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Writing Your Story

Join acclaimed memoirist Joyce Maynard and discover how to write personal true stories that your readers will never forget.
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Writing Your Story is rated 4.2 out of 5 by 38.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from I have learned a lot and changed my perspective on Purchased many courses over the years. Cannot stop learning
Date published: 2022-06-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not a Great Courses course I will refrain from making comments about the presenter's personal life even though she seemingly enjoyed discussing it with her audience, which I found distracting. I have not read any of Ms. Maynard's books but she obviously has an audience and must have talent in this literary genre. Even though the inherent subject matter of memoir writing is personal, this does not translate into a writer being able to communicate the literary devices a memoirist uses to someone else. I really wish The Teaching Company would engage another writer (or a series of writers) with more academic qualifications to construct another course on memoir writing.
Date published: 2022-05-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Buyer Beware The good: I find the presenter engaging and practical; I appreciate the format of engagement with a live audience and I think many courses would benefit from this. The not-as-good: Shame on me for assuming that all courses would have ~30-minute length lectures. Some of these are as short as 3 minutes and do indeed average 12 minutes over the 26 total. In fairness, this is stated at the top of the lecture list, so I just need to be more diligent if I make future purchases. The brevity of these modules became even more problematic as there were apparently technical problems and about half the time instead of auto-advancing, it would repeat the previous lecture. So I was always having to intervene to get to new material. Even more annoying when you are having to intervene every 5-12 minutes between "lectures" instead of every 30-45 minutes as expected.
Date published: 2022-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course! This is an excellent course if you want to learn "how" to write your story. How to "show" emotion instead of "writing" the emotion. Much more powerful.
Date published: 2022-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A successful author shares her experience This is a fabulous course. I enjoyed the first hand perspective from both the instructor and the course participants. The directness of the instructor didn't detract from her encouragement; it enhanced it. The format is different from standard Great Courses. Basically, one writing seminar was broken into short focused lectures.I was fine with that. It was something new. I wasn't looking for a lecture on authors; I was looking for a course on how to tell my story taught by someone who has done it repeatedly and very, very well. This is it.
Date published: 2022-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Honesty is the best policy Your insights about the writing process, including being open and not holding anything back, have been inspiring and I can't wait to get started on my memoir(s).
Date published: 2022-03-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too Technical This course was very technical, too technical in some parts, for me, an older person. I also am more interested in memoir writing and thought this course wasn't the best suited for that.
Date published: 2022-02-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging, inspiring and authentic Writing "her" story has been Joyce Maynard's life. She is the rare author who is able to articulate process in a practical way, and the even more rare teacher who is able to relate to their students. Beyond Maynard's engaging manner, this interactive format held my interest as it intertwines practical guidelines with the students' experience and questions. There is quite an effective "how to" series of episodes where Maynard works individually with several students. Many teachers are happy to say they teach because they "can't do" - this is teaching from an experienced practioner. It is rare for a teacher to be as open and vulnerable as Maynard; I really felt as if I was taking part in this discussion.
Date published: 2021-11-30
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Overview

Discover how to translate your life into captivating, resonant stories with Writing Your Story, by acclaimed memoirist Joyce Maynard. In 26 lessons with the feel of a friendly, collaborative writing workshop, you'll explore how to identify the right stories to tell; examine tips and tricks with language, dialogue, and description; and find inspiration for everything from cultivating a writing practice to handling rejection.

About

Joyce Maynard

My job here is to give you permission to tell your story.

INSTITUTION

CreativeLive

A native of New Hampshire, Joyce Maynard began publishing her stories in magazines when she was thirteen years old. She first came to national attention with the publication of her New York Times cover story, “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back on Life”, in 1972, when she was a freshman at Yale. Since then, she has been a reporter and columnist for The New York Times, a syndicated newspaper columnist whose “Domestic Affairs” column appeared in over fifty papers nationwide, a regular contributor to NPR and national magazines including Vogue, The New York Times Magazine, and many more. She is a longtime performer with The Moth. 

Maynard is the author of seventeen books, including the novel To Die For and the best-selling memoir, At Home in the World—translated into sixteen languages. Her novel, To Die For, was adapted for the screen by Buck Henry for a film directed by Gus Van Sant, in which Joyce can be seen in the role of Nicole Kidman’s lawyer. Her novel Labor Day was adapted and directed by Jason Reitman for a film starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, to whom Joyce offered instruction for making the pie that appeared in a crucial scene in the film.

The mother of three grown children, Maynard runs workshops in memoir at her home in Lafayette California. In 2002 she founded The Lake Atitlan Writing Workshop in San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala, where she hosts a weeklong workshop in personal storytelling every winter.

She is a fellow of The MacDowell Colony and Yaddo.

By This Expert

Writing Your Story
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Writing Your Story

Trailer

What Happens When We Keep Secrets?

01: What Happens When We Keep Secrets?

8 min
Name Your Obsessions

02: Name Your Obsessions

13 min
Stick to Your Story

03: Stick to Your Story

17 min
Identify Your Journey

04: Identify Your Journey

6 min
Take Your Story Apart

05: Take Your Story Apart

16 min
The Landing Place

06: The Landing Place

9 min
The Honesty Question

07: The Honesty Question

5 min
What's the Worst That Can Happen?

08: What's the Worst That Can Happen?

7 min
Descriptive versus Interpretive Language

09: Descriptive versus Interpretive Language

11 min
Diagramming the Sentence

10: Diagramming the Sentence

9 min
The Importance of Economy

11: The Importance of Economy

10 min
Dialogue and Rhythm

12: Dialogue and Rhythm

9 min
Six Common Mistakes Writers Make

13: Six Common Mistakes Writers Make

8 min
The Paragraph

14: The Paragraph

3 min
Building the Arc

15: Building the Arc

3 min
The Test of a Good Memoir

16: The Test of a Good Memoir

17 min
The Container

17: The Container

4 min
Two Containers from Scratch

18: Two Containers from Scratch

30 min
Developing Your Container

19: Developing Your Container

18 min
Dissecting a Good Container Essay

20: Dissecting a Good Container Essay

30 min
The Writing Life

21: The Writing Life

3 min
Creating a Writing Practice

22: Creating a Writing Practice

22 min
What Gets in Your Way?

23: What Gets in Your Way?

15 min
The Not-Writing Process

24: The Not-Writing Process

11 min
Criticism and Rejection

25: Criticism and Rejection

4 min
What Happens When We Tell Our Truth?

26: What Happens When We Tell Our Truth?

32 min