Creative Writing Workshops with Cathy

Moons at different phases in a circle

Cathy teaches workshops for creative writers through Writers in Progress Studio, in Florence, MA. You can find out more or register for a workshop here: Writers in Progress

Selected weekly workshops

What’s Your Big Idea? Uncovering Theme in Memoir

The best memoirs tap into something universal in the human experience, teaching us something important about a larger theme (loss, courage, freedom, coming of age, etc.). But how, as writers, do we unearth the themes or big ideas at the heart of our own stories? And how do we structure and craft our memoirs so that these larger meanings shine? Through specific craft exercises, examining published excerpts, generating new work, and receiving supportive feedback, writers will develop a strong sense of their memoir’s central themes, as well as learning powerful tools to uncover their stories’ deeper meanings.

Shaping Your Memoir

You have an important story to tell, but what’s the best way to tell it? Memoirists grapple with many of the same structural questions that face novelists and other storytellers: where does my story begin and end? In what order should the events unfold? Should I tell it chronologically, or organize events in a different way (framed, collage, braided, circular, etc.)? What structure will keep my readers engaged and also illuminate the universal themes at the heart of my story? In this six-week workshop, we will examine and play with various ways to map, scaffold, and structure our stories. Through experimenting with specific craft exercises, examining published excerpts, generating new work and receiving supportive feedback, writers will try out potential structures for their memoir and gain tools for choosing and incorporating a structure that will help their story shine.

Crafting Your Memoir

This eight-week generative online craft workshop is intended for writers who want to explore a variety of memoir-specific craft challenges. These include creating dual narrative voices; the challenges of writing about real people in your life; dealing with characterization in memoir; ‘inventing’ dialogue for scenes when you may not remember precisely what was said; handling memory (or lack thereof); navigating narrative time; and believing in and owning your story.