Eng. 551: Special Topics in Composition
Creative Nonfiction: Crafting Short Memoir
Summer LWP Open Institute
3 Graduate Credits
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.