Online Classes

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.

Students receive personalized feedback on assignments from their instructor, as well as responses from classmates on discussion board forums and peer reviews. All instructors have extensive 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 help foster community and an online workshop vibe.

Whether you're just starting out or are 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. Learn more about all of our classes here.

See what past students have to say about our growing writing community, and read some publishing success stories from our students. 



Winter Online Classes 

January 7 -- March 17

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.

Advanced Historical Narratives: Crafting the Best Material NEW 
(10-Week) 

Instructor: Marty Levine

Turning research and history into vibrant narrative presents some unique challenges, such as employing speculation effectively, using details to best advantage, and writing with your own style. In this class, you’ll learn how to transform history into lively prose using the tools of creative nonfiction. We’ll break down the most crucial elements of writing scenes, such as using characters and dialogue. This class is suitable for writers at any stage of a project. Those who have already begun, or even completed, gathering historical materials can submit parts of their work for review by the class and the instructor. If you’re just formulating ideas or beginning to research, you’ll be able to refine your approach, pinpoint your main characters, organize your prospective piece, and begin writing in class.
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Advanced Memoir & Personal Essay // Curriculum A
(10-Week) 

Instructor: 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. You can choose one of two paths, working either on sections of a memoir or on personal essays in a variety of styles. You will learn how to structure 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.
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Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp
(10-Week)

Instructor: Bridgette Shade

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 all year long (and well beyond!). After 10 weeks, if you've completed the minimum number of assignments, you'll have an essay of between 6,000 and 12,000 words, or at least thirty passages to use as starting points for future essays.
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Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp
(5-Week)

Instructor: Ploi Pirapokin

Can't commit to 10 weeks? We have a 5-week option! 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.
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Flash Essay
(5-Week)

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. Life is made up of moments: big showy ones and 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, the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence. Through a series of writing exercises, you will generate a list of potential essay ideas and identify key details and imagery to help you dig into the heart of those stories. You will also write several flash pieces of varying lengths.
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Foundations of Creative Nonfiction // Curriculum A
(10-Week)

Instructor: Michael Busk

Creative nonfiction has become one of the fastest-growing genres in the literary and publishing community. It encompasses forms from memoir and personal essay to literary journalism, travel writing, and hybrid forms like the lyric essay, as well as many others. In this course, participants will get to experience working in a few of these subgenres by writing three essays of approximately 3,500 words. Each of the weekly lectures and readings will focus on a particular issue relevant to writing creative nonfiction, like how to go about conducting research, how to find and select subjects to write about, and how to use the scene building elements of craft to create memorable essays. There will also be optional writing exercises leading up to these larger assignments.
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I to Eye: Integrating Research into the Personal Essay
(5-Week)

Instructor: Suzanne Cope

Have you wanted to take your essays beyond the personal? Perhaps integrate a researched or reported element or break into a new media publication? In “I to Eye” you explore the in-between of journalism and essay writing – sometimes called "personal journalism" or personal narrative woven with research or other reporting. Over this five-week course you will look at examples in the media and practice writing in variations of this form, finishing with a brief overview of how to pitch this genre. Whether you have an idea for integrating research into a finished essay, or want an introduction to the possibilities of personal journalism, this course will provide options for approaching your piece and guide you to toward a first and revised draft.
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Narrative Medicine
(10-Week)

Instructor: Ellen Ficklen

This class will guide all types of medical professionals (doctors, nurses, researchers, aides, social workers, etc.) through the various skills needed to write and publish narratives—personal stories of their experiences in health care (and those of others in the field). We will cover every step in the writing process, from brainstorming to researching to writing to revising as well as the steps needed to pitch and publish an article or essay.
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The Nonfiction Book Proposal
(10-Week)

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.
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The Thirty-Minute Memoir
(10-Week)

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, you will be encouraged to post 300 words of new writing, and at the end of the week you will choose 1,000 words from the week’s work (or elsewhere) to submit to your instructor for comment. This course will help you tackle your memoir by providing firm deadlines, writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you'll also develop the habit of writing regularly.
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Writing the Lyric Essay: When Poetry & Nonfiction Play NEW
(5-Week)

Instructor: Joanna Cooper

Some of the most artful work being done in essay today exists in a liminal space that touches on the poetic. In this course, you will read and write lyric essays (pieces of creative nonfiction that move in ways often associated with poetry) using techniques such as juxtaposition; collage; white space; attention to sound; and loose, associative thinking. You will read lyric essays that experiment with form and genre in a variety of ways (such as the hermit crab essay, the braided essay, multimedia work), as well as hybrid pieces by authors working very much at the intersection of essay and poetry. 
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Writing the Personal Essay // Curriculum A
(10-Week)

Instructor: Meghan O'Gielblyn

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.
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Please follow the links below for more information:

If your question is not answered in the Frequently Asked Questions, please contact Sharla Yates, Director of Education, at yates@creativenonfiction.org.