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The Nonfiction Workshop explores the different modes of non-fiction writing by providing community workshop participants with excerpts of different kinds of creative non-fiction (including Memoir, New Journalism, nontraditional “reviews,” travel writing, lyric essay, personal essay, literary argumentative essay, etc.) to help decide which techniques and styles work best with the information each writer would like to convey in their work.
Nonfiction is a relatively new genre, and the sub-genres within it can often be quite different—such as journalism versus memoir versus lyrical essay. Because of this, I find it can be somewhat problematic to try and segregate nonfiction workshops into some of these narrow compartments*
By offering a wide array of shorter readings that explore the genre, the writing for each student can be unique to their own project. Since community workshops traditionally don’t have a heavy reading load, these short readings will focus on acquiring the “tools’’ of nonfiction writing in quick bursts, so that many different methods can be practiced as the writing process unfolds.
In the case of a memoir-writing workshop, the supplemental readings would be more focused on memoir and personal essay, but would not discount the importance of correct investigative research, interviewing and fact checking throughout the writing process. Additionally, discussions on the merit and limitations of creative license and reporting fact in non-fiction writing would be addressed—as well as the fine line between creating engaging, authentic scenes and fabrication fiction.
*Note: I think Memoir is the exception to this and a class could be labeled as a memoir writing class—however, it would be naïve to say that memoir writing does not or cannot involve aspects of investigative journalism, lyrical and personal essay, and the like.
To inquire about future Memoir/Nonfiction Workshops, please go to the Contact Page.