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CNF 65 W — Giving Voice: Writing About Characters and Experiences in Your Everyday Life

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 14—Mar 22
Drop Deadline: Jan 17
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Michele Filgate
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is January 17 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is January 22 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Winter
Date(s)
Jan 14—Mar 22
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 17
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Michele Filgate
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is January 17 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is January 22 at 5:00 pm (PT).
The novelist and memoirist Kate Christensen says that “the story of a life lives in what you would rather not admit or say.” Writing about your own experiences can be difficult. How will your family members respond? How can you make yourself vulnerable on the page? How can you capture a person you are close with in a way that is compelling, and turn them into a believable and multidimensional character? In this course, you will focus on how to tell the stories that live inside of you. You will learn how to mine your own life, transforming it into art through personal essays. We will read work by some of the masters of the form, like Lidia Yuknavitch, Garnette Cadogan, Jo Ann Beard, Roxane Gay, John Jeremiah Sullivan, and T Kira Madden. We will focus on structure, dialogue, and sensory details, among other important elements of the craft of essay writing. Students will also have a weekly writing prompt. All students will workshop two essays and finish the course with more self-assurance in their own unique voice. Jo Ann Beard says that when she’s writing, “It’s like walking on the bottom of the ocean, all these incredible creatures float past, neon and scary, so absorbing, but the surface is always calling.” In this course, you will learn how to avoid the siren call of the surface in order to explore the deeper waters connected to your truths.

Michele Filgate, Writer

Michele Filgate is a contributing editor at Literary Hub. Her work has appeared in Longreads, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Paris Review Daily, Tin House, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, and Salon, among other publications. Filgate teaches creative nonfiction for the Sackett Street Writers’ Workshop and Catapult. She is at work on an anthology based on her Longreads essay, “What My Mother and I Don’t Talk About,” forthcoming in 2019.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Sherry Ellis, Now Write! Nonfiction: Memoir, Journalism, and Creative Nonfiction Exercises from Today’s Best Writers (ISBN 978-1585427581)
(Required) Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story (ISBN 978-0374528584)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)