Writing and Editing Childhood Memoirs

Writing and Editing Childhood Memoirs with Carolyn Redl

So you want to write about your childhood memories or someone has asked you to edit a childhood memoir. What do you need to know? This six-hour seminar provides an introduction to memoir writing and editing. The seminar will be a mix of conversational learning and hands-on training and practice of a variety of memoir writing techniques.

At the end of this interactive seminar, participants will have answers to the following questions, and more:

  • What is a memoir? How do I get started writing my memoir?
  • Of what relevance are the journalist’s questions Who? What? When? Where? and Why? to the memoirist?
  • How do I write the first sentence and paragraph? How do I edit these?
  • What is the importance of setting in my memoir?
  • What is my narrative perspective and who is the audience?
  • How do I establish tone and mood in my memoir?
  • How do I introduce characters, that is, alive or deceased individuals, in my memoir and respect their privacy?
  • How do I select and add events and make transitions from one anecdote to the next?
  • What is the place of dialogue in memoir?
  • How do I pull all the events of the chapter together? How does theme operate overall in memoir?
  • How do I edit the draft of the first chapter in my memoir?

Seminar outline

  • Overview of the purpose, contents, and setting of a memoir
  • Hands-on activities for getting started (using a memory prompter) and developing setting in the opener
  • Overview of the journalist’s 5 Ws and consideration of the implied reader
  • Hands-on activity to review and edit the opener and, bearing in mind the implied reader, add another experience to further develop the setting
  • Overview of characters, themes, tone, and conveyed emotions—humorous, satirical, lighthearted, serious, adventuresome
  • Hands-on activity to continue the chapter adding characters and events relevant to the theme(s) and emotional tone
  • Overview of use of dialogue and editing for constancy in tone and smooth transitions
  • Hands-on activity for self-editing and continuation of the chapter using dialogue
  • Overview of truth, concluding the chapter, and editing: (1) for content and organization, (2) for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and (3) line-by-line editing
  • Hands-on activity to conclude the chapter and self-edit

This workshop is ideal for editors at any level who are considering writing their own memoir or are editing memoirs. The workshop covers the basic essentials of memoir writing but does not purport in any way to suggest this is the formula or only way to write memoirs.

Each participant is requested to bring an item from their childhood (a picture, toy, or item of clothing, for example) to the seminar. Attendees should bring a pen, paper, and/or laptop with a word processing program—whatever they feel comfortable using to write.

At the end of the seminar, instructor Carolyn Redl will invite participants to submit up to 10 written or double-spaced typed pages for her personalized critique. If preferred, participants may also email their copy to her at

For over thirty years, Carolyn Redl has taught workshops on memoir writing for colleges, universities, and various organizations. She lives in Victoria and is the author of travel articles, short stories, and her own memoir, A Canadian Childhood.


Date & Time: Jan 26, 2019 10:00 AM to
Jan 26, 2019 05:00 PM
[America/Vancouver UTC -8]


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Location: BCIT Downtown Campus
Room 476
555 Seymour Street
Vancouver B.C.

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Registration Closes: Jan 24, 2019 11:59 PM

Event Coordinator:

EAC-BC Branch Coordinator
 Registration Fees
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Non-member Price
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Student affiliate Price
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