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CNF 67 W — Creative Nonfiction Book: From Conception to Completion

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 23—Dec 6
Drop Deadline: Sep 26
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Julia Scheeres
Limit: 17
Status: Open
Please Note: No class the week of November 25

Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is September 26th at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is October 1st at 5:00 pm (PT).
Fall
Date(s)
Sep 23—Dec 6
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 26
3 Units
Fees
$910
Instructor(s):
Julia Scheeres
Limit
17
Open
Please Note: No class the week of November 25

Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is September 26th at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is October 1st at 5:00 pm (PT).
The beauty of writing a nonfiction book is that the material you are working with is finite. You don’t have to create worlds or characters from thin air. Instead, truth dictates the content and scope of your book. But truth can also be limiting—especially when you’re writing about people you didn’t know or events that you did not witness or that happened long ago.

In this course, you will learn how to work within the bounds of truth to create a compelling narrative. You will learn how to craft an outline that identifies major events and themes in your work, which in turn will allow you to hone and expedite your project. We will review the nuts-and-bolts of good writing, including how to write vivid scenes (even if you weren’t a witness to the events you describe); how to identify the elements that will give your manuscript universal appeal; how to chart character and narrative arcs; and how to create tension on the page that will engage your reader and help you avoid the middle-section doldrums. Readings will include essays and excerpts from noted nonfiction authors such as Adam Hochschild, Katherine Boo, John McPhee, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Students will also read the instructor’s book A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown to get a close-up view into the process of writing, researching, and publishing a work of narrative nonfiction.

Julia Scheeres, Author

Julia Scheeres is the author of the memoir Jesus Land, which was a New York Times and London Times bestseller. Her second book, A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown, was named a best book of the year by many news outlets. Her essays and articles have appeared in publications ranging from Elle to The New York Times. She is a member of the San Francisco Writers Grotto.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)