Tell your story, better.
Creative Nonfiction's online classes give you the opportunity to learn in a small classroom environment on your own time. Write at night, on your lunch break... even in your underwear. All you need is an Internet connection and a little motivation.
Participants receive personalized feedback on assignments from their instructor, as well as responses from classmates on discussion board forums and peer reviews. All instructors have university teaching experience and/or are working professional writers. Conversation, firm deadlines, and feedback help keep you writing and improving your work throughout the class. Small class sizes (14-16 students) help foster community and an online workshop vibe.
Whether you're just starting out or looking for an advanced class to help you refine and polish your work, we have a course for you. Class sessions begin in January, April, June, and September. Because of the flexible nature of our courses, we can gladly accept students from all across the globe.
June 26 - July 31
Please note: it is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our Director of Education, Sharla Yates, at yates[at]creativenonfiction[dot]org.
Creative Nonfiction Summer Boot Camp
Instructors: Meghan O'Gieblyn or Rhonda Miller - You want to do it. You mean to do it. You’re going to do it, really…a bit later. It’s the summer, after all, and you’ve got the time. But somehow that writing you’ve been meaning to get around to just never seems to happen. Creative Nonfiction’s summer boot camp is a 5-week course to ensure that you will get around to that summer writing, by providing firm deadlines and weekly feedback. Along the way you’ll also develop the habit of writing regularly, which will serve you well all year long. Learn more / enroll »
Eureka! Science Writing for General Audiences
Instructor: Chelsea Biondolillo - In this class, we’ll take a close look at the writing and research skills needed to craft engaging nonfiction about scientific discovery, research, and policy, and practice them over the course of five weeks. We’ll discuss how literary elements such as scene, character development, and narrative can bring scientific topics alive for general readers, as well as how to document research and interviews to prepare for the fact-checking process. Learn more / enroll »
Instructor: Barrett Swanson - What are the limits of creative nonfiction? At what point does an essay leave the world of fact and enter the realm of fiction or poetry? Are the borders between these genres rigid and unyielding, or are they porous? How can a writer move seamlessly between them during the course of a single essay in order to communicate more effectively the complexity of his or her experience? In this class, we will explore a variety of strategies for innovation in nonfiction writing. We’ll study new exhilarating developments in the genre, encountering the work of many contemporary practitioners of the craft, and discuss which subjects lend themselves to these cutting-edge techniques. Learn more / enroll »
Instructor: Marissa Landrigan -This course is designed for beginners to the world of digital storytelling, with little technical expertise, to explore the possibilities of multimedia storytelling. Learn more / enroll »
Instructor: Jenna McGuiggan - Some experiences beg us to write about them, but we often feel overwhelmed when trying to capture the whole story at once. In this class, we'll explore the art of flash nonfiction and short essays—pieces that tell a complete story in no more than 750 words. Life is comprised of moments—big, showy ones as well as small, quiet ones—many of them infused with deeper meaning. Sometimes we can easily articulate a moment’s meaning, but often we can only make sense of it peripherally. In a flash essay, both the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence. Through a series of writing exercises, participants will generate a list of potential essay ideas and identify key details and imagery to help them dig into the heart of those stories. Students will also write up to five flash pieces of varying lengths. Learn more / enroll »
Instructor: Marty Levine - Have you ever been fascinated by a true historical story? The tools of creative nonfiction are exactly right for turning historical finds into vivid characters and scenes. Even when you can’t interview your characters or directly observe them in action, you can still write great nonfiction narratives from the rich materials of history. Whether you’re just beginning or deep into researching a piece (especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of material you could use), this class will show you how to bring the past alive. Learn more / enroll »
Instructor: Jonathan Callard - We will read selections from essays and memoir in the spiritual writing genre and try composing our own versions of this material. We will ask, what, if anything, can make nonfiction writing “spiritual”? How to write about something so personal and powerful and share it with an audience of differing beliefs or traditions? How to move beyond the saccharine to illuminate a truth? Participants will choose a spiritual question or subject to explore in-depth, and will investigate this topic by writing two 500-word pieces and one article/essay of up to 4,000 words. We will focus on getting started, gathering material, and revising for publication. Writers from all backgrounds and faiths are welcome. Learn more / enroll »
Summer Memoir Writing: Scene & Summary
Instructor: Joelle Fraser - Patterned after our popular Boot Camp course, this class is designed to help break the potentially overwhelming task of writing a memoir into manageable daily writing. Each week will focus on a different aspect of memoir writing, from opening chapters to scenes involving dialogue. Monday through Thursday, participants will be encouraged to post 300 words of new writing, and at the end of the week they will choose 1,000 words from the week’s work (or elsewhere) to submit to their instructor for comment. Learn more / enroll »
Please follow the links below for more information on upcoming and future sessions:
- Inactive Classes
- Our Instructors
- Term Schedule and registration dates for 2017
- How do the classes work?
- Why Creative Nonfiction?
- Testimonials and Publications by CNF Students
- Frequently Asked Questions
If your question is not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact Sharla Yates, Director of Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advanced Memoir and Personal Essay - Curriculum A
Tackle larger and more challenging forms while learning the essentials of structure, character development, and researching memories.
Advanced Memoir and Personal Essay - Curriculum B
Work on theme, structure and experimental forms in this course for advanced writers. The reading list and assignments are entirely separate from Curriculum A, so students may wish to take both courses.
Audio Storytelling & Podcasting
Explore ways to create nonfiction narratives using the power of sound
Blogging for the Writer
How do you get readership for your blog? How do you make your blog pieces distinct and resonant? In this multi-week workshop, we will discuss "best practices" for successful blogging.
Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp
Write every day. No matter what.
Foundations of Creative Nonfiction - Curriculum A & B
Perfect for writers who are new to the genre, or anyone who wants to brush up on the basics.
Introduction to Nonfiction Podcasting
Produce a powerful audio narrative story that can stand alone or be the first in a series of podcasts.
Become a "fly on the wall" in our immersion journalism course. Students learn to observe, interview, and intimately explore their subject to craft a magazine-ready piece.
Designed specifically for medical professionals to learn the basics of narrative writing. We know you have work stories to tell--we'll help you craft them.
Get past that first draft and start editing. Work on the large scale (structure, voice) and small scale (style and language choices) to get your story ready for the world.
Selling Your Work: A Writer's Guide
Gain insight into the world of publishing and learn the skills necessary for corresponding with editors, submitting work for publication, applying for grants and writing residencies, and more.
Find the balance between the personal and the powerful, and learn how to share your thoughts with readers of differing beliefs or traditions.
The perfect post-vacation class (or reason to explore your own city). Hone your observation skills and get the world on the page through detail, scene and imagery.
Have an in-depth conversation about literary techniques and craft with a small group of writers every week. The course meets over video chat to discuss each student's work twice per term.
Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal
You've got a book idea or maybe you've even written the book--now what? Learn about the publishing process in this course and fine-tune your own proposal with an instructor who's been through it before.
Writing the Personal Essay - Curriculum A & B
Turn your anecdotes into moving essays with facts, characters, and detail.
Writing the Tough Stuff
Learn the nuances of writing about grief, loss, and pain, and how to approach tough topics in your own writing.