Memoir Writing Level 1: Two Day Intensive

at Gotham Writers' Workshop - Online

Course Details
$190 5 seats left
Start Date:

Sat, May 15, 1:00pm - May 22, 4:00pm Eastern Time (2 sessions)

Price includes $25 registration fee, paid once per term.
Purchase Options
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 14
Teacher: Cullen Thomas

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.

A memoir is similar to a personal essay; both incorporate elements from the writer’s life. But a personal essay focuses more on the viewpoint, and a memoir focuses more on the story.

The NYC One-day Intensives are seven-hour crash courses, giving you brief lectures that hit the high-points and writing exercises that let you immediately try your hand at what you’ve learned. Arrive in the morning with a desire to learn; leave in the evening as a more knowledgeable writer.

Intensives are open for writers of any level. Students must be 18 years or older.

Students may reschedule a One-day Intensive one time.

Memoir Intensive topics include:
  • The contemporary memoir defined
  • Character
  • Plot
  • Description
  • Getting published

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy

Note: This provider has a temporary cancellation 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 Coronavirus situations.   


Original cancellation policy (non-COVID-19):

All Classes (except One-days 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 Intensives
You may reschedule a One-day Intensive one time, if you notify us before the class begins.

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.
Start Dates (1)
Start Date Time Teacher # Sessions Price
1:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern Time Cullen Thomas 2 $190
This course consists of multiple sessions, view schedule for sessions.
Sat, May 22 1:00pm - 4:00pm Eastern Time Cullen Thomas

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Questions & Answers (5)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Question from Alice
Hello, I'm trying to determine if the personal essay or memoir one-day intensive is the better format for me. Let's say I wanted to write a story about job loss after 20+ years at one company. I want to tell the story of what happened, but also reflect on the learnings and themes from that experience. Is it a memoir or personal essay? Thank you!
Answer from Shannon M. Verified Student
Hi Alice - here’s what the site has to say about the differences between those writing styles: “A memoir is similar to a personal essay; both incorporate elements from the writer’s life. But a personal essay focuses more on the viewpoint, and a memoir focuses more on the story.” So...if you are focusing on what you learned from the experience rather than the plot points along the way, my guess is personal essay may be more your speed. Good luck and I hope this helps!
Question from lauventria r.
I am interested in taking Memoir Writing Level 1: One day intensive on 11/10 my question is ... I am interested in this class as I am interested in writing my personal memoirs of my life.Will this class help me do that or is geared towards people who want to publish. Thanks.
Answer from Georgia C. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi there! People come into these classes in all sorts of different situations. Some people have no idea what they want their play to be about, they just know they want to write a play. Some people come in with a first draft done, some with just a few scenes. It's all over the spectrum. Wherever you are in the process, you will make progress in the class.
Answer from Georgia C. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
There are almost entirely about the craft of writing. That is what the focus will be on. There will be one short lecture at the end of the class about publishing, but the bulk of the class is about writing and honing that writing craft.
Show all 2 answers
Question from Katherine S.
Hello, who is teaching Sept 14th intensive?
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hello, Katherine! The school does not have a teacher set yet. They are still gathering teacher availabilities and should have that up in the coming weeks. Hope this helps!
Question from anonymous
Who is the teacher?
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
HI! The April 7 section of the class is going to be taught by Jon Reiner. The school is still working on placing an instructor for the May 11 class.
Question from Maia B.
Who teaches this class? I cannot find the teacher's name.
Answer from Chermalyn P. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi, Maia! At the time we listed the schedules, the instructors' names were not yet available. We've updated the information and you should be able to see it in the class details page.
View all 5 questions

Reviews of Classes at Gotham Writers' Workshop (737)

(737 Reviews)
Memoir Writing Level 1: Two Day Intensive
Reviewed by Virginia S. on 8/8/2020
Excellent class. I learned so much about the basics of memoir writing . West was very organized, clear and interesting!
Memoir Writing Level 1: Two Day Intensive
Reviewed by Shannon M. on 11/10/2019
Practical “mining your memory” and formatting skills provided with writing exercises throughout to apply new concepts and hone existing abilities.
Memoir Writing Level 1: Two Day Intensive
Reviewed by Anonymous on 7/29/2019
This was not a beginner class at all, but the quality of the material was fantastic. I did find the instruction a bit boring and hard to follow but luckily I had taken writing classes before so I was able to "hang on" throughout. I wouldn't recommend to someone who has never had any formal experience with writing.
Memoir Writing Level 1: Two Day Intensive
Reviewed by Judith D. on 7/28/2019
The instructor Cullen Thomas was extremely knowledgable about the subject of memoir writing. I was also impressed that he remembered everyone's name after an initial introduction.I will definitely explore other curses available in memoir writing.
Memoir Writing Level 1: Two Day Intensive
Reviewed by LinDa S. on 6/29/2019
It was very insightful
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