fbpx Scene & Summary | Creative Nonfiction

Scene & Summary

Intermediate Level // 5-Week Online Course

Scene & Summary

April 08 - May 12

$260 if registered by 03/18/2019
$310 if registered after 03/18/2019

Your course registration includes a free 4-issue subscription to Creative Nonfiction or a free ebook; click here for more details.

Refund and cancellation policies


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. We'll also study how reflection fits into the memoir mix, as well as spend a week on how best to delve into flashbacks and flash forwards. In these five 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.

Analyzing passages of nonfiction writing of published authors will help us use scene and summary more intentionally in our own writing. In addition, each week participants will submit a passage of writing that reflects that week’s focus, and the final submission will be a longer work that includes both scene and summary (such as a chapter or section of a memoir, or essay). This can come from a work in progress, or be something new.

Participants will receive personal feedback on their work from the instructor and feedback from other class members, and there will be substantial time for revision in the last week.

Week 1: Focusing on Summary
Week 2: Focusing on Scene
Week 3: Integrating Scene and Summary
Week 4: Time Travel--Flashbacks & Flash Forwards
Week 5: Revision

See the complete syllabus here »

See schedule of all available classes »

* US residents will receive a complimentary 4-issue subscription to Creative Nonfiction with their online class registration (or a 4-issue extension to their existing subscription). Students outside the US can receive a free copy of the ebook Creating Nonfiction, or can choose to receive a 4-issue print subscription for the cost of shipping fees. We regret that we are not able to supply complimentary digital subscriptions for international students at this time.

If you are an international student who would like a print subscription instead of an ebook, please contact information@creativenonfiction.org after you register.


Refund and cancellation policies

By 5pm EST on the Monday before classes begin (one week prior to start date):

  • Students may request a refund (less a $50 application fee) or request a transfer to another course in the same term (no fee).

By 5pm EST on the Friday at the end of the first week of classes:

  • Students may transfer their enrollment credit to a future course (less a $95 processing fee for 10-week courses or a $75 processing fee for 5-week courses). Transfer credits must be applied within two years from your cancellation date.
  • Students may switch to another class in the same term (subject to availability) for a $25 fee.

No refunds or transfers will be offered after this deadline.