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Narrative Nonfiction: Using the Tools of a Novelist to Tell Gripping True Stories (online class)

July 17 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm EDT

Event Series Event Series (See All)

Instructor: Tod Olson
Wednesdays, 6/5/24 — 7/17/24 | 1:00–3:00 PM
$170 Members | $185 Nonmembers

Do you love a true story well told? For some readers there’s nothing more satisfying than a great biography, or books like Unbroken, Devil in the White City, and Killers of the Flower Moon. For curious writers, a narrative nonfiction project is pure joy. It’s a chance to dig into a subject that fascinates you, talk to people about the formative experiences of their lives, and fashion it all into a story that’s both compelling and true to the world you’ve researched.

This class will explore the process from start to finish. What makes a fruitful subject? How do you make the most of your research? How do you use the tools of a fiction writer—structure, scene, voice, pacing, point of view—to tell a great story? How creative can you get and still call a story “true”?

We’ll use mostly readings from middle-grade and YA nonfiction, but the material we cover will be just as helpful if you’re writing for adults. We’ll split the class between lecture/discussion and workshop. During the second half of class we’ll discuss 10 pages of your work—either the beginning of a book project or a proposal for one. You don’t necessarily have to have pages before the start of the class, but if you’ve had a book idea in the back of your head, now’s the time to start exploring it!

Tod Olson is author of award-winning narrative nonfiction for middle-grade and young adult readers, including Into the Clouds: The Race to Climb the World’s Most Dangerous Mountain, the narrative nonfiction series LOST, and the historical fiction series How to Get Rich. He has traveled the country to report on the school shooting at Columbine, the murder of Matthew Shepard, drunk driving accidents, homeless kids, and other only slightly more uplifting topics. He has 30 years of experience as an editor and book developer for the education and school/library markets, and as a writer for Scholastic’s classroom magazines. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of the Fine Arts.

Register by mail: Send check and registration form to WriterHouse, PO Box 222, Charlottesville, VA 22902. Email programs@writerhouse.org to let us know your check is coming.

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