The Nuts & Bolts of Memoir Online Class

The Nuts & Bolts of Memoir
A Ten-Week Online Class
September 16 – November 25, 2019

Online Class Tuition: $725
Early Registration Tuition: $650 – Register before August 23, 2019

This comprehensive, ten-week course introduces students to the fundamentals of personal narrative and the craft of shaping life experience into vivid, unforgettable stories. You will be guided through the memoir-writing process step by step, exploring the questions we all face on this path of creative self-discovery. How do we frame our life stories? Where do we begin and where do we end? What emotional or spiritual quest drives your memoir? What is your responsibility to living persons when telling a personal story? And, what is the meaning of your story, and how do you elevate subjective experience to encompass the mythic and universal?

Designed for writers of all levels, this popular course has proved highly effective in helping aspiring memoirists achieve their creative goals, whether for publication or individual interest. Exploring your personal story – peeling back the layers to unveil the truth – is also a path to self-discovery; providing insight that proves beneficial off the page as well as on it. In my experience, when you tell the truth, your story changes. And when your story changes, your life is transformed.

Things you will learn in The Nuts & Bolts of Memoir:

• How to utilize the language of emotion
• How to identify the central question driving your story
• How to distinguish situation from story
• Why fearlessness, shamelessness, and recklessness are critical to writing a first draft
• How to write about people in our lives without violating their anonymity
• How to organize the moments of our story into a coherent whole
• How even painful experience can be illuminated and redeemed through memoir

Online Class Modules:

  • In Lesson One, “Creating the I,” you will learn how to turn yourself into a protagonist on the page
  • In Lesson Two, “Creating a Frame,” you will learn to sketch the arc of your memoir, where it begins and where it ends.
  • In Lesson Three, you will focus on “Finding the Moments” in your story, the essential building blocks of the narrative
  • In Lesson Four, you will practice “Creating a Scene” that is both powerful and cohesive
  • In Lesson Five, you come to the challenge of “Creating Dialogue” in real-life writing
  • In Lesson Six, “Creating Momentum” teaches you to keep your reader turning pages
  • In Lesson Seven, “Real Life Characters,” you explore how to write about people you know without trespassing boundaries
  • In Lesson Eight, you will explore “The Engine of Desire” – the question that is driving your memoir The why behind your desire to tell this story
  • In Lesson Nine, you will investigate the “The Power of Perception” as a memoirist’s primary requirement for recreating lived experience in writing (how you see is how you write)
  • Finally, in Lesson Ten, Mark explains “Why Intention Matters,” strengthening your experience of writing memoir, and focusing on what you want to create

I hope you can join me for this powerful, foundational online class. If you’ve thought about putting your story on paper or are in the midst of a memoir needing guidance, The Nuts & Bolts of Memoir will give you the tools, focus, and direction needed to bring your story to life. Please note, that enrollment is limited.

Online Class Tuition: $725
Early Registration Tuition: $650 – Register on or before August 23, 2019


How the online class works:

This online class uses Google Groups as the platform for posting weekly lessons and responses. The week before the start of the class, you will receive an invitation to join the Google Group. Using Google Groups allows the class to read, comment and support each other’s work in a positive and nurturing environment.

Every Monday during the ten-week session, the assignment for the week will be posted to the Google Group. Students post their work to the Group by the following Saturday evening. Assignments should be no more than 1,000 words.

On Sunday and Monday, Mark responds to each student, commenting and giving notes on their writing and progress. Students are also invited to correspond with him personally with questions on the theme, lessons, or the memoir writing process.

Three one-hour group video conferences will be held during the class to provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and talk to Mark face-to-face about the lessons and writing process. While attendance is not mandatory, it is recommended. These will be scheduled once the class begins.


Here’s what former students have to say about working with Mark:

“Brace yourself if you work with Mark! You might have to leave your comfort zone and learn more about yourself than you had expected. The assignments are like roadmaps leading you to where you need to go. And then, when you have worked through them and you think you have come up with all the wisdom you were able to find deep within yourself, Mark will come up with more questions for you in his response and you will get to dig even deeper. I think this is the greatest gift Mark offers. He LISTENS. I mean, he really listens. And he gets is. He knows just when and how to ask the questions that will crack you open! Can’t wait for the next class!”

~Saskia Nienna Steidel, Germany

“Mark is an insightful teacher whose skill with the written word is outmatched only by his skill with the human soul. I did not know him before this course, but the feedback I received was more like something from an old dear friend – clear, kind and direct. His ability to see into the heart of the story and the emotions behind it were uncanny I could not recommend it highly enough.”

~Pascale Kavanaugh, engineer

“Mark has a laser beam like ability to identify the core of what you’re writing about, or where you’re writing from, and shines his light to encourage you to go there. He inspires you to go beneath the surface and tell the truest story that your heart yearns to express.”

~Jifa Wind, architect


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