In this nonfiction workshop you will enlist essay and memoir genres to explore connections between the personal and the universal: in other words, your experience matters … but why? Here’s a chance to write your way to understanding, clarity and resonance. We’ll experiment with narrative stance and form (such as lyric, hermit crab, braided, and epistolary), and you’ll write. A lot. Several longer essays and a handful of shorter ones that will be generated by guided freewrites. Most of these will be revised at least once. Aside from general guidance, the subject matter of your work is open and up to you. Take advantage of the city that surrounds you. The questions and answers you’ve stumbled across. The way life has surprised you, perplexed you, made you laugh, held you back, set you free.
Creative nonfiction is an art form that calls on both the literary techniques of fiction and the reporting strategies of journalism. In addition to writing, we’ll use class exercises and discussions of readings to address technical issues such as narrative/thematic tension, transition, character development, dialogue, point of view, characterization, imagery, structure, tone, style, and how to research your life. Through careful attention to your work as well as that of your peers, expect to become a stronger writer, a better reader, and an enthusiastic reviser.