What is creative nonfiction?

Maybe you’ve heard the term thrown around in writing circles and you’re not quite sure what it means—how is “creative” nonfiction different than plain old nonfiction? Just as fiction has many sub-genres (mystery, romance, sci-fi, literary, etc.), creative nonfiction also has sub-genres.
This six-week audio course explores eight sub-genres of creative nonfiction: biography & autobiography, memoir, personal essay, lyric essay, meditative essay, literary journalism, and flash nonfiction. Lessons will discuss work of creative nonfiction that exemplifies these sub-genres; look at how published authors successfully execute their pieces in each of these forms; and include writing prompts for you to spend time writing your own creative nonfiction. Above all, we will leave room for exploring how creative nonfiction is often undefined, unruly and, sometimes, unavoidable.
CNF 101 is designed as a survey course, which means that our attention will be on exploring and understanding the genre in its many forms. Although there will be time for writing, that is not our central focus. The goal of this course is to foster a greater understanding of the creative nonfiction genre so that when you leave and sit down to your next piece of writing you may readily identify the form that it wants or needs to take.

 


 

 How does this audio course work, anyway?

Each week you’ll receive an email with all the necessary lesson components: audio recording, link to download files if necessary, and writing prompts. The audio recording will be available for downloading on any device you choose and you can listen to the lesson at your leisure.
Although it’s structured as a six-week course, the course is ultimately self-paced. You’ll receive one new email every week for six weeks after you sign up, and you will always have access to the material. That means you can listen and progress each week, or you can take two weeks to get through one lesson—there are no homework assignments to turn in or deadlines to meet, so it really is up to you!

 


 

 At the end of six weeks you will:

    • understand how the literary world talks about creative nonfiction as a genre
    • have read excellent examples of creative nonfiction’s different forms
    • have practiced writing in each of the CNF sub-genres
    • have access to the course material for future reference
    • have continued access to a private Facebook group with other course participants
    • be familiar with many resources available for continuing to explore creative nonfiction

 


 

 About the Instructor

Janna Marlies Maron holds an MA in Creative Writing and has been writing creative nonfiction for nearly her entire life, but she never knew what to call it until grad school. She has more than ten years of professional publishing experience at both newspapers and magazines, and she’s also an editor and publisher of creative nonfiction. You may have heard of her magazine, Under the Gum Tree, which exclusively publishes creative nonfiction. The magazine celebrated its five-year anniversary in October 2016, which means that Janna has read hundreds of submissions and can speak directly to what works and what doesn’t work in the genre. You can read more about Janna on the about page of this website or by reading her blog where she shares her personal story, which is the driving force behind her passion for creative nonfiction.

 


 

 What do I need to participate?

You will need to have reliable Internet access, ability to download and listen to mp3 audio files, ability to download and save pdf files, an email address that you check regularly and your preferred method of writing. You will also need access to a printer if you prefer to print assigned readings, which will be available online for you to download.

 


 

 Do I need to have experience writing nonfiction?

Experience writing nonfiction will be helpful, but it is not required. This course is designed specifically for writers who are uncertain of how to shape their nonfiction work. That often means that you have an experience you want to write about, but are unsure of how to begin, or you have been journaling for a while and are unsure of how to organize the writing into something more cohesive. Bring your nonfiction work, or come prepared to explore the genre for the first time.

 


 

Start your CNF journey today!

You’ve been wanting to explore the creative nonfiction genre and tell your true story. This is the perfect opportunity to do just that and I hope you will join me in this audio course. Click the button below to register and your first email will be delivered right away. I look forward to having you.