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Toying with The Truth: A Generative Nonfiction 9-Week Zoom Class, Starts Monday, September 30th, 2024
Regular price
Dhs. 1,958.00

Toying with The Truth: A Generative Nonfiction 9-Week Zoom Class, Starts Monday, September 30th, 2024

Unit price per

Begins Monday, September 30th, 2024

The class will meet weekly on Monday nights via Zoom, 6:00PM - 8:00PM CST

Any questions about this class? Use the Chat Button (lower left) to talk with us.

Taught by Shelby Hinte, Associate Editor of Write or Die Magazine, where she edits essays and interviews. Her work has been featured in BOMB, ZYZZYVA, SmokeLong Quarterly, Hobart, The Rumpus, Witness, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. Her debut novel, HOWLING WOMEN, is forthcoming from LEFTOVER Books in 2025.

Learn more about Shelby in our Meet the Teaching Artist series.

There are so many ways to tell a story. Once you choose to focus on one event or detail and not another, the story itself changes. What then to do with the stories of our lives?

In Toying with The Truth: A Generative Nonfiction Workshop, we will work towards shaping personal narratives. Through in-class readings, writings, and discussion, students will work towards finding the form that best suits the personal story they are trying to write.

We will explore a variety of creative nonfiction containers, including memoirs and personal essays. We will look to writers such as Melissa Febos, Chris Kraus, Zadie Smith, Sean Enfield, and Vauhini Vara to help guide and inspire our own writing.

Students will write one short, creative nonfiction work inspired by the weekly readings and prompts each week. They will also receive feedback from the instructor and their peers on weekly writing assignments. Because this is a generative course, students are not expected to produce polished writing drafts. Instead, students are invited to experiment, play, and share material.

Similarly, feedback will focus on “statements of meaning” and is intended to help spotlight moments in the draft that might offer opportunities for deeper writing. Through experimenting with a variety of creative nonfiction forms, writers will discover the best way to tell their personal stories.

In the final two weeks of this course, students will work towards revising a piece of their choosing into a more polished second draft.

The class will meet once a week for 2 hours via Zoom.


By the end of this 9-week course, students will:

  • Locate and outline events from personal experience that they would like to shape into creative nonfiction.
  • Generate multiple first drafts of personal writing.
  • Revise a single piece of writing.

By the end of this 9-week course, students will learn:

  • About a variety of creative nonfiction forms.
  • Craft elements pertaining to storytelling.
  • How to instill curiosity and play in their writing practice.


WEEK 1: Who We Are – Introduction to CNF – In our first week together we will consider how we fill our creative wells in order to produce written personal works. Writers will create a list of stories from their own lives they are interested in writing, and we will investigate the creative blocks that are common in writing about the self. Readings for this week include work by Melissa Febos.

WEEK 2: Filling The Creative Well – Found Essays & Lists – So much of writing is about observing and noticing. Exercises will focus on taking stock, making inventories, and collecting textual material. As such, week one emphasizes creating a practice around taking what we notice and putting it to the page. Readings this week include works by Sennah Yee, Juliet Escoria, and Brandon Stosuy.

WEEK 3: Write What You Know – Memoir – In week two, we will begin with what we have: ourselves and our stories. Writers will examine the events, ideas, and experiences from their own lives that they feel most compelled to write about. Exercises this week will focus on turning memory into story. Readings this week include works by Sarah Rauch, Jane Alison, and Vauhini Vara.

WEEK 4: Developing Images – The Essay as Portrait – How do we make ourselves and the people in our lives become as authentic on the page as they are in real life? How the frame we choose to present people in impact the way they are perceived? What happens when we change the frame? In week three, writers will create portrait essays of themselves or others. The focus will be on details and perspective. Readings this week include works by Zadie Smith, C Pam Zhang, and Timothy Willis Sanders.

WEEK 5: Textures – The Braided Essay – In our everyday lives we are exposed to a constant stream of media: music, film, advertisements, headlines, literature, and more. These things can serve as backdrops to our day or be things that filter into how we act and think. In week four, writers will attempt to weave in materials from their lives, to create more textured narratives. Readings for this week include works by Sean Enfield and Lidia Yuknavitch.

WEEK 6: Tell it Slant – Autofiction – In Mary Karr’s book On Memoir, she writes about personal truth through the example of a family telling stories at the dinner table. She remarks how common it is that members of a collective experience can disagree so thoroughly on the details of an event. This week, students will imagine into the events of their lives and explore how intentionally taking creative liberty with the “facts” might reveal certain emotional truths of their stories. Readings for this week include works by Julie Myerson and Chris Kraus.

WEEK 7: Revision – We will reimagine revision. Writers will take stock of what they’ve written so far and reflect on the forms that felt most authentic to their voice and story. Through creative revision exercises, writers will generate a second draft of a previously completed work.

WEEKS 8 & 9: Revealing the Self – In our final two weeks together, students will share revised drafts of a single piece of writing from an earlier session.


"This was my first workshop, and I found the exercise to be incredibly helpful in bringing my work forward. Outside of the workshop, Shelby held really informative and interactive sessions on different types of CNF which helped me have a well-rounded understanding of the type by the end of the class."

"Shelby is an excellent teacher. She is knowledgeable, organized, kind, supportive, and has a notable abundance of energy!"

"The in-class prompts were helpful and pushed me in ways that I needed."

"Shelby was incredible! She is very experienced in teaching, literature, and writing.. and it showed. She exceeded my every expectation, and I learned a tremendous amount."


This class meets weekly via Zoom. Come prepared for a super fun class with live interaction on Zoom each week and plenty of writing, reading, and talking!

Tuition is $525. You can pay for the course in full  or use Shop Pay or Affirm to pay over time with equal Monthly Payments. Both options are available at checkout.
  • Instructor: Shelby Hinte
  • Class Starts Monday, September 30th, 2024
  • The class will meet weekly on Monday nights via Zoom, 6:00PM - 8:00PM CST
  • Tuition is $525.