Memoir Writing in Prison with Allison Langer and Exchange for Change

Summer schedule: June 19-August 7, 2018

Student inmates will get an introduction to MEMOIR WRITING at the Dade Country Correctional Institute.

Week 1: Students learn basic tips for writing true stories. How to start a story. (Like starting an essay with WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE (grounding the reader). Click here for a full list of writing tips. The students will write from a short prompt + share their writing. The Mailbox by Phyllis Reilly and The Last Phone Call by Amy Wright will be read for homework and discussed in class the following week. 

Week 2: Like What? Discuss details. For homework, students will take home The Mailbox by Phyllis Reilly.

Week 3: OMIT needless words. One clear idea per sentence. Students will discuss The Mailbox by Phyllis Reilly. Discussion will revolve around how Reilly starts The Mailbox and uses details to draw us in. (Ground the reader, get in the boat + float down the river.) Then students will write using the techniques learned in The Mailbox.  

Week 4: Story Spine. (situation v story) ...and then what happened, and then what happened, until one day...

Week 5: Scene. Show AND tell. Homework is to read The Last Phone Call by Amy Wright.

Week 6: Why now? Why is this story important NOW? Using the The Last Phone Call, discuss the difference between situation + story.

Week 7: What are the stakes? Why do we care?

Week 8: What is the story about?  What have you come to say? What have you learned? How has the narrator changed? Refer back to the stories read in class.