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We’ll focus on the essential elements of the first ten pages of a memoir. What makes a reader (or editor!) want to keep reading? How do you quickly convey the essence of the story and grab the reader’s attention? What’s the difference between a prologue, a preface, and a first chapter? We will examine the first pages of popular and critically acclaimed memoirs and do some writing activities designed to help you with your memoir’s opening.
Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of Writing Is My Drink: A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (And a Guide to How You Can Too) (Simon & Schuster, 2013) and How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over (Crown, 2008). Nestor has taught the memoir certificate course for the University of Washington’s Professional & Continuing Education program since 2006.