fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Fall Quarter

Fall Quarter Underway
Late-Start Classes
Still Available
shopping cart icon0


« Back to Creative Writing

CNF 78 W — Telling True Stories: Writing the Nonfiction Book

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 20—Dec 3
Refund Deadline: Sep 23
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Anne Zimmerman
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 20—Dec 3
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 23
3 Units
Anne Zimmerman
Please Note: No class the week of November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
The secret of good writing is telling the truth.—Gordon Lish

This course aims to get you started (and keep you going) on the nonfiction project you’ve always wanted to write. Whether you’ve been dreaming of writing a memoir or a biography, a book about history, true crime, or travel, this course will help you to find your unique angle and produce pages. We’ll begin with basics: sharpening your premise, thinking about and conducting research, creating an outline, and narrative arc. Next we’ll jump into the actual work of writing, with weekly creative assignments designed to push you along. Readings and discussions will illuminate the choices that all long-form authors must make: what point of view to take; how to navigate shifts of time; balancing plot versus story; what details to include and what to omit; how to structure and pace the story; when to let it flow and when to revise. By the end of the course, you’ll have at least one completed (and critiqued) chapter and multiple short pieces of writing from which to build new chapters. You'll also have clear vision for the path to take to The End.


Anne Zimmerman’s first book was An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher. She has compiled and published two subsequent collections of Fisher’s work: Love in a Dish…and Other Culinary Delights, and M.F.K. Fisher: Musings on Wine and Other Libations. She has written for Mix, TASTE, and Mother magazines, The Kitchn, Tasting Table, and Edible Communities, among other publications.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Natasha Trethewey, Memorial Drive: A Daughter's Memoir (ISBN 0062248588)
(Required) Lee Gutkind, You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction -- from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between (ISBN 0738215546)