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Advanced Nonfiction Writing

ENGL 145.301
instructor(s):
Thursday 1:30–4:30

Creative nonfiction essays, at best, celebrate curiosity, observation, prejudice, and other idiosyncrasies of the human condition. They use the literary techniques of fiction and the reporting strategies of journalism in service of compelling real-life stories. In this workshop-style class you will write and revise three longer essays and a handful of shorter ones. Aside from general guidance, the subject matter of your work is deliciously open and 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 you’ve stumbled across; the way life has surprised you, perplexed you, held you captive, set you free, or maybe just tickled the bejeezus out of you. In assignments, class exercises, and discussions of readings, we will address technical issues such as narrative/thematic tension, 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.

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. Class participation is vital and expected. Please submit a brief writing sample and/or statement of interest to: lf@lisefunderburg.com.