Fiction & Memoir: Finding Your Personal Narrative

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    Fiction & Memoir: Finding Your Personal Narrative

    “Writers are readers who go karaoke. After years of hearing the voices of masters in the poems and stories we read, we begin, at first timidly, humming along; then singing along, mimicking the tunes and lyrics…Soon enough the voice we hear sounds like our own.” Thomas Lynch

    Since the beginning of time artists have put masks on to free themselves up from who they are and to help them handle difficult material while entertaining their audience. At the Writers Studio we talk about the Persona Narrator and we teach writing through focusing on how great writers have fashioned a persona to help them tell their stories, a concept that is equally useful in poetry and memoir. We will draw excerpts from a range of writers likeLucia Berlin, Junot Diaz, Ross Gray, Ben Marcus, Grace Paley, Zadie Smith or Mathew Zapruder to illustrate how they were able to use their personas to be irreverent, to take chances with language and to alter the facts when it made the story more engaging. We believe the persona provides the key lesson on how you can remain at play even when tackling emotionally charged material. This special class will be an extraordinary introduction to our core methodology where students will see how we use a granular approach to craft and technique to teach writing. Time permitting, we also hope to have an opportunity to let students experiment with a persona through some in-class writing exercises.

     

    “…the narrator sits in your sensibility as a character. The voice of that character can offer the reader a sensual moment-to-moment experience….each third person voice also is absolutely distinctive. All writing, in fact, has a narrative personality – your cereal box this morning had a personality. All writing has within it a persona identifiable by diction, vocabulary, syntax. You don’t analyze it. You respond to it directly.” Robert Olen Butler