidence when starting a piece of writing."
- Christine Henderson

“This has been the most productive, creative month I’ve had.”
- Nancy Pazner

"I really have learned many things that have changed the way I think about writing. I've taken many college, even Masters level writing courses, and must tell you that I have learned much more from your courses than I have from any of those classroom courses.

I work for a college, and often teach adjunct in technology and other subjects, I have even taught developmental writing. However, in discussions with my coworkers who teach beginning college level writing, and who are themselves creative writers, I have had positive input in our conversations about writing that they have never heard, or thought about writing. Ideas and techniques I have gotten from your courses. I have enjoyed the learning I have received, and look forward to taking future courses from you."
- Prue Prentice

"I saw that my writing had improved 100%."
- Jill Gairdner

"Must say I'm SOO glad I opted into this class, it's been eye-opening on many levels."
- Courtenay Schurman

"I want to thank you for all of your support and the wonderful writing lessons that you provide. I have learned so much about the craft of writing and I am finally doing what my heart desires."
- Dorothy Anderson

Sign up now

Essentials of Memoir Writing - Includes 8 e-mail lessons, weekly assignments, the chance to publish on the course blog, and the chance to ask a teacher general questions. Feedback on assignments is currently not available for this course.
Total price - $32

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions you may have about the course:

Q: How/when will I get my lessons?

A: Your lessons will be sent to you by email, once a week for eight weeks. Here's how it works: when you purchase the course, you will be asked for an email address. After your purchase is complete, you will normally receive the first lesson within one hour.

Q: How much time will I need to complete the assignments?

A: The lessons are specially designed so that you can read and absorb them quickly. And the writing assignments can also be completed fast. But as with most things, what you get out of this course depends on what you put into it. So we suggest making time to revise your weekly assignments and do some additional writing. Ideally, try to schedule a regular time for your writing at least five days a week -- even if it is only ten minutes per day.

Q: Will I have to buy any books or additional materials?

A: There are no additional materials required for the course. The online format will also save you money versus an offline course, where you would have logistical expenses such as transportation, parking, childcare, and so on.

Q: What if I don't understand something in one of the lessons?

A: No worries. You can email us, and a teacher will answer your questions about the course.

Q: How do I get feedback on my writing assignments?

A: We currently do not offer a teacher feedback option for this course. However, you will have the chance to publish your fiction on the course blog, where other students might leave comments.

Q: How soon do I have to decide?

A: If you're really interested in taking this course, it is safer to sign up now while it's still open.

Q: What if I change my mind after I purchase the course?

A: No problem! You can request a refund any time in the first 20 days after you purchase the course. Just send us an email saying you've changed your mind, and we'll refund 100% of your payment. No hassle; no hard feelings. So you actually have nothing to lose by signing up for the course now.

Q: What if my question was not answered here?

A: Please just send us an e-mail, and we'll be delighted to answer all your questions.

Sign up now

Essentials of Memoir Writing - Includes 8 e-mail lessons, weekly assignments, the chance to publish on the course blog, and the chance to ask a teacher general questions. Feedback on assignments is currently not available for this course.
Total price - $32

P.S. Still not sure? Give it a test run. You have 20 days to decide if it's for you or ask for a refund.

Questions? Please contact us


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