Discover Classes. Earn Rewards.
Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop is unfortunately unavailable

Thankfully we have 1 other Memoir Writing Class for you to choose from. Check our top choice below or see all classes for more options.

Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop

at Gotham Writers' Workshop - Hell's Kitchen

Course Details
Start Date:

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
If you're enrolled in an upcoming date, this simply means that date has now sold out.

Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan
555 8th Ave 14th Flr. Ste 1402
Between W 37th & W 38th Streets
New York, New York 10018
Price includes $25 registration fee.
Purchase Options
Save to WishList

191 people saved this class

Book Private Class
Class Level: Beginner
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 14

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this memoir writing class:

Every life holds many tales. Whether your life is wildly unconventional or relatively normal, there’s bound to be something fascinating about it. That’s why the contemporary memoir—everyday people telling their stories—has become such a popular phenomenon. A memoir covers an aspect of a life, whether it’s a short piece about, say, a bicycle ride with a friend, or a book about, say, your entire childhood.

To make readers care, your memoir must be told with the finesse of fiction. Here you will learn techniques for focusing your life stories, as well as well as writing craft and how to market your work.

Whether you seek to write essay-length pieces or a book, we’ll show you how to best tell the stories from your life.

This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of memoir craft and gets you writing a short memoir (or two) or a book. 

Course components:

  • Lectures
  • Writing exercises
  • Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

Memoir I is for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals.

Each week a new topic is explored through lecture and writing exercise. The topics covered in this course include:

  • Introduction to Memoir – The contemporary memoir defined. Short and long memoirs. Finding the “who cares?” in your story. Focusing on an aspect of your life. Types of memoirs—coming of age, adversity, relationship, career, travel.
  • Mining Your Memory – How “true” must it be? Researching your past. The balance of being “actor” and “observer.” Not using memoir as therapy. Facing the truth.
  • Character – Thinking of real people as characters. Making characters dimensional through desire and contrasts. Creating character profiles. Showing vs. Telling. Methods for showing characters.
  • Plot – Finding a major dramatic question. Shaping a beginning, middle, and end. The difference between short and long plots. Pros and cons of outlining.
  • Description – Using the senses. Specificity. Techniques for creativity. Finding the right words. Merging description with point of view.
  • Dialogue – The importance of scene. Turning real life conversations into dialogue. Quotation marks and tags. Stage directions. Summarized dialogue. Characterization through dialogue. Subtext.
  • Point of View/Voice – Point of view defined. First person and other memoir alternatives. Voice defined. Exploration of the various types of voice. Tips for finding your voice.
  • Setting/Pacing – Creating setting through time, place, and weather. Description of setting. Mood and emotion of setting. How to manipulate time through pacing. Flashbacks.
  • Theme – Theme defined. Types of theme. Weaving theme into a story.
  • Revision – Exploration of the various stages of revision.
  • The Business – Proper format for manuscripts. How to target publishing houses, literary magazines, and agents. How to send your work out. Query letters.

Note: Content may vary slightly among individual classes.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy

Please note, this provider has a temporary policy for COVID-19 related cancellations which is as follows: 

We offer refunds if students withdraw two or more days before a class begins. This comes with a $50 fee, but we will likely waive this for COVID-19 related situations.   


Original cancellation policy (non-COVID-19)

All Classes (except One-day and Zoom Intensives and Write-Ins):

  • For a refund or credit, contact us two business days or more before your class starts. You can either choose to hold a full credit with us good for one year on other Gotham classes OR you can opt for a refund less a $25 administrative fee and your $25 registration fee ($50 total).
  • If you need to withdraw after your class has started (or one business day before it starts), you won’t receive a refund, but you’re welcome to a Gotham credit less the price of Week 1 and your $25 registration fee, but we need to hear from you two business days or more before Week 2 meets for that to happen. After that point, no credits are available.

One-day and Zoom Intensives:

  • You may reschedule a One-day or Zoom Intensive one time, if you notify us before the class begins. After that first reschedule, there is a $25 rescheduling fee.
  • If you notify us two business days or more before your class begins, rescheduling is free. If you notify us less than two business days before your class begins, there is a $25 rescheduling fee. If you don’t notify us until after your class begins, we cannot reschedule you.
  • You may get a refund (minus a $50 fee) if you notify us two business days or more before your class begins.


  • If you withdraw two hours or more before it begins, you’re welcome to a full credit good for one year toward another Write-In. No refunds are available.
  • If you simply don’t show up and don’t notify us in advance, you forfeit your money.

A few more things:

  • Credits are valid for one year and cannot be changed into refunds down the road.
  • Simply not attending class or notifying the instructor does not mean you've officially withdrawn.
  • Some exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis for medical emergencies with a doctor's note.
  • Refunds take up to six weeks to process.

