Creative Non-Fiction 1

How do you go from "this thing that happened" to a compelling piece of creative non-fiction?

In this introductory course, you will explore the various forms of creative non-fiction and the tools you need to write them effectively. Learn how to use research, interviews and your own memories to generate material, and then shape that material into a compelling piece of prose. Alongside these essential elements of the writers' toolbox, we will delve into the ethical implications of writing in the non-fiction genre, including the challenges that go with sharing personal stories and a writer's responsibility to the truth.

This course includes plenty of hands-on writing exercises to keep your pen moving, the opportunity to give and receive feedback on works in progress, and a reading list to keep you inspired long after the course is over.

It happened. We can help you write about it.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Christina Myers $628.95 22 Register

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will you learn?

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify the most common forms of creative non-fiction and incorporate formal considerations into your own writing
  • Use memory, research and interviews to generate writing material
  • Shape material into compelling prose while taking into consideration ethical standards and factual accuracy
  • Give and receive effective feedback on your work-in-progress
  • Maintain an ongoing reading practice and use your reading to inspire your writing

How will you learn?

Each week you will:

  • Read the weekly module
  • Complete additional reading (if assigned)
  • Complete a writing assignment (approximately 500 words)
  • Participate in a discussion based on your reading (approximately 250 words)
  • Read and provide feedback on other students’ work

Twice per term you will:

  • Submit a piece of your own writing for feedback (maximum 2500 words)

How will you be evaluated?

This course is graded using a competency-based grading scale. Read more here.

Learning materials

We encourage you to purchase these books from your local independent bookstore or the sources listed below.

Required textbooks:

Warland, Betsy. Breathing the Page: Reading the Act of Writing. Cormorant Books, 2010. ISBN-10: 1897151780, ISBN-13: 978-1897151785. 

Recommended reading:

Strunk, William and White, E.B. The Elements of Style (4th Edition). Pearson, 1999. ISBN-10: 9780205309023, ISBN-13: 978-0205309023. 

Thistle, Jesse. From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way. Simon & Schuster, 2019. ISBN-10: 1982101210, ISBN-13: 978-1982101213.

Hardware and software requirements 

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See About Online Learning for helpful videos and additional information.

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