Nonfiction Workshop: Intermediate Nonfiction Writing


Nonfiction Workshop: Intermediate Nonfiction Writing


Level: Intermediate

Instructor: Kelly Shire

Location: Online
Duration: 8 weeks
Begins: September 30 2019
Ends: November 24, 2019


This class is for the student who already knows the basics of nonfiction writing. It is also for those of you who are at, or near, the beginning of a nonfiction work whether it be a personal essay, a memoir or other types of creative nonfiction. If you took our Introduction to Nonfiction Writing workshop, then this is the next class for you.

This 8-week intermediate class is for writers who already have a grasp of the persona, audience, and purpose driving their work—albeit personal essay, memoir, or other creative nonfiction. In this class, we bring each student’s project further towards the ultimate goal of completion by using drafting, critique, and revision. The class starts with a quick review of the elements that go into nonfiction writing. We delve deeper into those elements as the weeks progress. Craft readings and writing exercises are a part of each week’s assignments. Students submit work for instructor feedback each week. They also exchange feedback with other students twice during the term (during weeks four and eight). Like all Pen and Paper Writing Workshops, this class is conducted in a safe, nurturing and caring environment.

Class Outline

Week 1: A Quick Review of Nonficition Writing Elements

Week 2: The Process of Drafting

Week 3: How Critiquing is Used

Week 4: Let’s Start Revising

Week 5: A Deeper Look at Characters

Week 6: Digging Down: The Use of Time

Week 7: Further Investigation of the Persona

Week 8: A Look Back & A Finished 1st Draft

Instructor Bio

Kelly Shire holds an MFA in Fiction from California State University, Long Beach, but these days primarily writes nonfiction and personal essays.

Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous online and print journals, including Brevity Magazine, Under the Gum Tree, Entropy, The Coachella Review, Full Grown People,  Hippocampus, and The Museum of Americana.  Many of her essays engage with pop culture, especially music, and she has contributed essays to Memoir Mixtapes, The RS 500 online project, and March Vladness, an annual music genre tourney curated by editor Ander Monson.

In 2016, she was the winner of the inaugural merit scholarship to attend the HippoCamp Nonfiction conference in Lancaster, PA and has also attended workshops sponsored by Tin House and the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Her essay “I Dream of Department Stores” appears in the anthology SPENT: Exposing Our Complicated Relationship with Shopping, published by Seal Press.

Kelly is a third-generation native of Southern California and continues to live in the region with her husband and two teenagers. She has previously taught composition and creative writing classes at CSU Long Beach, Chapman University, and Mt. San Jacinto College Extension. Currently, she is a library assistant at a public high school and is completing a memoir about family, music, and road trips.



“I recently took a non-fiction memoir writing class with Kelly Shire and it was fabulous! Kelly was very engaging, encouraging, and super accepting of everyone in the class. Always prepared, always fun.”

Tiffany  Weis, Murrieta, CA