Creative Nonfiction and the Personal Essay (10 weeks)
With Laurie Wagner & Gretchen Clark
If you have a story to tell, if you're fairly confessional and believe that truth is stranger than fiction, then the creative nonfiction, personal essay writing class is for you.
Creative nonfiction and personal essay are powerhouses in the story-telling genre. They're the volcanic marriage of real life and fiction, and a chance to deliver our stories with sass, color and voice. By using a variety of techniques such as dialogue, melody and narrative, creative non-fiction and personal essay breathe new life into the ordinary telling of our tales.
Anything is fodder for creative nonfiction; the fight you had with the supermarket check-out person, the time your brother ran you over with his bike, your first real kiss and the lessons you learned about yourself when you stopped to give change to the corner panhandler. By delving into our experiences we squeeze the marrow from our lives and explore our emotional territory, sharing and making meaning out of the events in our lives.
The ten-week class class will focus on finding our voice and discovering our stories, editing our material, and learning the non-fiction markets. There will be a weekly writing assignment and students will come away from class with at least four finished essays.
CLASS OUTLINE Topics listed will be covered in emailed "mini-lectures." In addition, every other week, beginning with week two, participants will be asked to email drafts of specified parts of their work to the entire list, and to provide feedback on the work of others.
Creative Nonfiction and the Personal Essay 2 (10 weeks)
With Laurie Wagner & Gretchen Clark
This is the natural next class for writers who have already taken Personal Essay part 1.
In this 10-week class we will continue our journey of drafting and polishing personal essays, as well as developing a more consistent and sturdy writing practice that writers can lean into and which will boost their confidence.
During our time together we will:
- Write and polish our personal essay with an opportunity to turn in a 1,200 words piece a week.
- Become story magnets, learning how to sniff out the stories that lurk in our lives and then write them.
- Dig into our nonfiction characters as well as scene, learning how to bring these people and places alive in our essays.
- Learn how to create a weekly writing practice that helps us become more organized and steadfast in our commitment to writing
- Receive feedback and become more comfortable with the critiquing process.
- Start to pay attention to the market with an eye on sending out work
There will be at least five lectures sprinkled throughout the 10-weeks, and small mini lectures meant to encourage and inspire will be posted in between.
I really enjoyed Personal Essay with Laurie and Gretchen, and actually got a piece picked up by Creative Non Fiction for an anthology to be released in the spring, due in no small part to their encouragement and comments. I want more!
Laurie and Gretchen's "Creative Nonfiction and the Personal Essay" course was the first course I took when I decided I wanted to try writing. This was a wonderful course. Laurie and Gretchen created a real sense of community and the other participants in the course offered great feedback and encouragement. For me, the best part of the course was the detailed feedback we were given by the instructors. Gretchen helped me with an essay that is now being published in an online magazine. I'm very grateful for this experience and would highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to be both supported and challenged to create their best work.
I loved everything about this class. Gretchen and Laurie did careful readings of my essays and gave me encouraging and useful suggestions that made me want to sit down at the computer and get to work. I would do the whole thing all over again, and it's my plan to register for their Fall class as soon as I get word it's available.
The class was wonderful. Couldn't have had better teachers. Wonderful about letting us veer in our own directions at times. They provided a very nurturing environment for everyone. ... Their comments were very helpful and clearly they know their stuff. ... I would absolutely take another class from either instructor. I can't give them a glowing enough review. ... This is the way you dream a class will work.
This was my first online course, and I'm very glad I took it. I feel that the tuition was money well-spent and I emerge from this experience wiser about the subject and very much encouraged to continue my writing using techniques I learned in class.
By the way, my first published essay appears in this month's issue of Adoptive Families magazine! I worked on it with Laurie. I also have another one that they are supposed to post on their website at some point, as well as a third that is supposed to be broadcast on New Hampshire Public Radio sometime around in January (I've already recorded it). Obviously, Laurie has been a great teacher!
Great treasures of wealth from two capable excellent teachers... different personalities but loved the union and what they both brought to me ... it made the class rich for me.
I felt very connected to both teachers and keep rereading their comments. They took so much care and time. They made me feel that they respected my attempts to express myself. They made me feel that I am a writer even though I am new to developing my voice. I have been writing for two years. It takes me along time to edit one piece. I set it aside long enough to try to put myself in the reader's place to see how confusing I am. During this class I was so excited to just write and even though I kept editing and rereading I knew that every week my teachers (with fresh eyes) would do a lot of work to point out the specific needs for clarifications. I really cannot express all my appreciation for their attention and how much I treasure the bonding that I felt.
The lessons were creative and very inspiring. These teachers know their stuff! and they had lots of current examples for a broad perspective. The lessons were thought-provoking, and I loved the flexibility of having several appealing choices for assignments... Both laurie and gretchen are wonderful teachers. They gave thoughtful and extensive comments on everyone's work, and respected each student for their individual talents and perspective. They built great comraderie within the class, so we all learned a lot from each other as well.
The writing critiques were very worthwhile and helped me to find direction during rewrites. I really feel like my writing has grown. With the teacher? Both teachers were insightful and generous with their time. Their comments and suggestions made me feel that they took my work seriously and respected my efforts.
Writers.com / Writers on the Net