In this last of a series of blog posts suggesting you try some assignments detailed in a syllabus for a university-level memoir writing course, I recommend you follow the syllabus’s direction to read other people’s memoirs along with at least one biography. By reading about people’s lives—accounts both by the people themselves and by their biographers—you can learn a lot about structuring a life story, observe effective ways to write description and dialogue, identify interesting topics to pursue and determine how much detail to include in your own memoir.
After you’ve read other memoirs and you’ve completed the writing assignments outlined here in earlier blog posts, try writing what the syllabus calls “reflection papers.” The idea is to reflect upon one of the memoirs you’ve read or upon your own writing so far in the “class.”
The course’s final assignment is to put together a portfolio of your best writing for the class. This is not necessary, since you’re not actually taking the course. However, the portfolio is to be accompanied by a two- or three-page introduction addressing themes that surfaced in your writing, insights you’ve picked up about yourself, specific ways your writing improved and what you now “believe about a writer’s ability to truthfully convey his or her experiences through words.” I hope you’ve enjoyed taking this virtual college memoir writing course!