Crash Course in Creative Nonfiction // Free Webinar

Everything you need to know to start writing your true story

If novels are fiction and poems are, well, poetry, then what are memoirs? What about essays, narrative journalism, and so many of the true stories that we love? From books to magazine articles to podcasts, creative nonfiction stories surround us.

This webinar will introduce you to the history of the genre and show you how to use the building blocks of creative nonfiction—including scene, character, dialogue, and reflection—to write your own true stories. No writing experience is necessary. During this session you will:

  • LEARN about the history and scope of creative nonfiction;
  • DISCOVER the genre through a variety of examples; and
  • EXPLORE the building blocks of telling great true stories using the "yellow test"

This session is designed for writers from all backgrounds.

Thursday, October 31st, 2019
1 pm – 2:15 pm EDT

Advance registration required.
Space is limited.

Enroll here >>

Webinar Overview:

What is Creative Nonfiction?

This presentation will serve as an introduction to creative nonfiction. We'll start by exploring what the terms "creative" and "nonfiction" mean separately — and what they mean together. You will learn about the history of the genre while exploring a variety of creative nonfiction excerpts to get a sense of the contemporary scope of the genre.

You will also learn about the different layers present in personal writing. We'll look at Vivian Gornick's terms "the situation" (what happened) and "the story" (what it means). Next we'll identify the building blocks of CNF: scene and reflection, applying Lee Gutkid's "yellow test" to an analysis of several passages to understand how scenes (and moments of reflection) work to build a world rich with detail and meaning on the page.

The presentation will end with a Q & A

Jennifer (Jenna) McGuiggan's essays have appeared in the Rappahannock Review, Essay Daily, Flycatcher, New World Writing, and on the blogs of Prairie Schooner and Brevity. Her work has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and chosen as a finalist in contests from Prime Number Magazine, Hunger Mountain, and the Orison Anthology. Jenna received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is currently writing a book of linked essays that explore longing and belonging, from where we live to what we believe. 

Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email the director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].