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Play with Pattern: Crafting the Braided and Collage Essays

Self-Guided // 4-Week Online Course

Play with Pattern: Crafting the Braided and Collage Essays

July 29 - August 25

It’s never too late to start!
Enrollment is OPEN through August 19

Refund and cancellation policies

Since 2011, Creative Nonfiction’s online courses have helped thousands of writers tell their stories better. Let us help you stay motivated and inspired through our self-guided course!

Often experimenting with a new form is the best way to get unstuck and gain a fresh perspective on your writing. Perhaps you’re wondering how to become more experimental or looser in your writing, or you may be at an impasse with material you’ve been working with. In this generative course, we will examine the creative potential of juxtaposing themes through collage or a braided technique. Using writing prompts, readings, and discussion questions, you will explore how to breathe life into a subject through weaving of material and use of space. This class will provide tips and practice in using these forms as a way to make your writing fresh and engaging, both for your reader and for yourself.

This course will offer new approaches for students at all levels—from those looking for inspiration to those working through an ongoing project.

Each week provides:

  • PROMPTS to help you generate new writing
  • INSPIRATION in the form of written lectures and a selection of readings

After the course closes: you will receive a zip file containing all of the work you developed during the month. 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 with other writers.


Complete Syllabus

Week 1 - Space and Juxtaposition
In this first week, you will examine models of collage essays, thinking about how they ask the reader to participate in the construction of meaning. What does this look like from the writer’s side?  Through directed prompts, you will investigate how collage can be a tool of creative investigation

Week 2 - Creating Resonance in Collage Pieces
You will further explore collage, pacing, and revision. How can collaged pieces draw a reader along?  What is that engine?  You will look for repetitions (of motifs/images/language) in pieces by others and analyze how that is working in your own responses to writing exercises.

Week 3 - Braided Pieces and How the Weaving Works
This week will address models of braided pieces and how they work. You’ll look at your own interests and begin mining your life for threads of language or subject matter, unlocking their creative potential.

Week 4 - Following the Threads
You will build on your thinking about collage and braiding, investigating how these techniques can enliven old drafts or help you find your way into new work. Whether or not the final piece is strictly in the form of collage or braided essay, how can you bring these techniques into your writing practice? End the course with a better understanding of how loose connections,  juxtapositions, and the joining of disparate ideas are central to the creative life.

See schedule of all available classes »

Refund and cancellation policies

By 5pm EST, July 30th, participants can request a refund or credit transfer.

After 5 pm EST, July 30th, no refunds can be issued.