Where to Begin: A Memoir Workshop

Alysia Abbott's picture
Alysia Abbott
Week 7: July 21 to July 26
ORIENTATION: July 21, 6:00-7:30 PM
WORKSHOP: July 22-26, 9am-12pm
Discipline: Nonfiction/Memoir
Open to All

On-site Housing Not Available
Workshop Description 

One of the hardest aspects of writing memoir is knowing where your story begins. Some memoirs begin with the meeting of the writers’ parents. Others start at the end of the story. And others begin with a central question posed by a traumatic event. Of course, with a first draft, it’s more important to actually get started than to find the perfect beginning. With that in mind, this workshop will focus on helping students locate the different doorways into their stories and how where they begin is an opportunity to define that story’s voice, setting, characters and scope. We’ll read and discuss the beginnings of various published works and experiment with different approaches through daily writing exercises. This class is suitable for generating new material, or for revising the beginning of an existing work. Class discussions will assume a fundamental understanding of craft including scene, summary, detail and description, but no prior workshop experience is necessary.



Alysia Abbott is the author of Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, which has been translated into French, Spanish, Polish, and Potruguese. Her work can be found in The Boston Globe, The New York Times, OUT, TriQuarterly, Vogue and elsewhere. Fairyland was a New York Times Editor’s Pick and was awarded the ALA Stonewall Award, the Prix Heroine de Madame Figaro, and was a finalist for the Good Reads Choice Award. She instructs the Memoir Incubator Program at GrubStreet in Boston.