BWW Memoir Writing

Creative Non-fiction, or narrative non-fiction, despite being a somewhat recently-coined literary term, covers quite a broad spectrum of genres under the banner of creative writing. It can include, but is not limited to, memoir, biography, essays, articles, literary journalism, blogging and poetry. Typically, but not always, writers in this genre are present in their work.   

Writing non-fiction does not mean you must deny the compulsion to be creative. The craft of writing creative non-fiction welcomes the use of tools formerly reserved for writers of fiction.  This is not the same as making things up. It means discovering the most convincing way to tell your story using every instrument at your disposal. That's why we urge you to apply only if you have attended the BWW Classic course.

You will be guided to write with ambition and imagination using the elements fundamental to creative non-fiction in this workshop. This fairly intensive workshop will help you bring an open-mindedness towards the creation of your work. You will study published examples of creative non-fiction and develop the vocabulary to critique texts and each other’s work in the class. You will learn to be receptive to constructive criticism while gaining the self-confidence to discern and discard unhelpful criticism. 

The workshop methodology will ensure that you will also gain sensitivity in criticising fellow writers, through your nuanced understanding of criticism.

This is not a programme designed for writers who wish to explore different genres (do check our BWW: Classic for that), but rather for those who want to research and/or to write narrative non-fiction. Creative non-fiction does not include journalistic reportage, technical writing, or genre fiction.

Who is it targeted at?
If you have always wanted to make a book out of your family history, or even want to write a book where you share all the lessons you’ve learnt from your life and work, then this is the course for you. The course is for writers with an appreciation for all varieties of narrative non-fiction and who, ideally, have an existing project in the works.  These writers are interested in writing first-person narrative, observational essays, or investigation-based non-fiction. 

What is expected from the participants?
An open mind to learn and experiment with writing techniques focused toward producing a work (or works) of narrative non-fiction.  The willingness to share your work with others while welcoming and providing constructive feedback.  

What are the takeaways for the participants?
Participants will come away from the workshops with confidence in their own writing, trusting their skills and instincts and understanding where their writing fits into the genre of creative non-fiction.

What is the methodology?
Discussions about specific writing elements in relation to creative non-fiction as exemplified by proven published works combined with in-class and take-home writing assignments.
Each session will focus on one specific component:
1. Setting.  By using all of the senses to write descriptively, the reader is drawn into the setting, the writing becomes more layered, denser and more compelling to read.  Particularly vital for memoir as emotional writing can sound hollow if not rooted in a tangible scenario.
2. Characters.  Whether writing a memoir with the narrator as the protagonist or quoting experts in an essay, every character deserves to be fleshed out.  What does the reader need to know about this person?  Not need to know?  How can this character support your argument?
3. Dialogue.  How can you use dialogue effectively?  How do you make dialogue sound genuine while helping to drive the narrative and contribute to character development?
4. Structure.  Constructing a narrative arc.  When is it best to tell a story chronologically or not?  How do you take the reader on a journey from the first paragraph to the last?  
5. Voice.  From whose point of view is the narrative written?   How does the writer’s voice meet the demands of maintaining plot and characterisation and/or an intellectual argument?

We will not take more than 10 students in a class to maintain an intimate set-up that will scale up your learning. We have partnered with Wet Ink to provide you access to our online organic community at BWW, which will continue to inspire your writing long after the course is over. 
We also have regular meet-ups with published authors, agents, and publishers for the community that you can access if you are in Bangalore. Please visit our Facebook Page to see more:

What is the duration?
This is a six weeks long workshop on WetInk, our online community. 

What is the cost?
INR 14,500 including INR 500 as the Registration Fee and GST at 18%. 

Recommended Reading for the Course:
Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo
Around India in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh
Stasiland, Anna Funder
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
Zeitoun, Dave Eggars
Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer
Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
How to Die in Paris, Naturi Thomas
The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad
31 Songs, Nick Hornby
Wild, Cheryl Strayed
A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah
The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale
The Siege, Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark
Essays by G K Chesterton, G K Chesterton
The Moth, Virginia Woolf
Bird by Bird, Annie Lamott
A Room of One’s Own, Virgina Woolf
The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran
The Ugliness of the Indian Male, Mukul Kesavan
The Mother-in-Law, Veena Venugopal
India after Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha
My Experiments with Truth, M K Gandhi
The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell
Wandering, Herman Hesse
Beautiful Thing, Sonia Faleiro
Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, Suketu Mehta
Two Lives, Vikram Seth
The Emperor of Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee
Northern Arts, Arnold Weinstein
Beyond a Boundary, C L R James
In Xanadu: A Quest, William Dalrymple
Among the Believers, V S Naipaul
What I talk about when I talk about Running, Haruki Murakami
Educated, Tara Westover

Please Note: It's not necessary for you to have read all these books. But knowing a few of them will ensure you enjoy the workshop that much more.