Creative Nonfiction 101 Level 1: 6 Weeks

at Gotham Writers' Workshop - Online

Course Details
$334 6 seats left
Start Date:

Thu, Aug 05, 7:00pm - Sep 09, 10:00pm Eastern Time (6 sessions)

Price includes $25 registration fee.
Purchase Options
Class Level: Beginner
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 14
Teacher: Rachel Simon

Flexible Reschedule Policy: This provider has flexible, free rescheduling for any-in person workshop. Please see the cancellation policy for more details

What you'll learn in this creative writing class:

Nonfiction—pieces that spring from the real world—is everywhere. Magazines, newspapers, books, blogs, websites. And nonfiction has grown more diverse and creative than ever, embracing all styles from straight to zany to lyrical, encompassing every topic imaginable from schoolyard memories to a trek in Nepal to the creation of the universe.

Here you will gain an introduction to six major forms of creative nonfiction— memoir, personal essay, feature articles, profiles, reviews, and travel writing. You’ll learn what they are and how to create them. It’s a sampler platter, with no pressure to work on a specific project or settle on which type of nonfiction you prefer.

If you’re eager to explore the endless possibilities of nonfiction, your guided tour begins here.

The 101 courses do not include workshopping of student projects, but students write and receive feedback on writing exercises and assignments.


Introduction to Creative Nonfiction: What is Creative Nonfiction? The difference between articles and essays. The role of the angle. Imagination in nonfiction writing.

Focus: Feature articles.

Characters in Nonfiction: Transforming flesh-and-blood people into characters in a story. Using angles to define characters. Using character sketches to craft angles.

Focus: Profiles.

Being Subjective: The art of description in nonfiction. When to be subjective. How to be opinionated but fair.

Focus: Reviews.

Sense of Place in Nonfiction: Setting descriptions. Finding and re-creating the mood. Use of observation. The difference between travel articles and travel essays.

Focus: Travel writing.

Personal Narratives: Differences between forms of personal narrative. Structure of essays vs. articles. Use of reflection and point of view.

Focus: Personal essay.

The Life of the Writer: Drawing from your own life for your stories. Making room in your life for storytelling. Persistence and perseverance.

Focus: Memoir writing.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy

Note: This provider has a temporary cancellation policy for COVID-19 related cancellations which is as follows: 

We offer refunds if students withdraw two or more days before a class begins. This comes with a $50 fee, but we will likely waive this for Coronavirus situations.   


Original cancellation policy (non-COVID-19):

All Classes (except One-days and Write-Ins)
For a refund or credit, contact us two business days or more before your class starts. You can either choose to hold a full credit with us good for one year on other Gotham classes OR you can opt for a refund less a $25 administrative fee and your $25 registration fee ($50 total).

If you need to withdraw after your class has started (or one business day before it starts), you won’t receive a refund, but you’re welcome to a Gotham credit less the price of Week 1 and your $25 registration fee, but we need to hear from you two business days or more before Week 2 meets for that to happen. After that point, no credits are available.

One-day Intensives
You may reschedule a One-day Intensive one time, if you notify us before the class begins.

If you notify us two business days or more before your class begins, rescheduling is free. If you notify us less than two business days before your class begins, there is a $25 rescheduling fee. If you don’t notify us until after your class begins, we cannot reschedule you.

You may get a refund (minus a $50 fee) if you notify us two business days or more before your class begins.

If you withdraw two hours or more before it begins, you’re welcome to a full credit good for one year toward another Write-In. No refunds are available. If you simply don’t show up and don’t notify us in advance, you forfeit your money.

A few more things
Credits are valid for one year and cannot be changed into refunds down the road.Simply not attending class or notifying the instructor does not mean you've officially withdrawn.Some exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis for medical emergencies with a doctor's note.Refunds take up to six weeks to process.

Please understand, we can't issue a refund after classes have started, even if you miss your first class. Similarly, we can't offer you a credit one day before your second class or after that. We understand that other obligations get in the way of attending class, but these policies allow us to get other interested writers into class early enough to have a good experience, and this allows us to offer our classes at a reasonable price. 

Important Notes:

  • Students are allowed to join a class in the second week.
  • Only those who pay the tuition in full can be guaranteed a place in class.
  • Class dates and times may be subject to change. A substitute may be assigned or make-up classes added to the end of the term.
  • Auditing and the recording of classes are not allowed.For all classes, students receive a record of payment and registration.
  • Gotham reserves the right to remove any student at our discretion.
  • Gotham does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, age, or marital status.
  • Our courses are not intended to provide instruction that will result in the student's acquisition of occupational skills.
Start Dates (1)
Start Date Time Teacher # Sessions Price
7:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Time Rachel Simon 6 $334
This course consists of multiple sessions, view schedule for sessions.
Thu, Aug 12 7:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Time Rachel Simon
Thu, Aug 19 7:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Time Rachel Simon
Thu, Aug 26 7:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Time Rachel Simon
Thu, Sep 02 7:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Time Rachel Simon
Thu, Sep 09 7:00pm - 10:00pm Eastern Time Rachel Simon

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Questions & Answers (3)

Get quick answers from CourseHorse and past students.

