Writing one’s life story can be a gloriously sloppy process. Everyone has a different “first hurdle” to overcome. For some the story feels too big, for others writing is an emotional process, and for others it’s about claiming (or reclaiming) creativity after a long hiatus.
In this 5-day workshop, best-selling author Hope Edelman breaks down the process into a series of eight manageable steps for starting a new work or strengthening a memoir-in-progress. From identifying story structure through inserting detail and description, developing three-dimensional characters, and balancing narration and reflection, you’ll learn about the basic craft components of memoir and put them all into practice.
Through a combination of short class exercises, discussion of published works, and workshops of students’ writing, you will learn:
- What a memoir is and, equally important, what it isn’t—an essay, an autobiography, or an opportunity to confess or blame
- How to break down the process of writing a book into small, manageable steps
- The legal and ethical considerations of writing about real people and events
- All the ways to tell the story of a life: a look at honesty, point of view, story ownership, and the mystery of time
- Various ways to find audiences for your work.
Walk away with a far stronger grasp of what a memoir is and how to write one, as well as what readers want and expect from personal narratives. Return home with about five to 10 pages of new work and an outline for more!
Hope Edelman, MA
Author, writing instructor, grief and loss coach
Hope Edelman is the internationally best-selling author of Motherless Daughters, Motherless Mothers, and the memoir The Possibility of Everything. Her therapy practice is centered on helping other women heal from the lifelong effects of early parent loss.
Her work has inspired more than 40 Motherless Daughters groups and annual luncheons worldwide, and she has developed and co-led Motherless Daughters Retreats with author and therapist Claire Bidwell Smith since 2016.
Hope holds a master’s degree in nonfiction writing from the University of Iowa, and has been teaching memoir writing for more than 20 years, most recently in the master’s of fine arts program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Hope is also a Martha Beck-trained life coach specializing in grief and loss.
Her writing has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and anthologies ranging from the New York Times to Real Simple to CNN.com. She is an Alumni Fellow at the University of Iowa and an inductee in the Medill Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University, where she received her undergraduate journalism degree.
Thanks to the close attention paid to the story beneath each story, you’ll benefit in multiple ways from this combined writing workshop and lab for self-discovery.
A former editor, Hope has been teaching nonfiction workshops for more than two decades and is currently writing her eighth work of nonfiction. Benefit from her accumulated insights and best practices as a writer, editor, and instructor with more than thirty years of experience in her craft.
Push through stagnation and start shaping a story from the raw material of life experience.
Things to Know
Download a sample schedule.
All levels are welcome, but this workshop is best-suited to those with some writing experience, including attendance at a prior workshop or years of journaling.
Things To Bring
A notebook and pens and/or a laptop if that’s how you prefer to write.
Special Interest To
Anyone who has a story to tell, which is to say—pretty much everyone.
About 1440 Multiversity
Beautifully nestled in the California redwoods near Santa Cruz, our 75-acre campus is within easy reach of San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
1440 Multiversity is a place to spend time engaging some of life’s most meaningful personal questions and to enjoy, restore, and reenergize yourself as you do it.
You’ll find new energy through immersion learning—setting aside daily urgencies and dedicating uninterrupted time to focus on important, but often elusive, priorities. Our unique collaboration with world-class faculty coupled with an original, inspirational curriculum and magnificent grounds make this a place like no other. Add in fresh, redwood-scented air, delicious and healthy food, deep reflection, fun exercise, and good sleep and you’ve pretty much captured what you’ll experience here.
At 1440 Multiversity, you’ll find a wide range of accommodations to meet your preferences and budget. All of our rooms have been thoughtfully designed to provide comfort, promote reflection, and foster connection with others.
Accommodation rates include more than just the bed you sleep in.
Per-person per-night rates include:
- nourishing locally sourced, seasonal meals
- daily meditation and yoga classes
- non-ticketed evening events
- use of all facilities, including the Fitness Center, steam rooms, and infinity-edge hot tub.
Guests also enjoy access to woodland trails, cafés, and shops.