Creative Writing: Advanced Nonfiction Prose: Designing Narrative Nonfiction

Designing Narrative Nonfiction
ENGLSH 4520/7520
Section 01
Donald Quist
Course Description

Writing successful Creative Nonfiction is kind of like building a house, or tailoring a garment; like coding a video game, or planning a city. It requires thinking through elements to improve the experience for the user (reader). How can adopting the design theory practices of leaders in architecture, fashion, and graphic arts, help us become better creative writers? How might principles of form and function strengthen our personal essays, memoir and cross-genre projects? In this workshop, we will apply methods of design thinking to our narrative prose. Discussions on the construction of works by Joan Didion, Akwaeke Emezi, Terrance Hayes, Brian Doyle, Hanif Abdurraqib, Carmen Maria Machado, Victoria Chang and others will help frame weekly generative writing prompts. Through collaborative-learning and constructive critique, students will have opportunities to engage with the art of revision on the levels of both sentence and overall structure. This workshop nurtures writers hoping to start new projects and those with a work in progress. By the end of the semester, students will learn to craft their Creative Nonfiction with more style and intentionality.