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Winter Registration Opens Nov 29
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CNF 43 W — Creative Nonfiction: How to Grab Your Reader

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 10—Mar 18
Refund Deadline: Jan 13
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Julia Scheeres
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Registration opens Nov 29, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jan 10—Mar 18
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 13
3 Units
Julia Scheeres
Registration opens Nov 29, 8:30 am (PT)
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
How do we engage our readers on a deep emotional level? Much depends on a book’s opening pages. In them, the author must set up the central drama, introduce tension, and present dynamic characters that keep readers turning pages, eager to learn their fate. This course will show you techniques to accomplish this. Our strategies will include masterful storytelling, artful language, and a clear sense of theme and direction (although a little mystery never hurts). Close readings of the opening pages of works by Mary Karr, Sonali Deraniyagala, Ernest Gaines, Truman Capote, and others will underscore how successful authors hook their readers from the get-go. In addition to weekly writing exercises, students will work on crafting a compelling chapter of their own book and receive supportive feedback from their peers and instructor. This course is a good fit for memoirists and creative nonfiction writers of any level—those who have yet to start their book and those who have finished a draft but are unsure of its “hook.”


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 The Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle. She writes for numerous publications and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.