July 12 - August 15
Often, as nonfiction writers, we start with memories and experiences. But memories are incomplete—and can be inaccurate. For this reason, writers sometimes rely on photographs as a type of evidence or proof. But a photograph is a complicated artifact—an object, an image, a memory touchstone. Drawing on photographs that intrigue, haunt, or prompt forgotten memories, this course explores the rich possibilities of the space between photograph and experience.
This course will offer new approaches for students at all levels—from those looking for inspiration to those working through an ongoing project. Plus, writing from photographs can make the work of starting a piece of writing easier by giving you a concrete moment to describe, reflect, and expand on. Description is both showing and telling, and the process of describing can open up a whole world.
We will look at how writers find stories in photographs and consider how the simplicity of a photo can prompt a variety of writerly paths. Through directed prompts, you will experiment with low-stakes writings inspired by your own photographs.
A photograph is as much about what it captures as what it leaves out. In this second week, students will explore and experiment with turning a self-selected photograph from image to scene. In this process, we will consider the particulars of description, voice, and writerly presence.
Like the focus of a camera lens, a personal essay asks us to make decisions about the details and subject of a piece. In this week, you will explore ways of using focused and nuanced details to expand and give depth to the writing you have been developing.
Moving from image to draft is a process of development and refinement. A draft of the essay will be due this week. We will address how to find the strengths of the essay and approaches to revision in preparation for sharing with the larger group.
The final week offers students a chance for group feedback; insights and ideas from peer readers will provide suggestions for giving the writing a more solid frame and focus. We will also discuss possible publication opportunities for the individual essays as well as tips for pitching a short-form personal essay.
Early Registration ends 06/15/2021 $310.00 $260.00
27 in stock
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].
Creative Nonfiction's online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.
Jenna is a remarkable teacher. Her lectures were extensive, thought-provoking, her reading lists and outside references outstanding, and her critiques extensive and probing. I think this is the fifth class I’ve taken with CNF (the second with Jenna) — her work, both in bringing together the participants, and giving pointed, personal instruction, is by far the best I’ve experienced.Cope Cumpston
Jenna is a remarkable teacher. Her lectures were extensive, thought-provoking, her reading lists and outside references outstanding, and her critiques extensive and probing. I think this is the fifth class I’ve taken with CNF (the second with Jenna) — her work, both in bringing together the participants, and giving pointed, personal instruction, is by far the best I’ve experienced.
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.
FlexibilitySome 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 throughout the week 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 ClassesClasses are small—limited to 14 students per section—which means you’ll receive individual attention and feedback on your work.
Experienced InstructorsGood 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 AssignmentsMany 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 that you can share when the class is completed. For this reason, in our classes you are invited to submit longer essays multiple times during a course. See course syllabus for more information.
Sense of ConnectionWe 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.
Our terms include 5- and 10-week courses and run in fall (September-December), winter (January-March), and spring (April-June). In summer (June-July), we offer only 5-week courses.
Communities are forums in Wet.Ink where members can connect and interact around writing. Every online CNF student is a member of the general “Creative Nonfiction Community,” and each course includes an opportunity to join a private community with your classmates for when class is over.
Sometimes spaces open up as people’s schedules change. If you’d like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please contact us here.
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