Semester Course: Using Creative Techniques to Craft Nonfiction Writing

For some learners, nonfiction writing, including essay writing, can be a difficult task. While sometimes this can be simple writer’s block, other times repeatedly writing nonfiction or essays to conform to assignment guidelines can create a block. In addition to simply trying to follow guidelines, often assignments are always structured the same, even though learners have different ways of approaching the task.

From Hook to Revision: A Full Fiction Writing Course on Outschool.

In this eleven-week class series we will do creative exercises, and then translate what we have done to nonfiction work. This allows readers to approach writing from a completely different angle, and also forces them to think about how to write from a fresh approach. Lessons learned can then be applied to more formulaic writing, making it both easier and less stressful.

Week one: Welcome to class! This is the no structure, relaxed week. Let’s start by breaking down writing blocks, and talk about what traps you in your writing.

Week two – Characterization: When we write fiction we know that characters are important and must be believable, but does that translate to writing nonfiction? Surprisingly, it does, so how can we use this in our writing?

Week three – Setting: Everyone knows that in fiction a setting is the time, place, and environment of where the story takes place. How do we use this in our nonfiction work?

Week four – Plot: A plot is the map that your character takes from the beginning to the end of the story. There is also a map for nonfiction writing, but sometimes it is harder to follow. So what are the tips and tricks?

Week five – POV: From first person, to second person, to third person. How do you choose what voice to use in your piece? Did you even know you could use different voices in nonfiction writing?

Week six – Scenes and summaries: All fiction stories are made of fleshed-out scenes where we see every detail, as well as summaries where we move quickly through the story. Guess what: Nonfiction has scenes and summaries as well.

Week seven – Dialogue: Yes, there can be dialogue in nonfiction work.

Week eight – Hooks: How do you grab your reader with your beginning, and make then want to keep reading through to the end?

Weeks nine through eleven: We will be talking about what we have studied in the first eight weeks and work on short pieces and exercises that draw upon those lessons. By the end of the series, learners will be able to look at their nonfiction and essay writing from different angles, allowing for different approaches and less stress and apprehension when writing.