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.

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 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 8 - March 18

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 Memoir & Personal Essay (B) 

Instructor: Lisa Ohlen Harris

The course begins with a look at the historical origins of personal writing and how memoirs and personal essays have developed over time. By comparing essays/memoir chapters on similar themes from different time periods, participants will come to understand the breadth of possibilities for using language, structure, and style in personal writing. This part of the class will also include a look at some of the more experimental forms being used in personal writing today.
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Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp 

Instructors: Michael Busk (5 weeks) and Bridgette Shade (10 weeks)

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 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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Five weeks not enough? Sign up for a full 10 weeks of Boot Camp. Not only will you get a discounted rate, but you'll also get double the deadlines and support.  
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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. Participants will complete one essay and will also be given optional short exercises that can later be incorporated into longer pieces. We will also discuss how to identify and query markets for science-based nonfiction. Participants will receive personal feedback on their work from the instructor and feedback from other class members.
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Flash Essay

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 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, 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. 
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Foundations of Creative Nonfiction (B)

Instructors: Danita Berg and LaTanya McQueen

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. Weekly lectures and readings will focus on particular issues relevant to writing creative nonfiction—for example, 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 -- NEW!

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” we 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 we 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 Journalism

Instructor: Marty Levine

This class will explore how successful narrative journalists immerse themselves in their subjects’ worlds and/or conduct insightful interviews to reconstruct stories from the past. Over the course of 10 weeks, participants will learn how to conduct interviews; make in-depth, immersive observations; construct scenes; define characters; and employ dialogue artfully. The class will analyze how longer pieces are constructed, from notes to finished narrative, and discuss pieces by expert modern practitioners of narrative journalism, such as Sebastian Junger, Rebecca Skloot, Barbara Ehrenreich, John Berendt, and others. Examples include profiles, science writing, personal journeys of discovery in which the writer takes center stage, and reported pieces in which the writer disappears into his or her subjects.
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Narrative Medicine

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. Our instructors—experienced writers of health care narratives and creative nonfiction—will communicate with participants through a combination of written lectures, written feedback, and email. In addition, the class will include phone conferences with guest lecturers Theresa Brown and Manoj Jain.
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The Nonfiction Book Proposal

Instructor: Waverly Fitzgerald

If you have an idea for a creative nonfiction book and want to find a publisher, this class is 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

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. Students must post at least two times per week (during the Monday-Thursday span) in order to receive instructor feedback on the 1,000-word post—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. 
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Up Close: The Art of the Interview-- NEW!

Instructor: Rhonda Miller

This five-week online class will inspire you to take a fresh look at your writing and practice one of the most powerful elements of creative nonfiction – the in-person interview. Interviews can provide mileage on any subject, add layered depth to your writing, and often yield additional ideas and better stories.Today, writers can access rivers of information on the Internet, but the ease of finding details can create a false sense that one can simply write without ever having to meet anyone for a conversation. In this course we’ll learn how to make the interview less intimidating and how to use them to add heart to your essays, memoirs, books, op ed pieces, theater reviews, or book reviews.

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Writing The Personal Essay (B) 

Instructor: Meghan O'Gieblyn

Each of us has stories that are worth telling, but how can we fit the messiness of our lives through the narrow corridor of an essay? How can we resuscitate those moments on the page so that they live in readers’ imaginations with the same force and freight as when we experienced them? How can we dramatize events so that they attain the qualities of literature? Over the course of ten weeks, students will learn the building blocks of writing a personal essay—establishing a compelling narrative persona, creating strong characters, conjuring vivid descriptions, and building satisfying plots. Most important, students will learn how to connect their experiences to larger truths about our world. To do so, we’ll dissect the work of published authors and tweeze out for examination various elements of the personal essay. We will also look at contemporary trends in creative nonfiction, discussing recent developments in voice, essay structure, and hybrid genres. Students will write three 3,500-word essays, as well as participate in optional writing assignments and class discussions.
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Please follow the links below for more information on upcoming and future sessions:

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