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How to Write a Full-Length Memoir

with Joyce Maynard

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Introduction to Workshop

  •   07 Be a Filmmaker


Class duration: 5h 8m

See all 25 lessons
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    4 student reviews

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About The Class

Transform Your Complex Life into a Compelling Narrative

Bundle this class with How To Write a Personal Essay and save!

You don’t have to be a famous celebrity to have a story worth sharing. And you don’t need to have a long life full of significant events and intriguing encounters. To write a compelling memoir, you just need to highlight your most unique, interesting or transformative experiences—the moments in your life that really matter.

Master memoirist and bestselling author Joyce Maynard is the ideal person to show you how to take your life story and transform it into a fascinating book that gets published and finds an audience.

You’ll begin by identifying the major themes of your life and which one you want to explore. Then you’ll figure out who your characters are and their motivations, what the conflict of the story is, and how it will ultimately be resolved. Maynard will use both her own books and the work of students in the live audience to illustrate the writing process, giving you both the tools and the inspiration you need to translate your life into a fascinating memoir.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Figure out where and how to begin and not feel overwhelmed.
  • Identify the difference between “What happened?” and “What did it mean?”
  • Eliminate the parts of your story that don’t belong and focus on the big emotional moments that changed you.
  • Write about the small events that support the overarching story.
  • Maintain your point of view and not lose sight of your real story.
  • Stop worrying about hurting or alienating someone in your life or yourself.
  • End your memoir—when your own life isn’t over yet.

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Introduction to Workshop

  2. 02

    But….My Life Isn’t That Exciting

  3. 03

    Great Memoirs & Why they Sell

  4. 04

    At Home In the World

  5. 05

    Memory & Research

  6. 06

    Point of Entry for Your Story

  7. 07

    Be a Filmmaker

  8. 08

    The Landing Place for Your Story

  9. 09

    Connect with Your Audience - Human Stories

  10. 10

    Respect the Reader's Intelligence

  11. 11

    Identifying Your Theme

  12. 12

    The Ariel View

  13. 13

    What is My Story About?

  14. 14

    When You Aren't Used to be Being Centre of Attention

  15. 15

    Be Lady Godiva

  16. 16

    How I Wrote My Memoir

  17. 17

    Step One: Not Writing

  18. 18

    The Big Idea

  19. 19

    Point of Entry : Aerial View

  20. 20

    Writing a Scene

  21. 21

    How to Show the Passing of Time in your Writing

  22. 22

    The More Happens, the Less that Needs to be Said

  23. 23

    You're Not Always the Hero

  24. 24

    The Internal Landing Place

  25. 25



Meet Your Expert

Joyce Maynard

Joyce Maynard first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life”, in 1972, when she was a freshman at Yale. ... read more

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100% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Michelle Foulia

    Michelle Foulia

    November 2019

    I've been working on my memoir for over a year and was close to the end of the first draft. This amazing class is filled with so much wisdom and excellent teaching. I have watched all the videos back to back, made plenty of notes and loved every moment. I am really grateful I bought this class before moving any further with my memoir as sadly I definitely need to start from scratch. As frustrating as that is, I am relieved it happened now and I can use all this knowledge in the rewrite. I also can't wait to read Joyce Maynard's books. Brilliant!

  • Chevaun Nel

    Chevaun Nel

    October 2018

    Joyce is amazing, I got so much out of this class, thank you so much :)

  • Stella Vassilieva

    Stella Vassilieva

    August 2019

    It's a great course! Very recommended!

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