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Inside Out: Writing the Interior Self in Narrative Non-Fiction

Mondays, 4 weeks
May 2
May 23
6:00 - 8:00 PM CST
Jane Marcellus
Online via Zoom
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One of the most challenging aspects of writing narrative nonfiction is what might be called “interiority”—showing the reader not only what happened during a scene or event, but what it felt like to be you in those moments.

To learn to go beyond simply telling the reader (e.g. “I felt sad” or “I felt angry”), this four-week class will explore other strategies for putting your interior self on the page. These include world building and characterization (since the ways we describe our surroundings and others reflect our interior state), as well as voice and the challenges of reflection. Craft readings include selections from Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir and Sven Birkerts’ The Art of Time in Memoir. For examples, we will read work by Kiese Laymon, Carmen Maria Machado, Natasha Tretheway and others.

We’ll also generate work in class. Participants will leave with strategies for deepening works in progress and new projects.

Jane Marcellus’s essays have appeared in the Washington Post,Gettysburg Review, Sycamore Review, Hippocampus, Chapter 16 and elsewhere. In 2018, she received the New Ohio Review Editor’s Prize for non-fiction. Best American Essays listed her work as “Notable” in 2018, 2019, and 2020. A former professor at MTSU, she now works as a freelance writer and editor. She can be found at janemarcellus.com.

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