Online course

Creative Non-Fiction Writing: Next steps

18 weeks

Your next chapter starts here…

  • Take your non-fiction writing to the next level

  • Become the writer you want to be!

  • Get 1-2-1 tutor feedback

  • Build on your existing skills

  • Refine your writing routine

  • Access our courses from anywhere in the world.

Join Dan Richards, author of five works of creative non-fiction including Holloway, Climbing Days and Outpost for an 18-week in-depth online creative writing course. This intermediate course builds on the expertise acquired at an introductory level and has a focus on using place and locations in creative non-fiction.

In this course you will read deeply from a wide variety of non-fiction texts, you will take place in a series of live zoom sessions and 1-1 tutorials, and you will broaden the possibilities of your creative non-fiction writing. By the end of the course, you will have an essay-length piece of completed creative non-fiction.

Classes are capped at 15 places to ensure a high-quality experience.

What the course covers

Module 1 – What is Creative Nonfiction
In this module, you’ll define exactly what creative non-fiction is and what it isn’t, and you’ll have a look at some different examples of creative nonfiction. You’ll also take a first look into reportage, on which your first assignment will be due, and you’ll also listen to the way audio-only programmes use creative non-fiction.

Module 2 – Landscape
In this module, you will explore the non-fiction need to be holistic and open to new ideas and voices when seeking to write and tell stories about the world. You will focus on the locations around you to begin with, and their importance to the narrative you are shaping. You will learn to dive deeper than the surface of your surroundings to analyse and interrogate the spaces around you. For your assignment, you’ll describe looking at a familiar place through different eyes and will take a walk around an area you know well but at an unusual time.

Module 3 – The Essay
This module focuses on writing in a honed, clear, and concise manner whilst also telling a story and forming a connection between your reader and the people and places you are writing about. You’ll read and write short essays that evoke deep emotional responses, and you’ll listen to audio broadcasts that challenge the boundaries of creative non-fiction. Your assignment will ask you to both read and record your own essay. Your feedback for this assignment will come in the form of a 1-2-1 tutorial with your tutor.

Module 4 – Nature Writing
In this module you’ll focus on the world around you, turning the living breathing creatures and landscapes into words on a page. You’ll begin this module with a group session on zoom, you’ll read examples of some of the best nature writing, and for your assignment, you’ll observe an aspect of nature over the course of a week.

Module 5 – Travel
This module will ask you to write about physical journeys. Whether you’re a travel writer or not, your pathway through non-fiction will very likely include a journey to a destination, and through this module, you will capture that journey in writing. You’ll write about books or objects that have led you on physical journeys and your assignment will ask you to write about a journey you took long ago.

Module 6 – The Body
This final module will tackle the place you live all the time – within your own body. You’ll explore the thorny world of research and you’ll find yourself within the bodies of others through your reading. The module will draw together everything you’ve learned about writing creative non-fiction and place, and your final, longer, assignment will allow you to write up to 2,000 words on a subject of your choice. Your feedback for this assignment will also take the form of a 1-1 tutorial with your tutor.

By the end of the course you will have

  • Understood the different types of non-fiction
  • Used place to ground your non-fiction
  • Explored nature writing
  • Written about a physical journey
  • Explored travel writing
  • Written an essay-length piece
  • Recorded a piece of writing.

Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Next Steps course = £945

How to apply

This is an intermediate-level course. To apply, we ask that you submit:

1. A 500-word sample of your work

2. A one-paragraph introduction to yourself.

Email learning@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk to apply. Please format your email’s subject line: ‘[your name] application for Historical Fiction’. Applications are assessed and places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Application deadline Midday GMT Wednesday 7th September.

Committing to an 18-week course is a big decision for any writer. If you have any questions at all please do get in touch at learning@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk.

Designed in partnership with the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at UEA

 

UEA University of East Anglia

 

Format: How the course works

  • Web-based
    • Our Next Steps Creative Writing Online courses take place entirely over the internet. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.
  • Duration
    • 18 weeks
  • Course format
    • The majority of the course is delivered in text form, making it easy to progress through the course chapter-by-chapter. 
    • Your knowledge will be developed through writing exercises and the analysis of samples of writing.
  • Modules
    • The course is divided into fortnightly modules, each of which introduces an aspect of the craft of writing. 
    • Every two weeks you will submit an assignment to your tutor, who will then respond with constructive feedback and advice. Outside of those assignment deadlines you can progress through the lessons and exercises at your own pace.
  • 1-2-1 feedback
    • You will have 1-2-1 feedback from your tutor and fellow students.
  • Discussions
    • Forum-based student discussions are included throughout the course, providing an opportunity for students to interact with each other and the course tutor. To get the most out of the course, we recommend taking part in as many discussions as possible.

