Why Creative Nonfiction?
Among the online writing programs available, why is Creative Nonfiction the right choice?
An Insider’s Knowledge of the Literary Landscape
As the voice of the genre, Creative Nonfiction is in constant contact with the writers who are shaping the creative nonfiction landscape today. We bring those connections into our online classrooms through the information in our readings and lectures, and also through occasional special events. Some sessions of the Advanced Memoir and Personal Essay class include a live video chat with Creative Nonfiction founder and editor Lee Gutkind. Our Boot Camp and Revision class includes behind-the-scenes interviews with authors published in Creative Nonfiction about their revision process. Our Narrative Medicine class includes guest lectures from some of the top writers in this field. Because we combine educational expertise with inside knowledge from the world of literary publishing, we can offer students a broader perspective on the writer’s life.
Substantial and Meaningful Writing Assignments
Many online writing programs ask students to complete short writing exercises each week, and only near the end of the class are students invited to write a single essay or chapter. At Creative Nonfiction we recognize the value of exercises, but also believe that completing an essay or chapter is the best way for developing writers to really explore how all the elements of creative nonfiction work together. Writing complete pieces also leaves participants with a sense of accomplishment, and with work that they can share with friends, revise, or submit to literary magazines for publication when the class is completed*. For this reason, in our classes students are invited to submit three essays or chapters of up to 3,500 words each—though shorter pieces are also welcome.** Assignments are always provided, but students may also submit previously-written work for critique if they prefer to do so.
* Creative Nonfiction does not publish work that has been critiqued in its own online classes.
** Students in the Creative Nonfiction Boot Camp and Revision class submit daily writing assignments in place of the essays/chapters.
We believe that good writing instructors not only need to be skilled writers, but need to have experience in teaching what they know to others. That’s why all of our instructors are professional writers with teaching experience at accredited colleges and universities.
Some online programs work on a “synchronous” model, which requires all participants to be online at an assigned time each week. The non-synchronous model used in our classes means that you do not have to be online at any particular time of day, and can approach the class assignments at your own pace throughout the week based on your schedule. Major assignments are also provided at least two weeks in advance, so you can budget your time and work ahead if you wish to. While some optional events, such as class video chats and/or phone conferences, do take place at a specific time, the majority of class activities can be completed according to your schedule.