Jun 15 - 2022

131: How to Write About Something You Can’t Remember

About the Episode

Today on our show we share a story by Andrea Askowitz. Andrea’s story was written as speculative memoir during our writing retreat in Guatemala. And if you are like most people, you have never heard of speculative memoir. After you hear this episode, you will be dying to give it a try. But why did she use speculative memoir?

According to author Laraine Herring, who wrote in the Rumpus, speculative memoir explores the truth through the figurative over the literal. She questions why we say “just” before imagination, because isn’t imagination the foundation of everything? Go to the Rumpus to learn more.

On this episode, we have a special guest host: Zorina Frey. Zorina has been taking our classes for years and now she teaches one of our first draft classes on Wednesday night from 6-7pm ET. Click to sign up.

Andrea got the idea for this writing prompt from Beth Kephart, professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of 30 books. If you’d like to write your own speculative memoir (essay), follow the steps Andrea did below:

Think of a scene you’ve tried to write, but couldn’t because of lack of information. You can go back to the day of your birth or even conception. Write for 3 minutes to each of the following prompts (in order):

1. Where was this place?

2. Who was there?

3. When did this occur?

4. Who said what?

5. What happened in the end?

6. Why did this happen?

Zorina mentions Andrea’s use of anaphora, which is a rhetorical device in which a word or expression is repeated. An example of anaphora is Lincoln’s “We cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground.” 

You can find Andrea on Twitter @andreaaskowitz, FB @andreaaskowitz, and Instagram @andreaaskowitzandreaaskowitz. Writing Class Radio is produced by Allison Langer, Andrea Askowitz and by Matt Cundill and Evan Surminski at the Sound Off Media Company. Theme music by Courtney Fox.

There’s more writing class on our website including essays to study, editing resources, video classes, writing retreats, and live online classes. Join our writing community by following us on Patreon

For $10/month Andrea will answer all your publishing questions. For $25/month you can join our First Draft weekly writers group. (Tuesdays 12-1 ET or Wednesdays 6-7pm ET) Write to a prompt and share what you wrote. For $125/mth, you’ll get 1st draft and 2nd Draft. Each week three people bring a second draft for feedback and brainstorming. Join the community that comes together for instruction, an excuse to write, and most importantly, the support from other writers. To learn more, go to www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio.

A new episode will drop every other Wednesday.

There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

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