Manuscript Review

Year Round

If you have a piece you’ve been working on but don’t know how to finish, or you want some valuable feedback before submitting your work for publication, the CNF manuscript review program is a great opportunity to get insight from a working professional writer or editor.*

Additional Information

This program is designed to help you with a project that needs an honest read, an unbiased opinion, and a healthy dose of constructive criticism. Each manuscript review includes:

  • Page-by-page margin comments on your manuscript
  • A written critique of the overall manuscript
  • Complimentary CNF Wet Ink community page membership

For additional details about the kinds of feedback you will receive, how the program works, our cancellation policy, and more, please review our FAQs.

Have a manuscript that exceeds our 10,000-word limit? Please contact senior editor Chad Vogler at [email protected] for information on alternative programs and rates.

To avoid a potential conflict of interest, manuscripts evaluated by a CNF writing coach cannot be considered for publication in Creative NonfictionTrue Story, or any In Fact Book.

To enroll

Select from the dropdown menus at the left to select the length of your manuscript and your preferred writing coach and proceed to checkout. You may also add a 30-minute follow-up video conference with your coach. Within one business day, you will receive a confirmation email with additional instructions on how to access the Wet Ink website, upload your materials, communicate with your writing coach, and more.


Our writing coaches

Kurt Caswell has published widely in journals and magazines and is the author of four books of nonfiction, most recently Laika’s Window: The Legacy of a Soviet Space Dog (2018), which tells the story of the first animal to orbit the Earth. His other books are Getting to Grey Owl: Journeys on Four Continents (2015); In the Sun’s House: My Year Teaching on the Navajo Reservation (2009); and An Inside Passage (2009), which won the 2008 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize. He has worked as a teacher in Hokkaido, Japan, on the Navajo Reservation, and at schools in Arizona, California, and Wyoming. Caswell is currently a professor of creative writing and literature in the Honors College at Texas Tech University.

Lisa Catherine Harper is the author of the award-winning memoir A Double Life: Discovering Motherhood (U Nebraska, 2011) and coeditor of The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat (Roost/Shambhala, 2013). Her essays and stories have appeared in a range of journals, newspapers, and anthologies. She holds an MA in fiction and a PhD in American Literature, and has taught graduate-level fiction and creative nonfiction for over a decade in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.

Anne Horowitz is an independent book editor based in Brooklyn. She works on a range of projects including creative nonfiction and memoir, in both a developmental and line editing capacity. Her clients include independent presses such as Tin House Books, Milkweed Editions, Seal Press, The Experiment, Grove/Atlantic, Ig Publishing, and CNF’s In Fact Books imprint; literary agents; and independent authors. She works part-time as an editor with the literary agent Renée Zuckerbrot at Massie & McQuilkin, and is an editor with the New York Center for Fiction’s Emerging Writers Fellowship. She was a mentor in the 2016–17 Think Write Publish program, a collaboration between Arizona State University and Creative Nonfiction. She is a member of PEN and the Editorial Freelancers Association. Until 2010, she was associate editor at Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press, where she worked for five years.

Jessica Kehinde Ngo is a memoirist and writing professor based in Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles TimesHarvard Review OnlineEntropyArtillery, Hippocampus Books, and the Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. She studied creative nonfiction at the University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing Program. She has taught writing at Pepperdine University and is currently an associate professor at Otis College of Art and Design, where she teaches writing and food literature. She also teaches an online course called Honest to Goodness: Introduction to Writing the Food Memoir for the Creative Nonfiction Foundation.

Meghan O’Gieblyn is the author of the essay collections God, Human, Animal, Machine, and Interior States. Her essays, memoir, and criticism have appeared in Harper’s, the New Yorker, Tin House, Ploughshares, n+1, the Point, the Pushcart Prize anthologies, and The Best American Essays 2017. She received her MFA from University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she won the Jerome Sterns Teaching Award. You can read some of her work at her website.

