New course: Memoir Basics

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Memoirs aren’t just a fancy word for ‘autobiography’—they mix facts and recounts with opinions and emotion. They’re a writer reflecting on an important part of their past from the present, explaining why it was significant to them, and (sometimes) showing the lessons they learned from it. 

In this course, we introduce memoir writing and highlight how it's different to similar genres. The first lesson covers general features found in memoirs, while subsequent lessons focus on those features in more detail, such as using memories, feelings, judgements, explanations, and themes within a narrative.

Lessons in the course:

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What narrative text features do we cover?

The Memoir course examines some of the key features of the genre, such as writing in first person, embellishing recounts with reflective emotions and opinions, and weaving themes into a narrative. Each lesson uses a range of memoirs to demonstrate approaches. For example, Lesson 2 shows a number of different ways that memory can be used in storytelling.

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The focus of these lessons is to use these techniques to enhance your storytelling and create drama. 

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Do you write about yourself in the Memoir lessons?

It’s up to the writer, though we expect that class teachers may want to have a say in this!

In the introduction to each Memoir lesson, you’re asked to consider three options:

  • write something true about your life 
  • make something up about your life, or
  • imagine someone else’s life.

If you choose to write about your own life, you’re encouraged to write safely and consider what you want to share.

Who is this course for?

This course has been flagged for Middle Years but higher grade levels should be able to find elements and techniques to consider in their writing. 

Example snippet (from Lesson 1: What’s in a memoir?)

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Example model response 

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Overall

This course is a great way to reflect on reflective writing, with tips and techniques to enhance personal storytelling.

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