Please understand, we can't issue a refund after classes have started, even if you miss your first class. Similarly, we can't offer you a credit one day before your second class or after that. We understand that other obligations get in the way of attending class, but these policies allow us to get other interested writers into class early enough to have a good experience, and this allows us to offer our classes at a reasonable price.

Important Notes:

  • Students are allowed to join a class in the second week.
  • Only those who pay the tuition in full can be guaranteed a place in class.
  • Class dates and times may be subject to change. A substitute may be assigned or make-up classes added to the end of the term.
  • Auditing and the recording of classes are not allowed.
  • For all classes, students receive a record of payment and registration.
  • Gotham reserves the right to remove any student at our discretion.
  • Gotham does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, or marital status.
  • Our courses are not intended to provide instruction that will result in the student's acquisition of occupational skills.


Google Map

Gotham Writers' Workshop

All classes at this location

Start Dates (0)

This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!

Similar Classes

Benefits of Booking Through CourseHorse

Booking is safe. When you book with us your details are protected by a secure connection.
Lowest price guaranteed. Classes on CourseHorse are never marked up.
This class will earn you 4700 points. Points give you money off your next class!
Questions about this class?
Get help now from a knowledge expert!
Questions & Answers (2)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Question from Theresa L.
Since it's still Summer and vacations/family reunions/conferences are scheduled, how many absences are allowed in the ten week period?
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi Theresa! The school recommends that if you're going to miss more than two, to consider looking at a different class or date. Thanks!
Answer from Theresa L.
Thank you for replying!
Show all 2 answers
Question from Anonymous
Who is teaching this particular course?
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi there! There are different instructors for each class schedule, but for July 17 class, the instructor is Kim Liao. Hope this helps!

Reviews of Classes at Gotham Writers' Workshop (743)

(743 Reviews)
Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop
Reviewed by Anonymous on 9/8/2021
Was a good group of students but aside from critiquing each other’s work there was no syllabus, no teaching, no exercises. I stopped attending. Did not deliver what I expected. I did appreciate the feedback I received from the other students.
Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop
Reviewed by Anonymous on 12/26/2019
Carmen Bugan is a generous teacher who knows how to help us unlock what we need to get started on writing a memoir. Her extensive knowledge and experience broadened the form of memoir and what it can become. I feel so lucky to have taken her class. The exercises in class were designed to illustrate each class's focus, and while they were not always easy to carry out, they were all good learning experiences. The workshop aspect was also helpful for our group, and Dr. Bugan's feedback, both spoken and in written comments on submissions, helped me move forward in form, and her high standards helped me to write better. A great deal of enthusiasm was generated in this class by Dr. Bugan, which made it a wonderful exploration for us all.
Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop
Reviewed by Cheryl Dolinger Brown on 12/21/2019
This is one of the best courses I have taken as an adult. Carmen Bugan is an excellent instructor. Memoir one with Carmen is a course for beginning writers as well as those with experience. Through reading, short lectures, in-class exercises, weekly 500 word essays using the techniques studied in class, and two longer workshopped memoir pieces we begin to explore our spine and theme, use of description, dialogue, point of view, time, and other techniques. The students all do their homework and learn from each other as well. Carmen is caring, respectful, direct and encouraging to everyone. She reads everything we write and gets to know our individual voices. She organizes each class with clear instruction, in-class written exercises and homework assignments that teach the various techniques. Her assignments are always thought provoking. She creates a safe environment for all of the students to express themselves and grow. To repeat, Carmen is full of passion and is an outstanding teacher. It was a tremendous amount of work, but I signed up for it and learned so much. My daughter asked why I voluntarily agreed to do so much homework and it was easy to answer: I was ready to learn to write and I found the right teacher.
Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop
Reviewed by Peter B. on 3/21/2018
Carmen is AMAZING
Memoir Writing Level 1: 10-Week Workshop
Reviewed by Anonymous on 12/18/2017
lectures were incredibly simplistic and the critiques were superficial. i enjoyed the group but learned very little.

School: Gotham Writers' Workshop

Gotham Writers' Workshop

Want to take this class?

Save to Wish List
Booking this class for a group? Find great private group events here

1 Top Choice

Just Write

at Gotham Writers' Workshop - Hell's Kitchen 555 8th Ave 14th Flr. Ste 1402, New York, New York 10018

Do you find it hard to get yourself in a chair to write for a good stretch of time? If so, you’re not alone. That’s the beauty of Just Write. You gather with a group of writers once a week for three hours and you…just write. You work on a project of your choosing, which can be any type of writing—novel, script, memoir, stand-up routine, etc....

Wednesday Oct 12th, 10am - 1pm Eastern Time

  (6 sessions)

6 sessions