Sometimes, by just entering a story from a different angle we’re able to finally get at the core of an idea that’s been itching, but has also been elusive in terms of allowing us to pin it down. All of us have true stories worth telling. The challenge, though, comes with how best to share our experiences. In this ten week advanced creative nonfiction workshop, we’ll examine popular essay forms—memoir, personal essay, nature/travel essay, the lyric essay—and figure out where these sub-genres converge and diverge. We’ll also discuss the foundational concepts of engaging first-person writing central to essaying: establishing a compelling main narrative, creating strong characters, rendering vivid descriptions, and building satisfying plots. Most importantly, we’ll investigate the process of connecting our personal experiences to larger truths about our world and translating those to the page. All participants will have the opportunity to workshop their own writing projects.
Miah Arnold, PhD, is the director of Grackle and Grackle. She has taught creative writing for the past twenty years through Houston non-profits including Inprint, Writers in the Schools, and Aurora Picture Show as well as University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, Houston Community College, and Georgia College. Her essay “You Owe Me” about working for M.D. Anderson via Writers in the Schools was selected by Best American Essays in 2012. Her first novel, Sweet Land of Bigamy, was published in 2012.