Hardcore Memoir Writing Workshop Series by Traci Foust

Who is Traci Foust?

Traci is the Author of the Memoirs
Nowhere Near Normal, Love and Xanax and American Bitch

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Traci grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her first memoir Nowhere Near Normal was published by Simon and Schuster in 2011 and was featured in Marie Claire magazine, NPR and MSNBC Today. She has appeared in Portland Book Review, VIVA Magazine, and been featured and interviewed on KGO News Talk San Francisco, Houston Public Radio, Good Morning San Diego CW 6, WMJI Cleveland, The Jim Bohannon Show, NBC Today Health blog, and CBS US Radio Show. She is a regular contributor to the online magazine Role Reboot. Her essays have appeared in several anthologies including SPENT (Seal Press 2014), a book about women and the psychology of shopping and THE TRUTH OF MEMOIR (Writer’s Digest 2014) an instructional book on the genre of memoir. Traci has a degree in American Literature from UCSC and has taught creative writing for the IH Prolog Institutions of Western Europe.

Traci has been published in The Black Satellite Anthology, The Southern Review, Emry’s Journal, Barely South Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Hyperlexia Literary Journal, ARCH Literary Journal, and Apalachee Review. She was the first place award recipient for the Northern California Olympiad of the Arts Award in Short Fiction. Her short story “The Cruelty of Children,” published by Echo Ink Review, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2014.

  Traci  Traci

Traci Foust NPR Interview

Traci Foust Marie Claire Interview

Connect with Traci on Facebook

Read more about Traci on TraciFoust.com

Traci is available for personal consultation, instruction and editing.


What is Hardcore Memoir?

Hardcore Memoir is more than the basics of getting published. It is a unique and modern workshop series designed for the most important part of telling your story: Writing it. The genre of memoir is a difficult one to master, and no one knows that better than other memoirists. With all the tools you will need to create intriguing narrative, as well as a complete understanding of agent/publisher guidelines, this workshop series will take you through each step of the memoir process. From writing that first perfect chapter, to preparing a complete book proposal worthy of submission. Under the guidance of a fresh and honest instruction approach, Hardcore Memoir teaches participants the difference between writing for fun and writing for publication. Everyone has a story, you just need to know how to tell it.

Becoming a memoirist means truly understanding the way you think about your story and its place in the world. Stripping down your soul—bearing the weight of every sentence—is what makes a satisfied reader say, ”Yes! She has been there. She knows what I’m going through.” When a reader looks up from your written word and thinks, He’s saying everything I feel but never had the courage to express, it means you have accomplished the bloody, sweaty, terrible and beautiful work of a memoirist.

What makes Hardcore Memoir different from other workshops is its core emphasis on work. A great idea is certainly necessary in developing a story while flawless prose breathes that story to life, but ultimately it’s the determination of the storyteller and the dedication to the work that transforms a writer into a published author. A solid memoir is what happens after the journals and diaries. The art of the Craft is never easy and it isn’t always pretty. Creating intriguing narrative as well as a marketable understanding of the genre is essential for anyone who believes their story is worthy of publication.

“How can I care about the light of your epiphany until you have first dragged me into your darkness?”
— Hunter S. Thompson

* Hardcore Memoir does not provide workshops on self-publishing or endorsements of vanity presses.

Workshop I - Perfecting the Craft of the Modern Memoir

Workshop II - Marketing Your Story

Coming: Workshop III - Making the Proposal

Workshop I - Perfecting the Craft of the Modern Memoir

Here is where you find your voice. Here is where you use it.

Did you know most agents and publishers read only the first five pages of a submitted manuscript? This workshop will show you how to develop, create and perfect a memoir that is worthy of staying out of the dreaded slush pile. As a participant of Workshop I you may come with only notes and ideas, but you will emerge with a newfound enthusiasm as well as the tools that all acclaimed memoirist use.

You will learn:

  1. How interesting and lyrical beginnings play the most important role in the process of hooking an agent.
  2. Prologues: Can a multi-layered memoir benefit from laying it all out?
  3. Non-linear or linear (arc) writing: Which style is best for your story?
  4. How to set up a compelling scene: Learn to create effective narration for place and time.
  5. The 10 most important editing steps to clean and tighten your writing.
  6. How to perfect the subtle art of unique, strange and memorable details.
  7. How the ever-present tension of threat is the key to captivating your readers.
  8. Learn the 5 most common dialogue mistakes and why speech placement can make or break a story.
  9. How to write effective backstory: Learn when to use it and when to let it go.
  10. How to perfect the art of subtle epiphanies versus what you’re still figuring out.
  11. Why a too-happy ending is the fastest way to an unhappy reader.
  12. Modern syntax and style in the Genre: Unique ways of turning your narrative into a style that is all your own.
  13. How to tactfully share stories of abuse while avoiding melodramatics.
  14. The importance of including the sex scene and how to write one.

Workshop I enrollment cost: $275 USD

Enroll before October 10th to receive a complimentary Edit/Critique (up to five pages.)

Workshop II - Marketing Your Story

In this workshop participants will learn key strategies to hooking a literary agent—the first and most important step to the publishing process. A literary agent is the person who is responsible for selling your book proposal, negotiating your publishing contract and making sure you receive a substantial advance in a timely manner. A literary agent will be the hardest working member of your team. Not only is she responsible for almost every detail of the business end of your book, an agent will help you prepare and perfect your proposal according to the guidelines set by each publishing house where your book will be pitched. She will help you through the interviewing process (yes, publishing houses actually interview a potential author via phone or Skype) as well as negotiate public relation matters with the marketing department of your publishing house.

When you need encouragement, when you have questions on just about anything, a good agent will be the one who guides you. That is why learning how to develop a solid the relationship between agent and author is imperative for anyone who wants to see their book sell—and sell well. Hardcore Memoir will teach you the two most important steps to getting your foot into the door of the publishing house: What an agent wants, and more importantly, what they don’t want. In this workshop you will learn how to make sense of the specific marketing protocol required in today’s publishing industry. At the end of this workshop you will have solid working knowledge of:

  1. How to find and approach an agent who specializes in memoir.
  2. Writing the perfect query letter that will make an agent request your proposal.
  3. Learning the importance of attaining blurbs before your work is published.
  4. How to write an extensive and interesting biography with less-than-extensive experience.
  5. Finding current comparable works and how to use them in your query letter.
  6. The importance of social media networking for developing relationships with authors and readers.

Workshop II enrollment cost: $275 USD

Enroll before October 10th to receive a complimentary Edit/Critique (up to five pages.)


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Workshop Location

Oceanside, CA 92056
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