Scenes, Stakes, Story, and Suspense
with Chris Daley in Los Feliz
7:30 to 9:30 pm
July 24 to September 11, 2019
A sense of story is the crucial element that distinguishes a memoir from a simple, chronological reporting of personal events. This eight-week workshop will help you determine the best narrative arc for your memoir, organizing your memories in ways that create tension and momentum. In doing so, you’ll establish reader involvement—through the use of scenes—and increase reader investment—through the use of stakes (why the narrator cares about these events) and suspense (why the reader cares about these events). We will consider techniques of both memoir and fiction to make the most of character, conflict, and the complexity of emotional truth. We will read and discuss selected craft essays and models as well as workshop memoir excerpts at each meeting.
This class will take place in Los Feliz, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.
Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 for new students; $380 for returning students.
(Payment plans available to returning students.)
Chris Daley is the Director of Writing Workshops Los Angeles. She received her Ph.D. in English from the City University of New York Graduate Center, and she is currently Lecturer in Writing at the California Institute of Technology. Chris is also a founder of editing collective WordCraft LA. Her writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, FORTH Magazine, Angels Flight • literary west, DUM DUM Zine, Front Porch Journal, Cease, Cows, Los Angeles Review of Books, and various academic collections. An essay originally published in The Collagist was included in the W.W. Norton anthology, Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction. Her photography has appeared in Redivider, Gesture Literary Journal, Bartleby Snopes, and Print Oriented Bastards. Chris previously served as a judge for the fiction and first fiction awards of the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. Work on her novel in progress An Astonishing Force for Betterment has been supported by the Ucross Foundation, the Yefe Nof California Writing Residency, and the Studios of Key West. Email Chris at email@example.com.
“I am a high school teacher who prioritizes community building and equitable recognition of students. My values often leave me dissatisfied as a student. In contrast, in the submission seminar—an online class of all places—Chris Daley created a culture in which all of our questions were worthy and everyone was a source of insight. Even as a novice, I felt safe to reveal my needs, and I left assured in my path. I would recommend Chris to any writing student.” —Brian Lin
“Chris Daley knows what is going on. After taking several classes at UCLA, I was fed up with the epic commute and the exorbitant prices. I was thrilled to find WWLA and specifically Chris Daley. I had the good fortune of taking a creative nonfiction class with her. The readings she assigned were instrumental in forming a new and deeper understanding of the craft. Her critiques of work in class are honest and thoughtful and she delivers them with kid gloves. I am looking forward to taking more classes with Chris and trying out other teachers at WWLA. I am so happy I found this incredible resource for writers in Los Angeles.” —Hope Moore
“I love Chris Daley and her class. She’s warm and highly intelligent, thoughtful and thought provoking. I started her class two sessions ago with no previous writing experience and only an idea. As I now enter my third session I am close to completing my first long form composition, a one man show. She helped to give form and guidance to my fledgling thoughts and motivated without judgment, all while fostering a supportive atmosphere that is often filled with laughter.” —Gregory Thirloway
“I entered Chris Daley‘s Nonfiction I class knowing that I wanted to work on a memoir I’d been thinking about for a long time, but feeling at a bit of a loss about where to start. The reading assignments Chris selected were incredibly helpful—just learning about how other writers have approached the genre was enough to get me started. By the end of the eight weeks, I had a good sense of my strengths and areas of focus for improving my work, thanks to Chris’s instruction and feedback. I also met some great people and had fun discussing writerly things with other writerly types. I’m looking forward to the next workshop.” —Sara Campbell