Nonfiction Mini-Workshop: Writing the Braided Narrative Essay


Nonfiction Mini-Workshop: Writing the Braided Narrative Essay


Level: All

Location: Online
Duration: 2 Days
Begins: March 24, 2018
Ends: March 25, 2018


This is a two-day online workshop.

Do you have a personal story you would like to explore? A braided essay weaves together two or more strands of a storyline—strands that are universally connected—even if at first that connection is not immediately identifiable.

A braided essay relies as much on what is not implicitly stated—but is instead implied through tone, word choice, and image—as it relies on what the author chooses to weave into the narrative. Creating a braided essay is a valuable and rewarding experience for writers of all levels.

Pen & Paper Nonfiction Instructor, Sara Marchant is here to show you how one works, and to help you write it.

First, Sara will explain a braided essay in greater detail. Then, she will discuss how writing one can ultimately help your nonfiction writing. The first day of class will be spent reading and discussing Jo-Ann Beard’s seminal work, “The Fourth State of Matter.” Sara will examine the balancing act of a braided narrative—how each piece of the essay adds to the personal story, and how, ultimately, the pieces are subtly brought together to form an inviolable whole. The second day of class, after understanding how Beard wrote her braided essay, Sara will guide you in a series of exercises to build your own narrative, and to braid the pieces you create into a personal essay of your own.

Instructor Bio

Sara Marchant received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside/Palm Desert. Her nonfiction appears in the WOC anthology All the Women in My Family Sing, and her novella, Let Me Go, appears in Running Wild Press’ novella anthology. Several of her short stories were included in the 2018 New Short Fiction Series. She is a founding editor of Writers Resist. Her writing has also been published by The Manifest Station, Every Writer’s Resource, Full Grown People, Brilliant Flash Fiction, The Coachella Review, Writers Resist, East Jasmine Review, Jewish Fiction and ROAR. Long ago and far away, she worked for the San Diego Natural History Museum in their Binational Education Department where she was she able to utilize her BA in Latin American History. At Mt. San Jacinto College in San Jacinto, California, she teaches Critical Thinking and Writing to the new generation in the hopes that they will someday save our society from its nihilistic impulses. She lives in the high desert of Southern California with her husband, two dogs, a goat and five chickens.