Writing Creative Nonfiction : The Great Courses: Writing

  • by The Great Courses, Tilar J J. Mazzeo
  • Narrated by Professor Tilar J J. Mazzeo
  • Series: The Great Courses: Writing
  • 12 hrs and 16 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Bringing together the imaginative strategies of fiction storytelling and new ways of narrating true, real-life events, creative nonfiction is the fastest-growing part of the creative writing world. It's a cutting-edge genre that's reshaping how we write (and read) everything from biographies and memoirs to blogs and public speaking scripts to personal essays and magazine articles.
Whether you're looking to launch into a new professional career as a creative nonfiction writer, dabble in the genre as a pastime, start a personal blog, or simply get inside the mind of a creative nonfiction writer at work, these dynamic 24 lectures are a chance for you to explore the entire process of writing creative nonfiction, from brainstorming for the perfect idea to getting your final product noticed by literary agents and publishers.
Filled with helpful tips and techniques, memorable examples from well-known writers, and engaging exercises, it's a learning experience that proves that - with the right instructor - writing creative nonfiction can be mastered, practiced, and enjoyed by anyone with a desire to share his or her personal story. Professor Mazzeo guides you through


the fundamental concepts such as narrative arcs, captivating beginnings, sentence variation, perspective, characterization, dialogue, and metaphor;
each stage of writing creative nonfiction, from researching your topic to revising your first draft; and
the publishing process, from finding an agent to writing a successful book proposal.
You'll come away with the knowledge, tools, and, most important, inspiration you need to discover your stories and finally start telling them the right way.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fiction! Nonfiction! You Name It!

This course will keep you honest if you're writing nonfiction and true to your vision if you're writing fiction. Many of the techniques can be used for both aspects of the craft. Consider, if you will, some of what's covered: Cliffhangers and page turners; revealing characters in words and actions; using narrative perspective; building dramatic sentences; rhetorical devices and emotional impact; shaping your voice. What's not to love? What can't be used over and over? Heaven knows I sure as hell put a couple of tools into my toolbox with a sigh of relief.
What makes it better, too, what makes these things stick is the little exercises that come between lessons. Do them and you'll see growth. Skip them, and... well, you'll probably still see growth, but really, they don't take much time at all, so it's no skin off your nose.
I saw one reviewer really had a problem with Professor Mazzeo's delivery. Huh? I guess listen to the sample before purchasing? But honestly, I found her voice to be jolly decent.
This is a great course that provides wonderful guidance. Truly one of the best writing books/courses out there.
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- Gillian

Great Information - Reasonable Presentation

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

It's a lecture by a college professor, so I recommend imagining yourself in a classroom setting surrounded by students. That will make her approach, tone, and style feel more appropriate. She uses a highly animated style that made me think she normally teaches freshmen, but it did keep my ears and mind attuned, which is the gold standard for any teacher. (Since she starts out by describing how it feels to be presenting with no audience before her, the applause at the end of each section seemed silly.) Unfortunately, she is the second of two Great Courses writing instructors who cannot pronounce the word "sentence." (They both pronounce it "sennence"'; the other lecturer's course is actually on building better "sennences"!) I thought I'd get used to it, but never did. However, overall I learned a good deal, and from my perspective, that's what a great course is all about!


What did you learn from Writing Creative Nonfiction that you would use in your daily life?

I've already begun applying some of her recommendations about the narrative arc, researching the topic, pacing and narrative tension, etc, as well as guidance on publishing. Last week, a magazine told me that my recent work has been "even stronger than before," and I believe this course has made the difference. " I've listened to some sections more than once and expect I'll continue to revisit it.


Any additional comments?

It would be helpful to have a list of the chapters by topic--a syllabus or table of contents-- allowing readers to choose among the lectures or revisit certain material. I did sometimes feel I'd prefer more examples drawn from nonfiction rather than fiction, but I still feel the lectures were quite valuable.

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- Tomodachi

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses