Finding Your Voice in Nonfiction
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Writing
Department: Writing Program
Course Number: NWRW 3403
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
"Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't," wrote Mark Twain. His words have even more resonance today, when so many actual events are harder to believe than the inventions of a novelist. Nonfiction offers limitless creative possibilities for contemporary writers willing to observe our complex world and translate their observations and experiences into dynamic prose full of insight and provocative ideas. This workshop is for serious beginners and experienced writers of essays, memoirs, narratives, humor, satire, travel, and op-ed pieces. Writing discipline is emphasized, and students receive writing prompts and assignments as well as working on their own projects. In workshop, they receive supportive critiques from their peers. Exercises and critiques are designed to help the writer develop a unique voice and style. The instructor offers guidance in using examples and anecdotes and incorporating dialogue and other techniques more common in fiction writing. For inspiration, we read and discuss exemplary work by Joan Didion, David Sedaris, Maureen Dowd, and E.B. White. Finally, print and online publishing markets are analyzed, with tips about submission strategies and marketing suggestions for publishable work.