Grackle image by Jean King.
Compelling writing focuses on people. Practicing how you write about people will help enliven both your fiction and nonfiction work. It raises important questions about how we convey the “truth” of who someone is versus what they are willing to share with us.
In this class, we will learn how to research a topic, interview others and creatively craft a profile. We will spend the first half of the workshop practicing these tools with each other. What makes someone interesting? What details do we include when describing a person? How do we responsibly imagine what’s going on in another’s mind? The second half of our time will focus on how to apply these skills to our personal writing, be it a creative piece or an obituary or wedding announcement. Students will pick what story form they’d like to pursue and we will workshop these drafts together. Along the way, we will read and discuss various examples of profile writing. We will dissect what makes successful profiles work, even if the subject doesn’t want to participate or the topic is from the past. We’ll create a supportive atmosphere with each other. Students will leave this course with confidence and new techniques.
Emily Foxhall is an experienced professional journalist. She covers energy for the Texas Tribune with a focus on the clean energy transition. She previously worked for the Houston Chronicle, where her environmental reporting uncovered the effects of climate change and pollution on the region. She won multiple Texas Managing Editors awards and was part of the 2017 team that was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of Hurricane Harvey. Emily graduated from Yale University in 2013, where she studied English and was a Yale Journalism Scholar. She’s thrilled to be sharing her love of the craft, and of reading creative nonfiction, with others. You can find her at https://emfoxhall.pressfolios.com/ and on social media.