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, June, 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.
June 27 - July 24
Blogging for the Writer - Essentials (4-week class)
Instructor: Becky Tuch - These days, it's not unusual for writers to have a blog. Yet, if handled poorly, a blog could be just another voice in the vast internet sea. How do you get readership for your blog? How do you make your blog pieces distinct and resonant? What should you blog about? In this multi-week workshop, we will discuss "best practices" for successful blogging. We will look at examples of outstanding blog posts in order to understand why certain pieces resonate with readers. We will also look at blog pieces that don't quite hit the mark in order to understand what's missing. The basics of marketing and driving internet traffic to one's blog will also be covered. Students can expect weekly writing prompts which will be workshopped. You will come away with a deeper understanding of why blogging is fun and how to blog successfully. Learn more / enroll »
Creative Nonfiction Summer Boot Camp (4-week class)
Instructors: Waverly Fitzgerald or Rhonda J. Miller - You want to do it. You're going to do it. You mean to start that writing project ... eventually. Now is the time to put excuses aside and start. Creative Nonfiction's special boot camp sessions will help you do just that by providing firm deadlines, daily writing exercises, and weekly feedback. Along the way you'll also develop the habit of writing regularly, which will serve you well for years to come. Learn more / enroll »
Eureka! Science Writing for General Audiences (4-week class)
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 4 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. Learn more / enroll »
Experimental Forms (4-week class)
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. Participants will learn about experimental structures, hybrid forms, and nonstandard narrative perspectives. Class members will write two short 500 word vignettes and one 3,000 word essay. Learn more / enroll »
Flash Essays (4-week class)
Instructor: TBD - 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, 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. Learn more / enroll »
Historical Narratives (4-week class)
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. 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. You’ll learn how to find the best characters and scenes in what you’ve dug up, how to organize your information, and how to make it live on the page. You may choose to write the crucial beginning chapter of a longer piece or work on a section in the middle where you’ve been stuck. Alternatively, you may work on a smaller historical nonfiction piece that can be completed for the end of the class. To get the most out of the class, participants should have a subject in mind and at least one source of personal or public historical material. Learn more / enroll »
Spiritual Writing (4-week class)
Instructors: Jonathan Callard or Meghan O'Gieblyn - In this class 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 do we write about something so personal and powerful and share it with an audience of differing beliefs or traditions? How can we 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 (4-week class)
Instructor: Joelle Fraser - In this class we’ll focus on two of the most important, and misused, elements in memoir: Scene and Summary. Both are essential to the memoir, but often writers confuse the two or rely on one at the expense of the other. In these four weeks we’ll examine these key techniques--taking a close look at how each works and learning how to best balance the two on the page. We’ll study the basics but also look into more advanced strategies, such as how to use “nano-scenes” within summary to keep the storyline vivid, and the role of general time versus specific time. Learn more / enroll »
Please follow the links below for more information on upcoming and future sessions:
- Inactive Classes
- Our Instructors
- Class Schedule for 2016
- 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 email@example.com.
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.