Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Start Here.

  • What are your community standards?

    Creative Nonfiction is committed to creating a welcoming and comfortable experience for all staff and participants regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disabilities, neurodiversity, physical appearance, ethnicity, nationality, race, age, or religion.

    We expect that staff and participants will treat each other with respect in all interactions. We will not tolerate discrimination or harrassment in conjunction with any of our programs. Harassment could include but is not limited to:

    • Repeated disruption of classes, lectures or discussion
    • Deliberate intimidation
    • Unwelcome sexual attention
    • Comments or displayed images that harmfully reinforce structures of oppression

    Community posts violating any of these guidelines can and will be removed from the page at any time. Anyone asked to stop harassing behavior is expected to comply immediately.

    Harassment does not include respectful disagreement or critique in good faith. Reading and writing, by their nature, include exposure to controversial, challenging, and sometimes offensive language. We encourage all participants to follow the peer review guidelines provided by their instructor.

    When you join a course you agree to…

    • respect others and respect their writing;
    • maintain the privacy of all submitted work;
    • treat others with respect;
    • not infringe on anyone’s copyright;
    • not harass, abuse, threaten or impersonate another user; and
    • not use libelous, obscene, or abusive work.

    Online Communication Guide

    Online communication happens without the benefit of body language and tone. Therefore, it can be easy to misinterpret. The following tips may help participants engage in civil, intelligent, vigorous discourse without impugning the personal dignity of others:

    1. Start from a position of generosity (i.e. assume that people mean well)
    2. Address your post to someone or to the group. Instead of “Hey” or just jumping in to your post, try “Hi All” or “Hi [Name].”
    3.  Don’t be afraid to use emoticons and/or exclamation points! 🙂
    4. Please avoid ALL CAPS whenever possible, as they tend to come off as RUDE or YELLING.
    5. Avoid harsh or offensive language of any kind. If you’re in doubt, try rewording or reconsidering your post.
    6. Sarcasm is very difficult to convey in writing — best to avoid it.
    7. When interacting with your peers, please consider that some may have limited experience with English, online education, and/or creative writing. It’s a good rule of thumb not to write anything you wouldn’t say if that person were standing in front of you.
    8. Often writers from underrepresented groups are asked to explain everything for an assumed monolithic audience (often cis/white/hetero/masculine/able-bodied, etc. etc.). As you respond to peers’ work, keep in mind that you may not be the writer’s intended audience, and leave room for the possibility that the writer is writing for a group of which you are not a member. (For more on this, listen to this episode of Code Switch for an in depth conversation.)

    See your course for additional feedback guidelines provided by your instructor.

  • What is your refund policy for the Yearlong tracks?

    We understand that life can get in the way of your plans. We want you to be able to get the most out of your course, and our refund policy is designed to balance your need for flexibility with our deadlines and obligations to our teachers.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Winter term begins:

    You may request to be removed from the yearlong track program for a refund less a $95 processing fee.

    If you transfer to another course, you will be removed from the yearlong track program and refunded the remaining balance less a $50 processing fee.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Spring term begins:

    You may request to be removed from the yearlong track program for a refund less the cost of the winter course and a $95 processing fee.

    If you transfer to another course, you will be removed from the yearlong track program and refunded your remaining balance less a $50 processing fee.

    By 5 pm on the Monday before Fall term begins:

    You may request a transfer credit less a $50 processing fee.

    There are no refunds available at this time.

  • What are the course dates?

    Terms for 2022

    Winter: Jan 10- Mar 20


    Apr 11 – May 15 (5-wk)
    Apr 11- Jun 19 (10-wk)

    Summer: Jul 11 – Aug 14

    Fall: Sep 12 – Nov 20

    Terms for 2021

    Winter: Jan 11 – Mar 21

    Spring: Apr 12 – Jun 20

    Summer: Jul 12 – Aug 15

    Fall: Sep 13 – Nov 21

  • I’ve registered for the yearlong track. Now what?

    Enrolling in a Pathway means you are automatically enrolled for specific Winter, Spring, and Fall term courses.

    Two days before each term begins: You will receive an invitation with instructions on how to log into your course in Wet Ink, our online platform. At this time, you can become familiar with the classroom, read your instructor’s announcements, set your avatar, and meet with others on the Community Page. On the first day of class, you’ll receive a welcome announcement from your instructor and access to week one’s materials.

    In early May, we will email you a unique code so you can enroll in the Summer term course of your choice. Unlike the Winter, Spring, and Fall terms, you will need to enroll in your summer class through the Creative Nonfiction website. You will receive an invitation to your course two days before it begins.

    After each course closes: You will receive a zip file of your content from the class. You’ll also continue to be a member of our Creative Nonfiction Writing Classes’ Community Page. With this membership, you will be able to share writings and calls for submissions, recommend books, and stay connected to other writers. You can decide how frequently you want to receive notifications by changing the settings in your Wet Ink profile.

