This “Writing the Family” workshop will address key questions: Why should anyone care about your family’s story? What makes your writing worthy of a reader’s valuable time? With the always-increasing demands on everyone’s time, energy, and attention, writers must remember: readers do not owe you anything. How can you shape and craft your family story to ensure that it hooks, readers and holds them fast until the last word? We will also delve into the ethical challenges of family-writing. How much truth is too much truth? How do you write about family and friends while respecting their autonomy and privacy? Narrative tends to be more powerful when candid and honest, but how does a writer decide where to draw the curtain and protect intimate details from the eyes of the reader? How does a writer make these decisions – to serve the book while also respecting others’ privacy? Above craft and ethics, comes the most important question: what are you getting out of pursuing this project?
Structure: The morning will be devoted to a mix of lecture, discussion, and writing exercises and the afternoon to critique of work in progress. During discussion, there will be opportunity to share your own relevant writing challenges and concerns.
Bring: 1) pen and paper; 2) two double-spaced pages that you’re willing to share with the group (ideally from the front of your story but if you use pages from elsewhere, aim for a standalone scene that requires minimal explanation).
Angie Abdou is the best-selling author of seven books. Regardless of genre, her work finds its inspiration in her own family. Angie’s first novel, The Bone Cage, was a finalist on CBC’s Canada Reads. Her most recent book, a memoir called Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, hit the Canadian bestseller list and the #1 spot on Amazon Canada’s bestselling hockey books. Booklist declared it a “first rate memoir.” Angie Abdou is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University.