Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style

Susan Orlean, Staff Writer, The New Yorker

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15 Videos (1h 49m)
    • Trailer

      1:34
    • Introduction

      6:43
    • Subject: Finding Your Topic

      9:35
    • Subject: Finding "The American Male at Age Ten"

      7:15
    • Research: Preparing for Reporting

      9:10
    • Research: Reporting

      9:16
    • Research: Organizing Notes

      9:59
    • Writing: Elements of a Story

      9:41
    • Writing: Dialogue and Quotes

      6:02
    • Writing: Description

      4:45
    • Writing: Expert Opinion

      3:16
    • Writing: Conclusions

      10:07
    • Editing: Revising

      9:58
    • Editing: Collaborating

      3:08
    • The Ongoing Work of a Writer

      8:51

Project Description

Write a 1000-word profile on someone you find mysterious

ASSIGNMENT

Write the true story of someone you know using artful, stylized language and a compelling story arc—the defining features of creative nonfiction. Choose someone who seems like they have a bit of mystery to them, and follow your curiosity. Brainstorm what you know, research any questions, find a universal theme that will resonate with your readers, and write the truth into a compelling, cohesive story.

DELIVERABLE

A final draft of 500-1000 words (or approx. 3 pages) profiling someone you find mysterious. Share your writing in the class project gallery by pasting the text or linking to a Google doc. A complete profile may include:

  • lede
  • facts
  • dialogue
  • quotes
  • paraphrased expert opinion
  • observations
  • description
  • commentary
  • artful conclusion

Note: Feel free to also share notes, brainstorming, and drafts from your full writing process.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES