Helping Writers to Rise and Thrive

Memoir Toolkit: Writing Scenes

Fridays, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; January 14, 21, 28, 2022. (NOTE: This workshop takes place via Zoom.)
Jacqueline Burt Cote
Three sessions, $139 (Limited to seven students)

You go out for coffee and your friend launches into a chronicling of the event that changed his life. “And then this happened. And then this happened… And then this happened.” Ugh. Told this way, who wants to hear it? Not you. You’re getting bored, listening to him drone on. Telling, telling, telling. With you sitting there, captive.

And you probably wouldn’t want to read it, either.

Telling a compelling story, true or not, calls for powerful scenes to move the piece forward. Your reader needs to see, hear, feel and experience what’s happening in a setting they can inhabit in their imagination.

As a writer and storyteller, with a lifetime of experiences, how do you select the best scenes for your memoir? How do you construct them in a compelling way for your reader? What makes a good scene in memoir anyway?

Bestselling author, editor, teacher and memoir ghostwriter Jacqueline Burt Cote will teach you in this mini-workshop. Over the course of three weeks, Jacque will deconstruct scenes in existing memoirs, illuminating what makes them work and how they serve the piece. During class and at home (optional) you will try your hand at the same task, using the samples as models. Writers will be encouraged to share their work each week, with constructive and instructive feedback around the table. The goal is to supply you with the tools and the practice to build scenes in your work.

Jacque’s personal essays and other writings have been published in print and online in Salon, the Huffington Post, Parents, Parenting, American Baby, Bon Appetit, Details,, The Stir and many others. She is an editor and regular contributor to and has appeared on Anderson Cooper 360, Good Morning America, HuffPost Live and more. Jacque teaches Writing Your Memoir at the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio.

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