The Evolution of Memoir

4 Mondays:
March 4, March 11, March 18, March 24

1-hour class (3-4pm PT | 6-7pm ET) followed by
1 hour of generative writing (4-5pm PT | 7-8pm ET)
Cost: $299

Evolution of Memoir Reading Group

4 Mondays:
April 15, April 22, April 29, May 6

Join us after The Evolution of Memoir to read four of the books on the reading list for this course. 
Cost: $100 add-on 

Full experience: $399

Includes Evolution of Memoir course plus
Reading Group (8 classes total)

++ These are online courses and will be recorded! ++

The Evolution of Memoir

4 Mondays: March 4, 11, 18, 25 at 3pm PT | 6pm ET
1-hour class followed by 1 hour of generative writing

For years, Brooke and Linda Joy have been teaching traditional memoir structures—linear, framed, and braided. Those are still wonderful options for most memoirists. And . . . if you’ve been reading and paying attention to memoir writing, you know that we’re living through an evolution in memoir writing. This course aims to show you some of what that evolution entails—new techniques and ways to tell your story. This course is not aiming to have you start over with a new structure, or to suggest that a fragmented story structure is best. Rather, we want to support you to find new ways to shape your material, and to find evermore ways to give yourself permission to tell your story in new forms and new ways, even if you use these techniques within a more traditional narrative arc. 

 This four-week class, co-taught by memoir teachers Linda Joy Myers (National Association of Memoir Writers) and Brooke Warner (She Writes Press), has its finger on the pulse of the latest forms, styles, and trends in memoir-writing. Because as the genre evolves, so does the way we think about our stories and write our stories.

This 4-week intensive will be followed by a share and feedback circle (details below). The course includes four sessions and four hours of generative writing:

3-4pm PT | 6-7pm ET — Class
4-5pm PT | 7-8pm ET — Writing

In these 4 weeks, we’ll explore:

Week 1 (March 4): Elevating the Form
Week 2 (March 11): Breaking the Time-Space Continuum
Week 3 (March 18): New and Evolving Techniques
Week 4 (March 25): The Meaning Below the Meaning Below the Meaning

Brooke and Linda Joy strive to keep our content fresh and relevant and always with an eye toward what our students need to know and want to learn. This session we’ll be using a number of books to guide our teaching and conversation, and recommend you read (or listen to) as many of these titles as you can in preparation for class: 

Bluets, by Maggie Nelson
In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado
Breathe, by Imani Perry
You Could Make This Place Beautiful, by Maggie Smith
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong
What Comes Next and How to Like It, by Abigail Thomas



There are no special requirements of writing level to join any of our classes. If you are an aspiring writer or already deep into your revision, or even if you’re published and working on your next book, we welcome you.  

• Sessions are on Zoom.
• Each session is 2 hours—1-hour lecture/Q&A and 1 hour of generative writing.
• All sessions are recorded.

$299

Week 1 - March 4

Elevating the Form

Form is the structure of your book, but it’s more than that. It also pertains to the container that holds your story. It’s living and breathing alongside your story, beckoning you to listen. How does your story want to be told? In short vignettes or essays? In long prose chapters? In snippets of poetry and poignant moments of meaning? In this hour, we’ll be diving into form and how it holds your story and its impact on your reader. We’ll be looking at our reading list to share poetry-forward memoirs; memoirs structured as letters; memoirs that blend first-, second-, and third-person narrative voices; and more. We’ll also be helping you to identify what form your current story might be in and to consider how and where you might introduce new concepts and ideas to your work in progress.

Week 2 - March 11

Breaking the Time-Space Continuum

How do we break free from the binds of chronology, and from the necessary timeline tethers that support the reader to know where they are. In this class, we’ll explore the fragmented memoir, and how to move fluidly through space and time without losing your reader. This involves understanding narration, and controlling who’s telling the story—you, the meta-narrator, all knowing from the present moment; you, the reflective narrator making sense of your experience from a closer distance to the action; or you, the embodied character, the “I” of the story who’s reexperiencing the action of the story as it unfolds for your reader. You can use all three of these narrative techniques to great effect, and break free from the self-imposed confines of the exclusively plot-driven tale.

