“Memory Bones: Structuring the Literary Memoir” with M.M. Adjarian

Runtime: 2:56:14           Original Class Date: 5/29/2021          Class Handout: Worksheet 1 Worksheet 2

Every memoir offers glimpses into the complex world and consciousness of another human being. But how can you take those husks of experience we call memory and transform them into a compelling narrative?

The impulse to share our experiences with others is universal. But for a story to have “legs,” it must possess an internal anatomy that arises organically rather than artificially. So how do you craft the bones your memoir needs to not only stand up to reader scrutiny but genuinely stand out?

In this video, you will learn:

  • Why A to Z chronology doesn’t suit all narratives
  • How form is like “skin” and how to choose/create the best one for your “bones”
  • The does and don’ts of backstory and flashback
  • The importance of scene-craft and sectioning
  • Structuring strategies (such as storyboarding and “plotting the big W”)
  • Why tense matters
“Memory Bones: Structuring the Literary Memoir” with M.M. Adjarian RECORDING


M. M. AdjarianM. M. (Maude) Adjarian has published her essays, short fiction and poetry in such journals as the Baltimore ReviewGrub StreetVerdadSouth 85, The Serving House JournalPifGravelGlint and Crack the Spine, among others. A senior non-fiction book reviewer at Kirkus, her articles have also appeared in Arts+Culture TexasBitch MagazineTribeza-Austin and the Dallas Voice. Currently, she is at work on a family memoir provisionally titled This Life That Binds.