How do the classes work?

Creative Nonfiction’s online classes are designed to accommodate people with busy schedules and other commitments. Many participants have full-time jobs or childcare responsibilities, while others have more free time to devote to their writing. The flexible class schedule means that you can participate in the way that best fits your schedule. 

Classes are limited to 14 participants per section, and students can submit up to 10,500 words of writing per class (approximately 40 pages). The information below outlines the structure of a typical CNF class. Please note that some classes (such as CNF Boot Camp) follow a different format. Details are included in the class descriptions; descriptions of our current classes can be found here.

Each week participants will:

  • Be given a written lecture on some aspect of the art and craft of writing (specific topics are included in each class description).
  • Be given selection of online readings relevant to the weekly topic. 
  • Respond to a class discussion question that will be discussed via online message board. Participants are required to post to the class discussion twice per week, but can do so on any day and at any time of their choosing.

During some weeks participants will:

  • Submit work to the instructor for feedback (3 times per course). All assignments are given at the beginning of the course, so participants can work on them at their own pace as the course progresses. Assignments are typically submitted to the instructor in weeks 3, 6, and 9 of the course.
  • Submit work to classmates for peer review feedback (optional activity—up to 3 times per course).
  • Participate in a live video conference with classmates (optional activity—up to 2 times per course). This is the only class activity for which participants must be online at a particular day and time. Participants will need a webcam to participate in the chats. Please note that this applies only to our 10-week classes in Winter, Spring, and Fall, not to our 5-week summer classes. For more information please see our FAQs

Still have questions? Please read our FAQs, or contact Sharla Yates, Creative Nonfiction’s Director of Education, at yates[at]