A key concept in my memoir courses is the importance of building your memoir around conflict and tension.
In the simplest possible terms, your character needs to want something.
What is it that she wants? What’s stopping her from getting it?
And what’s at stake if she doesn’t get it?
The answers to those questions create tension, which is what keeps the reader turning the pages. It’s what keeps your reader engaged.
But when we’re writing a book-length memoir, it’s easy for the tension to drop in the middle. And if your reader gets bored and puts your book down, then you’ve lost your chance at making an impact.
That’s why we discuss various ways to maintain that tension throughout your entire memoir in my new 9-week online course, Navigating the Messy Middle.
Juggling your primary theme with your minor themes (or subplots) isn’t always easy.
But it is important. Together, the two create depth, complexity and tension, which form the foundation for a successful memoir.
If you’re looking for support for your memoir, I’d love to invite you to join us!
Navigating the Messy Middle
How to Reenergize Your Writing, Shorten Your Timeframe and Increase Your Memoir’s Reach
Navigating the Messy Middle is a 9-week online course with 7 modules + a private forum + 9 live calls to hash out your plot lines, ask questions and get plenty of live support from me and your fellow writers.
In this class, we get clear on the big picture pieces of your memoir, including your primary narrative arc as well as your minor themes. Once we have that 10,000 foot view, we’ll pull apart what you have in order to see what’s working and where you need to course-correct. I’ll teach you what I look for when I do a developmental edit (and then we’ll spend two weeks doing developmental reviews of our manuscripts together) in order to increase your memoir’s reach and save you months of writing your way into dead-ends. This process will also save money, since working with a private coach or hiring a developmental editor gets quite pricey.
Last but not least, I’ll teach you tools to reenergize your writing, cut through the fear and put your inner mentor in the driver’s seat instead of your inner critic. As always, our foundation will be on safety, self-care and mind/body support in order to keep you sane and healthy and facilitate a sustainable experience.
Please note: this isn’t a traditional workshop where we discuss pages. Instead, it’s meant to streamline the process and help you strengthen your narrative arc—key to keeping your reader engaged and getting your memoir published—and nail down that messy middle. Our live calls will be devoted to helping you brainstorm, troubleshoot and clarify your puzzle pieces with lots of support from me and our fellow writers.
We start on Wednesday, March 2
Calls are Wednesdays
12-1:30pm PST/ 1-2:30pm MST/ 2-3:30pm CST/ 3-4:30pm EST
and will be recorded if you’re unable to join us live.
Here’s a brief breakdown of what we’ll be discussing:
Module 1: Creating Your Road Map
Module 2: Strengthening Your Narrative Arc
Module 3: Deepening Your Minor Themes (or Sub Plots)
Module 4: Tightening Your Pacing
Module 5: Weaving in Backstory, Flashback and Transitions
Module 6: Supporting Your Manuscript with a Developmental Edit
Module 7: Micro Editing and Next Steps
Click here to read the full course description as well as to register.
Here’s what other writers have said about working with me:
Tanja’s Mastermind course provides support and discourse in a safe environment. The growth as a writer and a reader has been instrumental on my writing journey. It has allowed me to find insight regarding my project as well as skills and tools to better design my book … The generosity of the other attendees and mutual support of one another’s projects creates a true wonderful community. –Jessica Stokes
You are an absolutely amazing teacher. I learned more from you in one day than I did in my year-long writing intensive. —Karen Terrell
The course lessons on the craft of writing memoir are clear, organized, and grounded in experience. Tanja provides a very thorough step-by-step guide from inception to completion of your memoir. She is able to meet each writer where they are, while offering generous and skillful guidance. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better mentor for this process, as she creates a safe space to develop as a writer, explore vulnerable moments, and make meaningful progress on my work. –Julie Badal
Tanja has a gift for creating a supportive community. –Christine M. Tracy
If this course calls to you, please join us!
Click here to read the full course description as well as to register or copy and paste the following url into a new browser: https://tanjapajevic.lpages.co/navigating-the-messy-middle-memoir/
Whatever you do, keep writing!
P.S.: Some folks have asked me about the difference between my Memoir Mastery course and Navigating the Messy Middle, both of which are built on safety, self-care and supportive community. Although we talk about structure in Memoir Mastery, we also spend a lot of time talking about the craft and technique of writing memoir: scene work, characterization, dialogue, etc.
In Navigating the Messy Middle, we do a deep dive into the thornier parts of completing a memoir, including effective pacing, how to drive tension, where to weave in backstory, how to balance your minor themes, etc. Then we take everything we’ve learned and apply it to your manuscript. Together, we’ll suss out what’s working, where you need to course-correct and where you want to go next.
Questions? Simply hit “reply” or email me at tanja [at] tanjapajevic [dot] com and I’ll get back to you asap!