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CNF 02 W — Creative Nonfiction II: Diving Deep and Surfacing

Quarter: Spring
Date(s): Mar 28—Jun 3
Duration: 10 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Mar 31
Unit(s): 3 Units
Tuition: $805
Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Limit: Limit 17
Status: Closed
This course will help you expand and amplify the initial ideas behind the creative nonfiction book you seek to write, leading to a solid sense of the book’s direction and scope. We will work on the minute questions (your sentences and style) and the larger aspects (structure and intention), as well as everything in between (scene and chapter shape). Short readings from some of the best published creative nonfiction authors (Joan Didion, Richard Rodriguez, James Baldwin, and others) will offer new possibilities to us as writers. The weekly writing assignments that grow out of our reading will focus on new craft elements and new approaches to craft. In addition, we will tangle with many of the options available to the nonfiction writer: scene versus compressed narration; incorporating research; building comprehensive, revealing worlds; the act of memory; and effective outlines. Students will submit either one full-length chapter of fifteen to thirty pages, or two shorter excerpts of ten pages each, for workshop. By the end of the course, you will have more pages on your desk, a new set of writing strategies, and a clear map of what lies ahead.

This is an online course. For more information about the Online Writing Program, visit our FAQs.

Please note: This is the second course of the three-quarter sequence, “The Creative Nonfiction Book.” For those who want to write a book of creative nonfiction, “Creative Nonfiction I” (Winter), “Creative Nonfiction II” (Spring), and “Creative Nonfiction III” (Summer) will provide invaluable instruction and a supportive community. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Lewis Buzbee, Faculty, MFA in Writing Program, University of San Francisco

Lewis Buzbee is the author of Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, and three novels for younger readers, Steinbeck’s Ghost, The Haunting of Charles Dickens, and Bridge of Time. He received an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) ed. Atwan and Oates, Best American Essays of the Century (ISBN 9780618155873)