Nonfiction Workshop: An Introduction to Nonfiction Writing


Nonfiction Workshop: An Introduction to Nonfiction Writing


Level: Introductory

Location: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Begins: July 22, 2019
Ends: September 15, 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

A Pushcart Prize nominee, C. Gregory Thompson writes short stories, plays, screenplays, novels and memoir. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Storgy Magazine, Writers Resist, Five:2:One, Cowboy Jamboree, Full Grown People, The Offbeat, Printers Row Journal and Reunion: The Dallas Review, among others. Four of his short stories were included in the 2017 New Short Fiction Series. He was named a finalist in the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival’s 2015 Fiction Contest. His short play Cherry won two playwriting awards. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing and Writing for the Performing Arts at the University of California, Riverside/Palm Desert. He also has a BFA in Film & Television from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Here he wrote and directed the awarding-winning student film “Elysian Fields.” He recently left a longtime career in the film business as an awards consultant to Hollywood studios and now devotes full time to writing and teaching. He lives in greater Los Angeles, California with his partner. Follow Thompson on Twitter @cgregthompson and on Instagram @cgregorythompson.


“C. Gregory Thompson's short stories are sharp and original slices cut from slightly warped, off-kilter worlds where the fantastical and magical often collides with the hard-bitten truth of daily life. It tastes fresh and fearless.”

 Mark Haskell Smith, Author of Naked at Lunch

 “C. Gregory Thompson illuminates the complex lives of a wide range of characters with great empathy, wit, and eloquence. He knows how to weave a compelling tale and present our secret dreams with grace and power.

 Mary Otis, Author of Yes, Yes Cherries

“‘Runner, Runner’ is a fantastic piece. It's the kind of profile of character and place we relish.”

Adam Van Winkle, Editor, Cowboy Jamboree