Friday, June 27, 2008

Memoir 2008 Formal Writing Assignments


In this memoir piece, you will write about someone in your life, someone who has had an impact on you. The focal point, then, is writing about people, character, and using characterization.

To prepare to write the piece:

• To prepare to write the piece:

• Prewrite
• Read the chapter on “Writing about People” in FACT AND ARTIFACT
• Draft out (750 words)
• For examples of what we are looking for, read from IN BRIEF:
o “A Missing Star,” “Good Workers,” “Twigs,” and/or “A Sense of Wonder.”
• Meet with your response group.
• Post to your blog for comments. Be ready to comment on others blogs and to receive comments on your own. Take those comments and use them to help you revise.
• Final draft due on Thursday, July 10th at the end of class.

Using Place to Make a Scene

For this memoir piece, you will create a story in which place (or setting) plays a major role. You can draw on the writing we did during the writing marathon to develop your ideas. To help you write this piece:

• Prewrite, then read the chapter in Fact and Artifact on “Writing about Place.”
• Read the following essays in the book In Brief as examples of stories that use place in significant ways: “Dream Houses,” “Sink or Swim,” “Low Tide at Four,” and/or “Infectious Reading.”
• Post a draft to your blog for comments.
• Comment on your classmates’ blogs. Use the blogs to help each other. Make substantial comments that will help others’ improve their writing. Commenting on others’ blogs is part of your participation grade.
• Bring 4-5 copies of your draft for your writing response group. Make sure you circle all use of the senses. There should be lots of circles! Put your readers there with you.
• Final draft of this assignment due Tuesday, July 15th at the end of class.

Focus on an object

To write this memoir piece:

 Go through your journal and freewrite for memories
 Do listing exercise again, if needed
 Pick a focal point for your memoir – an object from your past
 The book In Brief offers many examples of memoir using objects as different focal points or organizing principles. Here are some examples of how to use objects as focal points: “Come Eat”, “Swimming with Canoes”, “Bread,” and “Asparagus.”
 Pick one moment when that object was important, or one key moment and pick an object in the scene
 Stay in that moment. Short memoir shouldn’t cover more time than 5 minutes to one night, one afternoon, one small moment of time.
 Draft out (750 words)
 Share with writing group
 Conference with instructors
 Post to blog. Get comments. Give comments.
 Revise, revise, revise!
 Do final editing. Due on Friday, July 17th at the end of class.

Memoir 2008 Course Books

Course Texts


On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal by Judith Kitchen & Mary P. Jones
Fact and Artifact: Writing Nonfiction by Lynn Bloom

Optional: Choose 1

The Color of Water by James McBride
Guarding the Moon: A Mother’s First Year by Francesca Lia Block
American Childhood by Annie Dillard
Teacher Man by Frank McCourt

Memoir 2008 Course Description

Eng. 551: Special Topics in Composition
Creative Nonfiction: Crafting Short Memoir

Summer LWP Open Institute
3 Graduate Credits
$300 Fee

Course Description

Memoir. Personal narrative. Narrative Nonfiction. Personal essay. Short memoir. We can call what we will be writing in this class by any of these names, but they all share one central element – a first person narrator who reflects on what Barrie Jean Borich calls “the actual” in his or her world. She writes:

“We begin a work of creative nonfiction not with the imaginary but with the actually, with what actually is or actually was, or what actually happened. From this point we might move in any direction, but the actual is our touchstone.”

Short memoir tries to tell what actually is or was; however, it is not journalism. Short memoir differs from journalism in that it uses elements of fiction and poetry – characterization, setting, symbolism, figurative language and more – to tell a story. We will help you improve your short memoir pieces and encourage you to find readers and identify markets for your work.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Comments on Amy's Presentation

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

First Writing Prompt

Question: How do you feel about everyone in class reading your writing as it will be projected right here in a few minutes?

To leave your comment, click on the "comment" link below and then type into the editing window marked "leave your comment here."

Hit "Publish your comment," and you're done!

Summer Institute 2008 Student Blogs

Welcome to the Blog of the 2008 Summer Institute!

Here you will find the blog addresses of your fellow participants:

* Chris
* Cynthia
* Debbie
* Elizabeth
* Jenny
* Lauren
* Leslee
* Stephanie
* Tara
* Tom

and others to come......