A Novel Idea is a workshop series for writers of all levels to meet monthly to discuss writing techniques, marketing tips and now offers group writing critiques. Led by a published author/instructor, participants are guided through the process of sharpening their individual writing skills.

APRIL 7-28

Wednesdays, 6-8 p.m.

A Novel Idea ~ Crafting a Memoir

Virtual Zoom classroom
Login information provided upon registration
Ages 18 and up

A Memoir is a journey through the writer’s past. It is not an autobiography – one’s entire life – but a slice of life.

Paint your own picture of a personal moment or experience and share your unique journey through the art of creative writing. Learn how to adapt your life story to an artistically composed, memorable narrative in this 4-session virtual memoir writing workshop with writer, novelist, and A Novel Idea instructor Don Helin.

Creative nonfiction is useful in a memoir as it helps bring scenes alive with enhanced setting and dialogue. Many personal history memoirs succeed because the writer transforms real people into compelling, fleshed-out characters on the page. You are the foundation of your story and the more honestly you dig into your core, the richer your story will be.

CREATE scenes with rich description & engaging dialogue

TRANSFORM people into compelling characters

STRUCTURE your stories for clarity & strong storytelling

Explore these storytelling techniques and more in a casual Meet & Eat dinnertime setting.
Over 4 sessions, you will acquire story-telling techniques to help you document your memoir.


Topics will include:

  • Research – Go back to find the small things that caught your attention.
  • Structure – Chronological versus Episodic
  • Setting and Scene – A memoir is not something you invent, but something you uncover by digging.
  • Characters – Explaining the motivation of the character is critical.
  • Dialogue – Break up a series of mega-paragraphs with interesting dialogue.
  • Point of View – Whose story is it and who is telling it?
About the Instructor

Don Helin www.donhelin.com
During his time in the military, Don Helin served at a number of stateside posts, as well as overseas in Vietnam and Germany. He is the author of six thrillers that draw from his military experience, including three tours in the Pentagon. Don’s novel Secret Assault was selected as the Best Suspense/Thriller at the 2015 Indie Book Awards, and Long Walk Home won a five star review at the Readers Favorite Awards. His novel, Roof of the World, recently was honored as a Finalist in the 2020 Indie Book Awards. Don’s latest thriller, Missing, was released on October 1, 2020. Don is also a freelance writer for TheBurg.


Tuition is $140, or $130 for PCCA members
for the series of 4 sessions running from April 7 to 28, 2021.

Please contact Arts In Education Director Rebecca Covert at 717-567-7023 or rebecca@perrycountyarts.org with any questions you may have.

Sign Up Today!
Connect With Your Writing Peers