Nonfiction Workshop: An Introduction to Nonfiction Writing


Nonfiction Workshop: An Introduction to Nonfiction Writing


Level: Introductory

Location: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Begins: April 1, 2019
Ends: May 26, 2019


Nonfiction writing encompasses a wide array of disciplines from memoir, to essay, to biography, to historical, to opinion pieces, to creative nonfiction, to newspaper and magazine articles. This class will take inspiration from (a master in the nonfiction arena) Dinty Moore’s definition: “Creative nonfiction reports and reflects on events, places, lives, and ideas using techniques most often associated with fiction (intimate detail, rounded characters, cinematic scene, vivid setting, dialogue, insight, conflict) and poetry (imagery, metaphor, the entire richness of words). Creative Nonfiction does not mean that one is creative with the truth; the creative nonfiction writer is creative with language and structure.”

In this 8-week class, the student will learn the basics of nonfiction writing. The instructor will walk you through the step-by-step process of the elements that go into writing a piece of short nonfiction. Despite the variety of options for a finished piece (memoir, essay, biography), there are basic rules that apply to all forms of nonfiction; a basis of the discipline. Style, voice, and revision will also be discussed.

By the time that the class is over, the student will have a solid understanding of nonfiction writing as well as an arsenal of tools for continuing to write in the nonfiction arena. Each student will start a short nonfiction piece during the class. The coursework will include assigned readings, writing exercises and interaction with the instructor. You will receive written feedback on your work on a weekly basis.

Class Outline

Week 1: Elements of Nonfiction

Week 2: Who is Telling Your Story?

Week 3: Inciting Incidents

Week 4: Now and Then

Week 5: Characters in Nonfiction: Creating a Persona

Week 6: The Narrator’s Body

Week 7: Endings and Beginnings

Week 8: Wrapping It All Up

Instructor Bio

Sara Marchant received her MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts from the University of California, Riverside/Palm Desert. Her work has been published by The Manifest Station, Every Writer’s Resource, Full Grown People, Brilliant Flash Fiction, The Coachella Review, Writers Resist, East Jasmine Review, Jewish Fiction, and ROAR. Her nonfiction appears in the WOC anthology All the Women in My Family Sing, and her novella Let Me Go was anthologized by Running Wild Press. She teaches Critical Thinking and Writing at Mt. San Jacinto College. Sara is also a founding editor of Writers Resist.


“With her observant eye and subtly brilliant insight, Sara Marchant captures moments in people’s lives that are powerfully universal, that would otherwise be overlooked, forgotten, their truths unmined. Her essays and narrative nonfiction offer indelible images of humanity at its best, its worst, and at its wonderfully eccentric and funny and heartbreaking. Sara’s writing is sparse, yet rich, and so important.”

Kit-Bacon Gressit, Prose Editor, Writers Resist

“Sara Marchant has definitely furthered my education in critical thinking and writing. Ms. Marchant, a skilled professor, shows no boundaries in the ways she helps advance her students to new levels in their writing and in their ability to think critically.”

Ulysses Jaramillo, Student, Critical Thinking and Writing, Mt. San Jacinto College

“Sara Marchant is a great teacher. She‘s always quick to respond and super helpful. She’s also lots of fun, plus she’s really smart and diligent. She puts 110%, if not more, into performing whatever task is at hand. I give her the highest of recommendations.”

Justin Perkins, Student, Critical Thinking and Writing, Mt. San Jacinto College