The Literary Craft of Memoir Writing: Webinar Online

Re-blogged; originally Posted on September 9, 2014 by Theo Nestor

“What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened. For that, the power of a writing imagination is required. As V.S. Pritchett once said of the genre, ‘It’s all in the art. You get no credit for living.’”—Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story

Hi Readers,10557729_10152627184298281_3741942112926934022_o

I’m offering a new session of the popular Memoir Essentials Webinar this fall. Some readers on the east coast requested a time that didn’t start so late in the evening for them so this session will start at 4pm Pacific Time every Sunday in October. [For Jakarta readers, that is  6:00 AM the following day, on Monday mornings.]  Please find all the details below.




Next Memoir Essentials Starts Sunday, October 5th
[Jakarta: Monday, October 6th]

“What happened to the writer is not what matters; what matters is the large sense that the writer is able to make of what happened. For that, the power of a writing imagination is required. As V.S. Pritchett once said of the genre, ‘It’s all in the art. You get no credit for living.’”—Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story

Want to use the rest of your summer getting serious about your memoir? Enroll in my Memoir Essentials course, a four-class webinar focused on the fundamentals of memoir writing that also offers generative writing tasks designed to take you deeper into your story. We will discuss the essential elements of memoir writing—how to create scenes that move your story forward, how to use summary and reflection effectively, how to narrow your topic, and how to structure your narrative. This class will also include numerous material-generating activities that will help you hone in on the story you need to tell and develop the voice in which to tell it.

Register here: (You will receive a confirmation email with instructions for entering the webinar after clicking the “Buy Now” link below and making your payment via Pay Pal or credit card. If you prefer to pay by check, email me at ).

Enrollment in Memoir Essentials: (4) 1.5 hour-long classes that meet on October 5, 12, 19, and 26 at 4pm Pacific Time. [Jakarta: October 6, 13, 20, 27 at 6am]

Registration fee is via Pay Pal:$149 at Theo’s Blog

Course outline:

  • First meeting: Introduction to the memoir genre; understanding story structure and how to develop your memoir’s narrative arc, narrator transformation and the hero’s journey.1461738_10151880642993650_474680010_n
  • Second meeting: The three narrative modes of memoir: Scene, Summary, and Musing; the essentials of scene writing; the use of time in a memoir; how to write a scene that sizzles.
  • Third meeting: Developing the emotional preoccupation of your memoir; creating a narrator and a narrative readers care about; developing the universal elements of your story.
  • Fourth meeting: Finding your voice as a writer; letting your personality show up on the page; obsessions; special memberships; creating a narrator who serves as your story’s “central consciousness.”

How does it work? During our meetings, I will be giving lectures on the various memoir topics listed in the course outline above and fielding questions from you on these topics. I will also be guiding you through in-class memoir writing exercises and giving you optional assignments to work on outside of class. Each week you’ll read assigned readings from our texts and short writing assignments.

The logistics: Shortly after you enroll, you’ll be sent a confirmation email with a link to the register on our class’ GoToWebinar page. You will attend our class meetings over the phone or online through . As long as you can dial in, you’ll be able to hear the class discussion. If you are online, you’ll also be able to see me and the class blackboard. If you miss a class (or want to listen to it again), the recordings with audio and the class blackboard will be available for you to listen to at your convenience.

What if I miss a meeting? The day after the class meeting, you’ll receive a link to a recording of the meeting, which you can listen to at anytime.

What if I want to ask a question before I register? Email me at

Can I pay by check or money order? Yes, email me at for instructions.

writing is my drinkWho’s the instructor?  Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008), which was selected by Kirkus Reviews as a 2008 Top Pick for Reading Groups and as a Target “Breakout Book.” An award-winning instructor, Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006 and also teaches at Richard Hugo House in Seattle. Nestor also produces events for writers such as the Wild Mountain Memoir Retreat, Bird by Bird & Beyond, and the Black Mesa Writers’ Intensive, featuring talks by literary leaders such as Anne Lamott, Cheryl Strayed, Julia Cameron, and Natalie Goldberg. She lives in Seattle with her family and their cat, Rory. You can follow her on Facebook here and on Twitter @theopnestor. Read testimonials from coaching clients here.

When do we meet? Our class meetings will be four consecutive Wednesdays: October 5, 12, 19, and 26 from 4:oo PDT.  [Jakarta: October 6, 13, 20, 27 at 6am]

How do I enroll? To enroll in the course, click on the “Buy Now” button for the course below to pay either through Pay Pal or with a credit card. After your payment has been received, you’ll receive a course confirmation with further instructions. If you prefer to pay by check or money order, email me at

Can I get a refund? Yes, until October 6th at 6pm Pacific Time (24 hours after our first meeting), your registration fee is 100 percent refundable. To get a refund, send a request for a refund to After October 5th, the webinar registration fee becomes non-refundable.


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