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Writing Nonfiction

Although many say writing nonfiction is more manageable than writing fiction, it is no less work. Nonfiction is, broadly speaking, the most common form of writing out there. This course focuses on commercial nonfiction genres, and concentrates on helping authors turn their ideas into a solid book proposal.

The course looks at the principles of writing nonfiction and what’s involved, and explores the various forms of nonfiction. Tutors will provide resource materials for authors to absorb and guidelines to implement in their own time.

Aimed at seasoned writers who are ready to take their writing to the next level, the six weeks are designed to help writers package a sellable idea.

BONUS: The last two weeks will feature round tables with HarperCollins published authors, sharing their writing experience with students in a live online environment.

At the end of the course students should be able to go away and produce a concrete nonfiction proposal.

Week 1

The Principles of Nonfiction: (2 hours)

Who is your reader? And what does your book ‘promise’ them?
The different types of non-fiction and why we read them. Does genre matter?.
The business of publishing. A quick look at how the industry works.

Week 2

Writing Creative Nonfiction (2 hours)

Narrative Nonfiction and expository nonfiction, and the different styles involved
Writing techniques – characters, pace and description
How to keep your reader interested, engaged and wanting to know what happens next…
Week 3

Structure, Organization, and Research (2 hours)

How to structure your book
Making a plan
Research: knowing your market and your competition. as well as your topic
The editorial process: what to expect
Week 4

Preparing your Nonfiction Proposal
(2 hours)

Editors and agents
Writing a selling proposal: how to get people excited about publishing your book

Week 5

Genre Breakout Sessions: 1 (1 hour each but times will vary from normal class times depending on guest speaker availability)

A HarperCollins author talks Business Writing
A HarperCollins author talks Science, Nature, and Technology
A HarperCollins author talks Sports Writing.
A HarperCollins author talks History Writing.
Week 6

Genre Breakout Sessions: 2 (1 hour each but times will vary from normal class times depending on guest speaker availability)

A HarperCollins author talks Biography and Memoir
A HarperCollins author talks Religion and Spirituality
A HarperCollins author talks Self-Help.

Reading Resources:

A comprehensive list of further reading resources is also available for enrolled authors to use and absorb in their own time.