Week 3 - March 18

New and Evolving Techniques

Oooh, you’re in for a treat with this one because we’re seeing a lot of new memoir-writing techniques in modern memoir. A short list of what we’ll be showing you in class includes: meta-narration (also known as omniscient in fiction); intentional repetition; using lists to create moments of meaning; using photographs to paint a picture of the past, into which you enter and explore; one-line chapters and playing with poetry; blurring the genre lines, as in autofiction and experimental points of view; and more. Knowing what you have access to in your memoir-writing leads to more experimentation, more freedom, and more fun. Our aim in this course is to turn you on to what others are doing in this play space, and to invite you expand your own horizons.

Week 4 - March 24

The Meaning Below the Meaning Below the Meaning

We’ve long taught that there’s nothing more important than meaning when it comes to memoir writing. Meaning is the heart of memoir. The number of ways to infuse meaning into your writing, lucky for you, only continues to grow. You can do this through conveying to your reader how your story fits into a broader social/political context. You can do this through a recounting of history and your place in it. You can do this through exploring all the ways that your story is a universal story rather than a singular story. You can do this through getting curious about the ideas, messages, and concepts that lie within and under and in the atmosphere or your story. We’re diving into meaning in this class—and mining for all the layers of meaning we can pull up from the depths, as we must urge ourselves to dive deep to find the hidden pearls.

++ These are online courses and will be recorded! ++

Listen to Brooke and Linda Joy in conversation about this course, why we’re jazzed to teach it, and a bit about the memoirs we chose to center as references for The Evolution of Memoir and the Reading Group that follows. (Video is 11 minutes.)

Evolution of Memoir Reading Group

4 Mondays: April 15, April 22, April 29, May 6

After The Evolution of Memoir ends, we invite you to read and revel in four of the books on our reading list for class. Here we will unpack how the authors of these four books—You Could Make This Place Beautiful, In the Dream House, What Comes Next and How to Like It, and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous—showcase the craft and techniques taught in The Evolution of Memoir Course.

You Could Make This Place Beautiful, by Maggie Smith
In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado
What Comes Next and How to Like It, by Abigail Thomas
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, by Ocean Vuong

This experience supports memoirists to read like writers, to take in what another memoirist is doing and to learn from them on the page. When other writers inspire you, that’s an opportunity to take your own writing and craft to the next level—and that’s what we aim to do in these courses that dive deep into a given book to show what a writer is doing well, and how you might elevate your own writing through a careful read and study of another person’s work. 



There are no special requirements of writing level to join any of our classes. If you are an aspiring writer or already deep into your revision, or even if you’re published and working on your next book, we welcome you.  

• Sessions are on Zoom
• 1-hour classes 
• Classes are recorded
• Please read or listen to the books on the book list to best benefit from these reading groups

Evolution of Memoir Reading Group is a $100 add-on

YOUR TEACHERS

Linda Joy Myers is the president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers, and the author of two award-winning memoirs Don’t Call Me Mother and Song of the Plains. Her three books, The Power of Memoir—How to Write Your Healing Story, Becoming Whole, and Journey of Memoir, guide writers to create a powerful, truthful, and universal story. Through NAMW, Linda Joy offers classes and coaching, and enjoys sharing her writing insights on Substack at The Magic of Memoir, The Magic of Fiction. She’s also the author of a prize-winning debut novel, The Forger of Marseille. Together with Brooke Warner, she teaches memoir intensives here and at WriteYourMemoirinSixMonths.com.

Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of Write On, Sisters!, Green-Light Your Book, What’s Your Book?, and three books on memoir, including How to Sell Your Memoir, and two books co-authored with Linda Joy Myers: Breaking Ground on Your Memoir and The Magic of Memoir. Brooke has been enthusiastically dedicated to writing her Substack newsletter, Writerly Things, for the past several months, where she’s posting about publishing and memoir writing. Her life’s purpose is to support writers to give voice to their stories, and to become creative entrepreneurs and thought leaders, a message conveyed in her TEDx talk, “Green-Light Revolution.” Together with Linda Joy Myers, she teaches memoir intensives here and at WriteYourMemoirinSixMonths.com.