Social justice writing is nonfiction, but to do it well, you must think like a fiction writer. There are characters to portray, plot and drama to create, and point of view to consider.
Do you have an experience that changed how you view the world? Maybe you experienced an injustice, like being the victim of racial profiling? Maybe you did something awful that you now regret, like bullying a transgender kid in high school. Maybe it was transformational, like a year in the Peace Corps. You want to write about that experience to help others see the world through your lens, but you don’t know how to begin. This class can help.
Social justice writing is nonfiction, but to do it well, you must think like a fiction writer. There are characters to portray, plot and drama to create, and point of view to consider. There is emotion in social justice writing, but there is also logic and the presentation of concrete information. How do you mesh feelings with the facts?
In the first three-hour session, we will analyze the craft of professional social justice storytellers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) and Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed) to see how they affect the way readers think about their topics. We will also go through some exercises designed to help you focus your own story on the three key pieces of crafting a social justice memoir: Anecdote (the little story), Introspection (how it affected you), and Connection (creating meaning for the reader).
In the second three-hour session participants will workshop each other’s pieces. You should walk away ready to polish your memoir or essay to completion and inspired by your classmates’ stories and passion for changing the world.