Kelsey Osgood is a graduate of Columbia University and Goucher College’s creative nonfiction MFA program. She is the author of the memoir How to Disappear Completely: On Modern Anorexia, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. She has contributed to the New Yorker’s Culture Desk/Page Turner blog, Salon, New York, and Time, among other places, and has written on subjects as varied as Hasidic punk rockers, python hunting in the Everglades, and Icelandic liquor. Kelsey was also a consultant to former head of the FDA David Kessler, MD, on his book Capture: A Theory of the Mind. Her interests include religion, psychology, and literature. For more information, visit her website.

Leslie Rubinkowski directs the MFA in Creative Nonfiction program at Goucher College. She has also taught at the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University, and has lectured at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The author of Impersonating Elvis, her essays have appeared in Harper’sRiver Teeth, and Chautauqua.

Course Registration

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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. 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].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories

Testimonials

I feel more confident that I might actually be able to do this project and see it in print someday thanks to [the instructor’s] feedback and to [the Thirty-Minute Memoir] class.

Brooke Kowalke

FAQs

  • What day and time is my online course?

    Our courses run asynchronously; meaning, you will NOT need to be online at any particular time. Assignments for CNF classes are given on a weekly basis; you should submit each assignment by a given deadline, but in most classes you will have at least an entire week to complete the assignment. We realize that our students live in many different areas and have different work schedules, so classes are designed to be flexible. Courses feature one live conference session, which does require that you be online at a particular time; however, participation in this session is completely optional, and instructors make an effort to offer times that can accommodate most students. This is scheduled by the instructor after class begins.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.

  • Why Creative Nonfiction?

    As the voice of the genre, Creative Nonfiction has been offering online courses on the craft of creative nonfiction since 2011. With our focus solely on the genre of narrative nonfiction, each of our courses offers quality instruction, personalized feedback from a professional writer in the field, and opportunities to network with like-minded writers. To date, we’ve helped nearly 2,500 writers tell their true stories, better—and more than 50% of our students return to take more classes. 

    At Creative Nonfiction, we believe that…

    • Your story is important, whether you’re an experienced writer or just starting out;
    • Writing is a craft, and, like all crafts, can be taught and learned; and
    • All writers benefit from feedback and a sense of connection.

  • I’m pretty busy; will a CNF course work for me?

    Creative Nonfiction’s online courses are designed to accommodate people with busy schedules and other commitments. Many students have full-time jobs or family responsibilities, while others have more free time to devote to their writing. The flexible class schedule means that you can participate in the way that best fits your schedule.

  • What makes CNF’s classes different from other online programs?

    Flexibility

    Some online programs work on a “synchronous” model, which requires you to be online at an assigned time each week. The asynchronous model used in our classes means that you do not have to be online at any particular time of day, and can approach the class assignments at your own pace based on your schedule. While some optional events—such as class video conferences—do take place at a specific time, the majority of class activities can be completed according to your schedule.

    Intimate Classes

    Classes are small—limited to 14 students per section—which means you’ll receive individual attention and feedback on your work.

    Experienced Instructors

    Good writing instructors not only need to be skilled writers, but also need to have experience in teaching what they know to others. That’s why all of our instructors are professional writers with extensive teaching experience.

    Substantial and Meaningful Writing Assignments

    Many online writing programs ask you to complete short writing exercises each week, and only near the end of the class are you invited to write a single essay or chapter. At Creative Nonfiction, we recognize the value of exercises, but also believe that completing an essay or chapter is the best way for developing writers to really explore how all the elements of creative nonfiction work together. Writing complete pieces also leaves you with a sense of accomplishment and with work you can share when the class is completed. For this reason, in our classes you are invited to submit longer pieces multiple times during a course. See course syllabus for more information.

    Sense of Connection

    We realize that it is difficult to find one’s writing community—which is why we now offer every new student membership to a Community Page where you can meet with other CNF students, during and after class.

  • 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.