  • I’ve already taken one of the courses in the Pathway. Can I subsitute a course and remain on the yearlong track?

    Depending on when you took the course, we may be able to swap the course you’ve already completed for another 10-week course at the same level. If you’d like to explore this option, please email [email protected]

  • Can I set up a payment plan?

    Indeed! If you need to set up a payment plan, please reach out to us by emailing [email protected] We have two payment plan options:

    $505 down payment, followed by eight weekly payments of $105 (total cost $1345)

    $505 down payment, followed by eleven weekly payments of $80 (total cost $1385)

  • What kind of feedback can I expect from my instructor?

    For each long assignment, you will receive detailed feedback from your instructor—big-picture comments about how the writing is working as a whole as well as in-line comments addressing tone, dialogue, word choice, etc. In addition to longer assignments, some instructors assign shorter weekly exercises for which they provide a brief response. Finally, students are always welcome to private message the instructor at any point during the course with additional questions.

  • I’m only interested in getting the instructor’s feedback on my work—why do I have to participate in the online discussions or the peer critiques?

    To create a better, more dynamic classroom experience for all, you are required to participate weekly in class discussions in order to receive instructor feedback on your work.

  • I’m going to be away for part of the time that the class is in session—does this mean I shouldn’t take the course?

    If you will miss only one or two weeks of a ten-week class, this does not pose a problem; you can reach out to your instructor to submit the assignments ahead of time (or, if you choose, skip them). You should let your instructor know at the beginning of the class which weeks you will miss. If you think you will have to miss more than two weeks, it is probably best to wait for another term.

  • How much interaction can I expect to have with my instructor and with other students in the class?

    In our courses you can expect to:

    * receive personalized feedback on work from your instructor

    * comment on your peers’ writing and receive peer critiques in kind

    * discuss ideas with your instructor and peers

    * exchange writing, ideas, and book recommendations with other writers in our Community Page during and after classes are over

  • How many students are in each course?

    Our sections have a maximum of 14 students and a minimum of 6. Courses often fill up before registration ends; registering early ensures that you receive a space in the course of your choice.

  • How many hours per week will the coursework take?

    This depends largely on your own interests and dedication to the course. We ask that all students read the lecture and assigned readings and post at least once per week in the class discussion; this should take about 2 hours per week. Other commitments include submitting peer critiques and participating in (or watching) video conferences. Finally, most students wish to submit all major writing assignments for the class in order to receive instructor feedback, and here the time commitment is highly variable. Some students write only on the weekends, while others write or revise for some time each day to produce these works. Still others join the course with essays already written. Your writing time is a large part of the time commitment, and it is up to you to determine how much writing time you will need in order to produce pieces for critique.

  • Do I need to be online during a particular time or day in order to participate in a course? Does it matter what time zone I’m in?

    You will NOT need to be online at any particular time. Assignments for CNF courses are given on a weekly basis. You should submit each assignment by a given deadline, but in most courses you will have at least a week to complete the assignment. We realize that our students live in many different areas and have different work schedules, so courses are designed to be flexible. Courses feature one live conference session, which requires you to be online at a particular time; participation in this session is completely optional, however, and instructors make an effort to offer times that can accommodate most students. If you are not able to participate in the live conference, you will still be able to view a recording of it during the remaining weeks of the class. Please note that there are no video conferences in boot camp courses.

  • Do I need any particular computer skills to participate in the course?

    The program used for CNF courses is designed to be easy to use. If you can write and send emails with attachments and are generally comfortable online, you should have no problems. We’ll send you login info for your course two days before your class starts, so that you can familiarize yourself with the system.

  • Can the work I write in a CNF course be published in Creative Nonfiction or True Story?

    Creative work that is reviewed and/or commented upon by your instructor cannot be submitted to Creative Nonfiction or True Story without substantial revision. Specifically, our editors will not consider a submission for publication if more than 25 percent of the work has been read by Creative Nonfiction’s online instructors. You are welcome to submit work to the magazines that meets the above conditions, but you will not be given preference over authors from the general submission pool.

  • Can I submit work I have already written for instructor feedback?

    Yes. We ask only that you stick to the word limit for each assignment. Additionally, please try to make sure that the writing you submit for feedback fits the course; for example, an Experimental Forms course might not be the best place to submit the first chapter of your traditional book-length memoir.

  • Do you offer any scholarships?

    Unfortunately, we do not offer scholarships at this time. However, most programming has an early registration price. Sustaining and Supporting subscribers receive an additional 10% discount. You can learn more here.

  • How many students are in each class?

    Our classes have a maximum of 14 students and a minimum of 6. Class sections often fill up before registration ends; registering early ensures that you receive a space in the class of your choice. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you’d like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our Director of Education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

What’s the Story from Lee Gutkind, Founder

Read on to hear from Lee about current happenings with Creative Nonfiction.