The Story’s in the Details: Assemble the Past to Build Your Future Narrative

Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 @ 2 pm -3 pm Eastern

As storytellers, we need to know things like how the air smelled or the texture of someone’s hair or the layout of a home—but such details are hard to find and easy to lose.

Research can be the beating heart of a narrative—but ineffectively organized research (or completely unorganized research!) can leave you with a mess of computer files, cause you to spend days tracking down things you were sure were here somewhere, and even require you to omit beautiful stories and details that you cannot reliably source. Maybe you have folders on your computer that are full of haphazard photos or scans of documents, but you rarely look at them because there are so many and the file names are just strings of numbers, leaving you unsure what they are anymore. Or maybe your research is nicely archived in your computer, but when you need to describe a character’s home, you can’t remember which document holds that description.

Additional Information

In this webinar, we’ll explore concrete systems that will help you organize your material in ways that will help streamline the research-to-story process. We’ll start with tips for collecting and organizing—photos and scans from archives, books, and databases—and end with you at your desk, writing and readily finding the details you need when you need them.

In this webinar, you will learn how to:

  • COLLECT information efficiently, using hacks that make later organization easier
  • ORGANIZE documents and photographs in ways that make sense for your story
  • RECORD where small pieces of information live, so you can find them (and cite them) when your story needs them

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for anyone interested in learning how to collect and organize information to shape your story-building. Open to all levels

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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


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill