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Writing Workshops

How to Start and Revise Your Memoir or Series of Personal Essays via Accompanied Writing with David McLoghlin


8 Sessions

In stock

Once a week Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT May 30 to July 25, 2024

Online via Zoom

This is a class for those writers who are beginning or revising a project, whether memoir, personal essays, a travel book or some other room in the capacious genre known as creative nonfiction. We will focus on in-class exercises and some homework to help you to generate new work, or revise a work in progress. Each class will be divided between craft and workshop, the latter being a re-imagined space where you can bring whatever you need to the table. In other words, whether you share something new or an outline, your workshop slot can be dedicated to opening the engine of your process among supportive colleagues who will help you to generate new ideas and move towards the next step of the process. Writers and artists are some of the only professionals to work in isolation. This class stresses community, and will help you to build connections with other writers: hopefully “writing buddies” with whom you can share work long after our eight weeks have come to an end. Class also comprises “office hours” where you can meet with me to discuss any aspect of your writing process that is on your mind. This is an especially important part of the class for me, as I very much enjoy assisting writers in teasing out the essential core of the story that they need to tell.

Course Outline

This class will not require excessive reading (select reading will be assigned: there is no obligation to buy books). Homework will take the form of short writing assignments to generate new work, or edit your work (15 minutes a day, per Joan Bolker). Class time will be divided between creative writing workshop and learning about and then practicing important craft elements. These elements of craft will include:

  • Using the writing philosophy of Gail Sher and Joan Bolker: specifically using the (free-)writing process itself to progressively home in on the story you want to tell, and / or assist you in freeing you from writing anxiety.
  • Finding a structure that works for you.
  • Mapping plot points, obligatory scenes and characters
  • Learning how to hook the reader and make them want to keep reading
  • Identifying the “story within the story,” or through-line / central narrative thread.
  • Developing the voice of the narrator (per Vivian Gornick)
  • Working with leitmotifs, by implementing recurring images, or thematic elements
  • Working with time in memoir (per Sven Birkerts).

My teaching is influenced by books like:

  • The Anti-Racist Workshop by Felicia Rose Chavez
  • The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne
  • Body Work: The Radical Power of Personal Narrative by Melissa Febos
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
  • The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John Mcphee
  • The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
  • One Continuous Mistake by Gail Sher
  • Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day by Joan Bolker
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Led by

  • david portrait1web - David McLoghlin

    David McLoghlin

    David McLoghlin

    David McLoghlin is a prize-winning poet and writer of memoir and personal essay. His books are Waiting for Saint Brendan and Other Poems and Santiago Sketches. His third book, Crash Centre, was published in May 2024 by Salmon Poetry, one of Ireland’s most international and innovative poetry presses. Apart from a major bursary (grant) for memoir from Ireland’s Arts Council, and a personal essay published in the anthology Others Will Enter the Gates: Immigrant Poets on Poetry, Influences, and Writing in America (Black Lawrence Press), he has published personal essays, short stories and memoir extracts in the Stinging Fly, Poetry Ireland Review, New Hibernia Review, and other journals. An essay on being mentored by poet Sharon Olds is forthcoming in This Glistening Verb (University of Michigan Press) as part of their “Under Discussion” series. A personal essay on the Irish writer Philip Casey was published in Distant Summers by Arlen House in January 2024. He is currently at work on a book about his grandfather, the golf architect, Eddie Hackett, widely considered “the Father of Irish Golf Design.” In November 2023, as a complete novice he played one of his grandfather’s designs, Connemara Golf Links, and is writing an immersion piece for Golfer’s Journal in the USA. He has previously taught memoir for The Center for Fiction, and teaches creative writing in Ireland with a number of organizations, including Writers in Schools and the National Mentoring Scheme. While living in New York between 2010 and 2020 he was Resident Writer at Hunts Point Alliance for Children in the South Bronx, and an NYU Teaching Fellow at Coler Specialty Hospital; and is a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship Recipient (2023).