• $99

Telling Shared Stories: Writing About Other People in Memoir

Saturday, Nov. 4, 1-4pm EDT
Online via Zoom

Memoirists and personal essayists not only expose intimate details about themselves, but often about their families, friends, lovers, and enemies, too. But where’s the line between what’s yours to share and what’s not? How do you portray people who have harmed you without reducing them to one-dimensional villains? And how do the power dynamics of different types of relationships—like parent/child vs. peers or partners—impact the ethical boundaries around telling shared stories? This course will address these questions and more, helping students develop their own rubrics for how much information about other people it’s ok to share, and when, and how.

Topics covered:

  • Where your story ends and someone else's private business starts

  • Writing difficult people

  • To share or not to share work with people you've written about?

  • Accounting for power dynamics in writing different kinds of relationships

  • Legal concerns*

  • Dealing with non-legal fall-out from family and loved ones

  • Developing your own set of rules for writing other people

*I am not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice! But I can share  insight into how the legal vetting process works in publishing, and how to set yourself up for it to be as painless as possible.

Important Notes:

  • This class will meet over Zoom. The meeting will NOT be recorded, and can only be accessed live.

  • Registration closes Nov 3 at 12pm EST


"Lilly brilliantly walks that line between encouraging us to be brave and helping us recognize there can be consequences to telling shared stories. She is wise, warm, and unflinchingly honest, illustrating her teaching with stories and revelations from her own memoir writing and publishing experience. I left the class feeling confident about the moral compass she helped me create for telling (or not) the shared stories in my life."

"This course reoriented my perspective on telling other people's stories. Lilly's guiding principles and space for reflection helped me reevaluate the direction of my writing projects."

"Lilly’s class encouraged me to think more critically about how I write stories that involve my loved ones. She’s not prescriptive and shares different approaches that help her students tell their shared stories in ways that fit their needs. Highly recommend!"