How to Write What Scares You // Webinar

Without Scaring Away Readers

How to Write What Scares You // Webinar

Write boldly and keep your reader with you.

Many of us are called to share the stories that matter most to us, to pursue the topics that are most important and meaningful in our experience. But sometimes, this material is potentially overwhelming for our readers.

How do we write about dark, complex, or traumatic events without scaring our audience away? In this webinar, you’ll learn specific writing techniques and time-tested strategies for handling intensity on the page, whether you are writing about fantastical joy or passionate suffering.

It’s an act of great compassion to share your personal story,” writes Sy Safransky, editor of the Sun.

In this webinar, you will:

  • EXAMINE the strategies master writers use to render complex, difficult material. You'll learn to discern craft techniques and borrow approaches from powerful examples;
  • BUILD your toolkit. Learn how to move beyond simple narrative and create more complex and layered nonfiction that can hold intense experiences by deploying straightforward, practical techniques such as leaning to the light, container and counter-principle, temperature control, and synecdoche;
  • EXPERIMENT with techniques in order to generate insight and empathy. We'll consider ways of taking on tricky subjects in a manner that avoids three common pitfalls: cliché, flatness, and triggering readers.

This webinar is for beginning writers who seek to publish memoir of any length, from flash to book length. They seek to render difficult experiences on the page. They are afraid too much difficult material could overwhelm a reader (rightly so).


Wednesday, November 18th, 2020

2 pm - 3:05 pm ET

Advance registration required.
Space is limited.

$10 if registered by 11/08/2020*
$15 if registered after 11/08/2020

Registration will close 24 hours before the event.

A recording of the webinar will be sent out to all registrants three business days after the event.

PLEASE NOTE: It may take a little while for us to process your order and send you the link to the webinar. If you haven't received the link by the morning of the webinar, please email us at information@creativenonfiction.org.


About the instructor: Heather Sellers is the author of You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know, a memoir about family, forgiveness, and face blindness. An Oprah's Book Club selection and Editor’s Choice at the New York Times Book Review, the award-winning book was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Dick Gordon’s The Story, Dateline, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Georgia Under Water is her collection of short stories. Her books on the craft of creative writing include Page after Page and The Practice of Creative Writing. Recent essays appear in Good Housekeeping, O, Parade, Reader’s Digest, the New York Times, Redbook, and the Sun, and her third collection of poetry is forthcoming from BOA Editions.  She was elected teacher of the year by the students at Hope College, where she taught creative writing for nearly twenty years. She’s a professor of creative writing in the MFA program at the University of South Florida, where she recently won a university teaching award.

*This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.


Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email the director of education, Sharla Yates, at yates@creativenonfiction.org.