Intense New Writing Course: Story Genius with Lisa Cron and Jennie Nash

It’s time for a new draft of my memoir about attending college as a mother of five.  I’ve been tweaking and revising the same version, but I think I need a fresh start.  So I signed up for Story Genius with Lisa Cron and Jennie Nash. It’s the science behind story—brain science.
This is an intense 10-week Writing Workshop
…I’m overthinking the application process already.    
            I’m a scene painter.  I enjoy reliving and fleshing out the scenes [the stories of my college experiences] in the memoir.  I think that I am showing the reader my home life, my experiences, the characters who are myself and my family.  I am progressing through college and hope that I am taking the reader along for the ride.  I think I’m inviting the reader into my life at that time so that he or she can experience this journey.
This memoir is supposed to be the insightful, yet humorous, adventure of an inexperienced and obsessive mother with young children trying to navigate the world of academia.  I feel it would help other parents/mothers or older non-traditional people who always wanted to go to college but who might think they can’t juggle the responsibilities or might feel it’s too much trouble to begin or too late to even try. 
This is my journey of attending college as the primary caretaker of five young children, the oldest being special needs. I had never attended college, knew nothing about how to begin, and worried that my brain no longer worked after being home with those children. I began at a community college close to home when my youngest, twins, started second grade and my oldest started high school. I received several honors and won scholarship to the Ivy League to complete my B.A.
            We had to fill out an application to begin the course.  One of the questions was what’s your book about?  And I wrote this:
Victoria is your average mother of five who never went to college. She always wanted to, though. So when her youngest starts second grade, she jumps in with all her insecurities and a few skills she learned from her children: whining for help from her college-grad husband, falling asleep on textbooks while doing homework in hopes that osmosis works, and peppering professors with questions until her brain wraps itself around a new concept.
Through awards at the community college level, Victoria earns the opportunity to attend the University of Pennsylvania to complete her bachelor’s degree in English.  With this major success, all the insecurities just overcome to obtain her associate’s degrees rush back to haunt her. She wrestles with her belief to never let opportunity pass her by and tries to conceive how she can possibly handle the Ivy League.  It’s not a casual four-year institution a mother of five attends, right? 
Victoria realizes that the only regrets in life are the opportunities never taken.  How can she be content to stay as she is while opportunities flourish around her?  She goes down to the wire, signing up and choosing classes at another university that offered her scholarship before finally accepting the University of Pennsylvania’s invitation to study.  Victoria recognizes that she can’t retreat back into the home and be content with what she has.  Not when the world of academia graciously invites her in to stay a while with scholarships to further enlighten her mind.

            I’m in the second week of Story Genius and all my insecurities are firmly in place as I try to come up with the point of this memoir.  How about: The only regrets in life are the opportunities never taken like I said in my application?  What do you think?  Your insight is greatly appreciated.  

11 thoughts on “Intense New Writing Course: Story Genius with Lisa Cron and Jennie Nash”

  1. This is going to be quite an adventure. Enjoy and tell us about what happens along the way to The End.

    Thanks for stopping by The Write Game to say hi. Please come back. There are a lot of great people who are there each week, and I'd love for you to be one of them. I want to know more about your memoir writing experience.

  2. Sounds like a good story.

    This sounds like your theme: "The only regrets in life are the opportunities never taken"

    Is the story about Home vs Academia? The conflicts, struggles, bumps, the pull between the two world and the struggle to make it all work? wouldn't that be where the story begins? Or is the the story actually about getting to that point?

    If you need some input and brainstorm I'd be willing to listen. You can email if that would help you.

    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

  3. Hi Victoria – what a fascinating way to write your memoir … while you continue studying. Perhaps thinking about "The End" would help – then you can tie the strands together to achieve that end … you've so much to offer. Yet it's your story … so whatever you say will be relevant to others, as it will be different.

    Good luck and I look forward to reading more – cheers Hilary

  4. Hello and welcome to Adventures in Writing, Lee. Yes, this course and my memoir will certainly be an adventure. I plan on documenting my progress through the Story Genius course on my blog, so please stop by again. I enjoyed your blog and plan to visit often. Thanks again for your kind words.

  5. Ohmygosh, Juneta, that would be wonderful! Thank you so much for this. At this time, the memoir is about Home vs. Academia, etc. But with this Story Genius course and finding my point and my guiding misbelief, which I'm working on now, I'm not sure where it will lead me in the memoir. I'll keep everyone posted here on my blog, but I'd love to strike up an e-mail dialogue with you about it. Thank you so much, Juneta, for visiting my Adventures in Writing blog and offering your thoughts on this. I'll be in touch!

  6. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing, Hilary! Yes, as I've told Juneta, I plan to keep everyone posted on my progress in the course here at Adventures in Writing. Good idea about considering the ending to tie the strands together. Right now, I'm just trying to answer specifically the questions posed each week. Yikes! Thanks again for your kind words.

  7. Thank you so much for this, Karen. You are correct. Writing about my college journey certainly is an adventure. Thanks so much for your insight and good wishes. Always a pleasure seeing you here at Adventures in Writing. You have a wonderful weekend also!


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