This class is divided between lecture/discussion and writing exercises, and it is designed to help writers shape family stories into fictional or nonfictional narratives. We will discuss the best ways to identify “family legends” that make the richest material for written stories, novels, and essays. By reading excerpts from the work of published authors, we’ll examine several research techniques—traditional and nontraditional– that these writers use to mine the material of their lives, or the lives of their family members, in their fiction and nonfiction. We’ll also look at the different ways to shape family stories into engaging narratives. Finally, during the writing portion of this workshop, you will practice transforming a small fragment of a story from your family or town into an essay or short story.
From Fairy Tale to Literary Narrative: How to Transform Family Stories Into Fiction and Essays