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. All instructors are university professors and/or working professional writers--and there are never more than 14 students in any class. Conversation, firm deadlines, and feedback help keep you writing and improving your work throughout the class.
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, March, July, and September. Because of the flexible nature of our courses, we can gladly accept students from all across the globe.
See what past students have to say about our growing writing community.
If you're looking for a learning environment that features one-on-one interactions, customized coursework, and an individualized schedule, check out CNF's Mentoring Program.
Fall Classes: Now Enrolling
September 14 - November 22
Advanced Memoir & Personal Essay - Curriculum A (10-week class)
This class is suitable for both new students and those who have taken our previous Advanced Memoir - Curriculum B class. It includes a completely different set of readings and lectures from Curriculum B.
Instructors: Lisa Ohlen Harris and Jonathan Callard - This class is designed for those who have already explored the basics of personal writing and wish to move on to a larger project or more challenging forms. Participants can choose one of two paths, working either on sections of a memoir or on personal essays in a variety of styles. Class members will learn how to structure their chapters or essays, how to incorporate research into personal writing, how to develop character, how to use descriptive language effectively, and more. We will examine personal essays and memoir chapters from published authors to analyze their writing techniques, and discuss ways to use those techniques in our own writing. If participants wish to submit work that does not strictly fit the assignments given they can arrange to do so with the instructor. Learn More / Enroll »
Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp (5-week or 10-week class)
Instructors: Lindsey Drager (5-week) and Joelle Fraser (10-week) - You want to do it. You mean to start that writing project ... eventually. Now is the time to put excuses aside and start your writing project. Creative Nonfiction's special boot camp sessions will do just that by providing firm deadlines, writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you'll also develop the habit of writing regularly which will serve you well all through 2015 (and beyond!). After 5 weeks, if you've completed the minimum number of assignments, you'll have an essay of between 3,000 and 6,000 words, or at least a dozen passages to use as starting points for future essays. Five weeks not enough? Sign up for a full 10-weeks of Boot Camp. Not only will you get a discounted rate; you'll get double the deadlines and support. Learn More / Enroll »
Foundations of Creative Nonfiction - Curriculum B (10-week class)
This class is suitable for both beginners and those who have taken our previous Foundations of Creative Nonfiction class. It includes a completely new set of readings and lectures.
Instructor: Meghan O'Gieblyn - Creative Nonfiction is a versatile genre that accommodates a vast array of styles and approaches. This course is designed to introduce students to the many sub-genres of creative nonfiction and the possibilities of the form. Students will have the opportunity to try their hand at different types of essays, including memoir, the profile essay, participatory journalism, and the immersion essay, among others. In the weekly lectures and discussions, we will talk about basic craft issues and discuss other writerly skill sets, such as performing research and conducting interviews. Readings will include classics from each genre of creative nonfiction, as well as more recently published work. Students will write three 3,500 essays and participate in three optional writing assignments. Learn More / Enroll »
Magazine Writing (10-week class)
Instructor: Marty Levine - In this class students will immerse themselves entirely in the genre of narrative journalism, in which the writer observes, participates, interviews, and otherwise intimately explores his or her subject. Over the course of 10 weeks, we will take an in-depth look at the history and craft of this style of nonfiction writing that was revolutionized over four decades ago by trailblazers such as Gay Talese, Joan Didion, and Tom Wolfe. Students will learn important fly-on-the wall techniques such as sharp observation, skillful note taking, laidback interviewing, and how to organize and structure immersion stories. Students may choose to write three immersion articles or just one longer piece. Additional course work includes weekly readings, discussion forums, and optional writing exercises. Participants will also receive feedback from both the instructor and other class participants. Learn More / Enroll »
NEW! The Thirty-Minute Memoir
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. Every weekday 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 to submit to their instructor for comment. You must post at least three times per week in order to receive feedback from the instructor for that week—ensuring that you’re motivated to stay on task. By writing for 30 minutes a day (or longer, if you choose), you’ll finish the class with 60 pages of a memoir draft, and receive invaluable feedback and support along the way. Learn More / Enroll »
Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal (10-week class)
Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald - If you have an idea for a creative nonfiction book, and want to find a publisher, this class if designed for you. Writing a book proposal is an art itself. This class covers all aspects of creating a book proposal, providing a format to help you showcase your writing and expertise. Assignments will help you clarify your idea, research the market, identify your audience, develop your credentials as an author, create an engaging overview and choose the best sample chapters for submission to publishers. Learn More / Enroll »
Writing the Personal Essay - Curriculum A (10-week class)
This class is suitable for both beginners and those who have taken our previous Writing the Personal Essay - Curriculm B class. It includes a completely different set of readings and lectures.
Instructor: Barrett Swanson - In this class we’ll take a close look at the writing and research skills needed to write a memoir or personal essay, and refine them over the course of 10 weeks. We’ll discuss how to best use essential literary elements such as detail, dialogue, structure, and description, as well as how to collect information through interviews, research, and other methods. Participants will complete three essays, and will also be given optional shorter exercises that can later be developed into longer works. There will be substantial time spent on revision, that magical process that takes a pleasant anecdote and turns it into a breathtaking essay. Participants will receive personal feedback on their work from the instructor and feedback from other class members via Group Review sessions. Learn More / Enroll »
Please follow the links below for more information on upcoming and future sessions:
- Inactive Classes
- Our Instructors
- 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 Anjali Sachdeva, Director of Educational Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous and/or Upcoming Classes
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.
The Art of the Pitch
Learn how to turn an inkling of an idea into a sparkling pitch that editors will not be able to ignore.
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.
Get cooking on your food memoir, blog, or narrative cookbook and learn about the wide range of publishing outlets for food writing.
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.