Over at the Center for Fiction, I’m offering a class in Autobiographical Fiction. The idea behind it is approximately that there are many more approaches to writing fiction using your life than most people consider. Some people think writing autobiographical fiction is as easy as writing down what happened and changing the names—and sometimes, it is—but we will examine many approaches to making use of the writer’s lived experience and history in a work of fiction. Topics will include the ethics and methods for writing about the living; borrowing formally from memoir, diaries and letters; researching your own life and memories; researching and using family histories. We’ll read selections from a mix of autobiographical fiction—James Baldwin, Ben Lerner, Sheila Heti, Colette, George Sand, Chris Kraus, Edmund White, Maxine Hong Kingston, Renata Adler—and workshop work from students.
We’ll read examples of different approaches, and there will be writing prompts based on each approach to help the writer develop some new material–and methods they can use afterward, wherever they go.
That class is full. Interest was such that I’m also offering this online version, for those not in the New York City area.
The course will be 12 weeks, beginning this Thursday, with 6 sessions, two weeks between. There would be weekly prompts and readings, an essay from me on the topic, and workshop work would go up on a private password protected class blog–a blog called Generation Atari, a science fiction blog of mine I never used, that I have decided to take out for a spin as my online writing school.
All student workshop work would be taken down at student request at the end of the class so there won’t be any concerns about the security of the work. Or, it can remain, complete with class comments.
There would be one to two pieces up for workshop each session. Stories would go up a week before they are critiqued. I will read and comment on all your exercises. On workshopped pieces, you would get a workshop letter from me and comments also, within the manuscript. Cost is 450.00. If you’re into it, write to me, and we can discuss it if is right for you. You can pay via Square or Paypal. There are still some spaces left.
Here below, the pre-homework for the class, an expansion of my column over at Center for Fiction. They are 5 research tasks to do either in the first two weeks, or over the 12 weeks, to help build the ground for what you will write.