Question from Anonymous
Hi, I wanted to learn how to put my thoughts into words. I’m a horrible writer, it has always been my issue. If I’m given a blank page, I don’t know where to start. Would this specific course will be beneficial for me?
Answer from Josh S.
Hi, I work at Gotham Writers and I'm happy to help with this. It depends on what kind of writing you're interested in. This course is specifically geared towards the nonfiction side, so memoir, essay, article, and so on. IF you're not sure what kind of writing you want to get into, I'd recommend Creative Writing 101, which will cover all forms from Fiction to Nonfiction to Poetry. Both of those 101 classes are excellent places to start, just depends on the scope of what you want covered.
Answer from @@GrNO6 P.
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Question from anonymous
Hello, What I want to do is write my life story. I had a lot of different events in my life to the point I have many people, some don't know me very well and tell me also to write about my life. Do you recommend this class for what I am wanting to do? Thank-you Trudi Driscol
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi there! Creative Nonfiction 101 teaches students how to write a variety of nonfiction forms...including memoir. Memoirs are stories about a writer’s life. They also have a separate Memoir Writing class that focuses just on that. It’s longer—ten weeks instead of six—and there’s a workshop component, which means that twice in the class, students submit chunks of their work for feedback. If the student wants to write stories about their life, Memoir Writing might be the way to go.
Answer from Brenda L. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
The link for Memoir Writing: If you're new to storytelling, want to learn about various nonfiction forms, and want less of a time commitment, Creative Nonfiction 101 might be the better choice. I hope this helps!
Answer from @@GrNO6 P.
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Question from Roberta M.
Hi, I'm a seasoned storyteller and would like to learn structure for my non-fiction stories and learn how to submit to magazines. Does this class cover structure? Thanks
Answer from Andrea P. CourseHorse StaffCourseHorse Staff
Hi, Roberta! Creative Nonfiction 101 class is a survey course for people who are new to the genre and want to learn about various forms and craft of nonfiction. The structure will be covered in this class. They also cover getting published, but very briefly. If you are a seasoned storyteller, we recommend Hit Send: Publishing Short Nonfiction
Answer from @@GrNO6 P.
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Reviews of Classes at Gotham Writers' Workshop (738)

(738 Reviews)
Creative Nonfiction 101 Level 1: 6 Weeks
Reviewed by Tracey Y. on 9/12/2018
Mind expanding, extremely constructive, inspiring, I learnt more than I expected and had a wonderful experience. Alana is a truly great teacher an well rounded in her approach to constructive criticism and encouragement. Highly, highly recommend.
Creative Nonfiction 101 Level 1: 6 Weeks
Reviewed by Jessica M. on 8/14/2018
I really enjoyed the class. The instructor was engaging and even her focus of what she tends to write about happened to be very in line with my own. In the future I would probably want to take a longer course that was more focused on a specific project, whereas this was separate lessons (like a series as opposed to a serial). Not a complaint as that is part of the class description and probably exactly what I needed this time, a good chance to dip my feet in, in a supportive environment. I would gladly take more classes from Gotham and from the instructor.
Creative Nonfiction 101 Level 1: 6 Weeks
Reviewed by Charlotte A. on 3/9/2018
Chris was very inspiring, brought great energy and gave very structured and understandable critical feedback on my written pieces. The class atmosphere was very open and it was an absolute pleasure to attend over the 6 weeks.
Creative Nonfiction 101 Level 1: 6 Weeks
Reviewed by Tillie E. on 8/23/2017
My professor was Janet Flora...She was great! Coming to class every week was a treat, and as our class dwindled to a consistent six, the learning transformed. It was like participating in a master class with one-on-one attention. With each assignment, it felt like it opened a side of me that I thought wasn't there. I plan on taking a couple more classes, and hope other instructors are as great as Janet.
Creative Nonfiction 101 Level 1: 6 Weeks
Reviewed by marilyn z. on 11/8/2016
Instructor was supportive and kind. He listened carefully to all of us and always had the perfect comment that helped me and others along our writers path. He seemed to know a lot about everything and best of all he was genuine and his supportive comments showed that to be true. This was my first experience at go them and I plan on more
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