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June 18, 2015 until 22 Jun 2015
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM

Yale University

Family Stories: Priscilla Gilman

In this mixed genre class, open to both non-fiction and fiction writers, we will explore the complex challenges of writing about families. What are the ethics, risks, and rewards of writing about our parents, our children, our siblings, our romantic partners, or of telling imaginative family stories? When does it make sense to fictionalize and when is memoir a more effective approach? How do we make our personal lives and/or intimate family stories relevant and compelling to larger audiences? What role can family stories play in commentary on political, social, or cultural events? What is the relationship between memory and history, facts and truth? We’ll discuss dialogue and description, voice and characterization, point of view, scene building, plot, and structure, and students will learn how to craft personal essays, magazine pieces, newspaper op-eds, short stories, and book-length manuscripts. Equal attention will be paid to the emotional/psychological and the structural/formal challenges of telling family stories.

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