Creative nonfiction essays, at best, celebrate curiosity, observation, prejudice, and other idiosyncrasies of the human condition. They use reportage and the literary techniques of fiction in the service of compelling real-life stories. In this workshop class you will write and revise four essays (1200-1500 words each). In shorter assignments, class exercises, and discussions of readings, we will address technical issues such as narrative/thematic tension, strength of argument, transition, character development, dialogue, point of view, characterization, imagery, and metaphor, as well as the skills of interviewing, structure, tone, style, and personal voice. We will use your (and occasionally my) work as the bases for discussion. Since I am a full-time freelance writer, you will also be subjected to my wit and wisdom about the publishing world.
Aside from general guidance, the subject matter of your work up to you. I am, however, available to help shape and steer and urge you away from the overly solipsistic. Take advantage of the city that surrounds you; the questions and answers and surprises you’ve stumbled across in life; and your passions, which could include anything from Major League Baseball to WaWa shorties to the idiosyncrasies of your family or culture or religion. The core aim here is to get a group of student writers writing, and to have you stretch beyond what you know by grappling with the revision process and sharing work with the class. Participation is vital and required.