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CNF 43 W — Creative Nonfiction: How to Grab Your Reader

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 9
Refund Deadline: Apr 6
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Julia Scheeres
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Apr 3—Jun 9
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 6
3 Units
Julia Scheeres
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, either). Close readings of the opening pages of works by Mary Karr, Sonali Deraniyagala, Ernest J. 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.

Author; Editor; Book Reviewer

Julia Scheeres is the author of the memoir Jesus Land, which was a New York Times and London Times bestseller and received an Alex Award from the American Library Association. Her second book, A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Jonestown, was named a "Best Book of the Year" by several papers and was included in The Guardian's "Top 10 Books about the 1970s." She writes for numerous publications and is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review. She is a member of The Writers Grotto.

Textbooks for this course:

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