Got questions?

If you have any questions, you can get in touch by emailing Vicki at learning@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk.

C Christina Morillo from PexelsCourse schedule

This course runs for 18 weeks and is split into several modules, which each last two weeks. Modules consist of multiple chapters and your progress is tracked throughout, making it easy to pick up where you left off.

Although a module is open for two weeks, you are not expected to dedicate that entire time to the course! Our online courses are designed to fit around a busy lifestyle and each chapter is conveniently bite-sized so that you can always be making progress. On average we expect most students to spend between 3-5 hours per week on a course (this time will be a mixture of reading, community discussions, exercises and assignments). This will vary from student to student and some modules may be more intensive than others.

Each module includes smaller exercises and a main assignment. How much time you spend on these is flexible and will depend on your own writing style and process.

September 2022  term schedule

  • Module 1: Monday 19th September – Sunday 9th October
  • Zoom session: Tuesday 20th September, 7-8pm
  • Module 2: Monday 10th October – Sunday 30th October
  • Module 3: Monday 31st October – Sunday 20th November
  • Zoom session: Monday 21st November, 7-8pm
  • 1-1 Tutorials: bookable slots w/c Monday 21st November
  • Module 4: Monday 21st November – Sunday 11th December
  • Module 5: Monday 12th December – Sunday 15th January (includes 2-week break over Christmas)
  • Module 6: Monday 16th January – Sunday 5th February
  • 1-1 Tutorials: bookable slots w/c Monday 13th February.

What people think of our courses

Confidence

Confidence

“I’ve taken away a much greater confidence in my creative work, an ability to be much more flexible but also decisive with my writing ideas and have learned many new writing techniques and ways of working.”

Knowledge

Knowledge

“I have learned a huge amount on this course. I feel I have leaped ahead in my knowledge of writing and what I am capable of writing at the moment.”

Improvement

Improvement

“My output has improved a thousand-fold in both content and quality.”

Freedom

Freedom

“The course had a therapeutic effect. I gained a sense of freedom from getting lost in the characterisations and dramas of my stories.”

Structure

Structure

“The course exceeded my expectations in every aspect with how well-structured it was, the exercises and the feedback. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Motivation and focus

Motivation and focus

“Having someone read and feedback on my writing gave me focus and motivation.”

Who is this course for?

This course is ideal for people who have done some training or beginners courses who want to:

  • Take your writing to the next level
  • Build your confidence
  • Develop your writing routine
  • Receive tutor feedback on your writing
  • Discuss your writing with peers

Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Next Steps course = £945

Writing Creative Non-Fiction: Next Steps not the right course for you? Browse our other courses

Looking for a shorter course?

Explore our short and self-paced online courses.

About the tutors

Dan Richards

Core areas of expertise: “I studied English Literature and Philosophy at UEA, and Sculpture at Norwich Art School. I think this background makes me quite an open writer, interested in many things. Every book I write is an attempt to better understand a facet of the world that I’m curious about. At the moment, for example, I’m writing a book named Overnight, an exploration of nocturnal operations which replenish, repair and protect the world whilst most of us are asleep.”

Notable works: His first book, Holloway, co-authored with Robert Macfarlane & illustrated by Stanley Donwood, was a Sunday Times Bestseller (Faber, 2013). The Beechwood Airship Interviews, a book about art and creative process was published by HarperCollins in 2015. Climbing Days (Faber, 2016) a mountaineering memoir, saw him set out in the footsteps and hand-holds of his great-grand-aunt and uncle, Dorothy Pilley and I.A. Richards, on peaks across Europe.

Dan’s fourth book, Outpost: A Journey to the Wild Ends of the Earth (Canongate, 2019), explored of the appeal and pull of far-flung shelters in mountains, tundra, forests, oceans and deserts; landscapes and which have long inspired adventurers, pilgrims, writers, and artists. He has written about travel and culture for various newspapers and magazines including The Economist, Guardian, Harpers Bazaar, Daily Telegraph, Monocle and Caught by the River.

What’s great about the course?“Both the CNF courses I run are full of writing and writers I love, and each new cohort of students brings something new to the mix so the teaching is ever-changing. I’m always adding new books and voices to the curriculum so the programme always feels fresh and contemporary.

“I love the sense that I’m allowing fellow writers to realise their potential and introduce them to texts that may change their thinking, process and lives as a whole. I think people genuinely love the breadth of the reading. The first module introduces books that push and challenge and delight in their eclecticism — Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher, An African in Greenland by Tété-Michel Kpomassie, A Fortunate Man by John Berger and Jean Mohr, Sea State by Tabitha Lasley — it’s as Susan Sontag said, curiosity is key: ‘Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager.”

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