Hi. I'm Jenna McGuiggan.
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Wednesday
Jun262019

Summer Flash Essays: Online Class (starts July 1)

Flash Essays online class (July 1-Aug.4, 2019)

There are just a few seats left in my summer flash essays class. Join me for this five-week online class to learn how to write essays that are short and sweet (or short and hot/salty/sassy, etc.). 

Here's the overview of the class: 

Some experiences beg us to write about them, but we often feel overwhelmed when trying to capture the whole story at once. In this class, we'll explore the art of flash nonfiction and short essays—pieces that tell a complete story in a short space.

Life is made up of moments: big showy ones and small quiet ones—many of them infused with deeper meaning. Sometimes we can easily articulate a moment’s meaning, but often we can only make sense of it peripherally. In a flash essay, the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence.

Through a series of writing exercises, participants will generate a list of potential essay ideas and identify key details and imagery to help them dig into the heart of those stories. Students will also write several flash pieces of varying lengths.

This 5-week class starts with my popular One-Moment Memoirs curriculum and then expands into other aspects of flash essays. 

Full details and registration are available on Creative Nonfiction's website. Enrollment is $310 and includes the following: 

 

  • Five weeks of lessons, writing exercises, and tons of resources;
  • My editorial feedback on three of your essays;
  • Peer feedback on up to four of your essays; and
  • A live (and recorded) conference call with me and your classmates.

 

Leave a comment below or email me with any questions. 

Wednesday
Jun192019

Webinar: Creative Nonfiction Crash Course (6/22/19)

If novels are fiction and poems are, well, poetry, then what are memoirs? What about essays, narrative journalism, and so many of the true stories that we love? From books to magazine articles to podcasts, creative nonfiction stories surround us.

This webinar will introduce you to the history of the genre and show you how to use the building blocks of creative nonfiction—including scene, character, dialogue, and reflection—to write your own true stories. No writing experience is necessary. During this session you will:

  • LEARN about the history and scope of creative nonfiction;
  • DISCOVER the genre through a variety of examples; and
  • EXPLORE the building blocks of telling great true stories

This session is designed for writers from all backgrounds. Register online here.

Date: Saturday, June 22, 2019
Time: 1:00 - 2:15pm (EDT)
Cost: $15

Advance registration required. Space is limited.

(Want to attend the event live in Pittsburgh? There is an in-person option available as well.)


Schedule Overview:

Webinar: What is Creative Nonfiction?

The opening presentation will serve as an introduction to creative nonfiction. We'll start by exploring what the terms "creative" and "nonfiction" mean separately -- and what they mean together. You will learn about the history of the genre while exploring a variety of creative nonfiction excerpts to get a sense of the contemporary scope of the genre.

You will also learn about the different layers present in personal writing. We'll look at Vivian Gornick's terms "the situation" (what happened) and "the story" (what it means). Next we'll identify the building blocks of CNF: scene and reflection, applying Lee Gutkid's "yellow test" to an analysis of several passages to understand how scenes (and moments of reflection) work to build a world rich with detail and meaning on the page.

The presentation will end with a Q & A.

Tuesday
Nov202018

Creative Nonfiction Crash Course (in Pittsburgh)

If you've ever been curious about how to write your own true stories, this is the seminar for you! If you're located near Pittsburgh, PA, join me on Saturday, January 19, for a 3-hour "crash course" that will introduce you to the genre of creative nonfiction and get you started as a CNF writer. No writing experience is necessary! 

Register by January 7 for just $25.

Crash Course Description: 

If novels are fiction and poems are, well, poetry, then what are memoirs? What about essays, narrative journalism, and so many of the true stories that we love?

From books to magazine articles to podcasts, creative nonfiction stories surround us. This seminar will introduce you to the history of the genre and show you how to use the building blocks of creative nonfiction—including scene, character, dialogue, and reflection—to write your own true stories. No writing experience is necessary.

book included with registrationDuring this workshop you will:

  • LEARN about the history and scope of creative nonfiction;
  • DISCOVER the genre through a variety of examples;
  • EXPLORE the building blocks of telling great true stories;
  • START writing using prompts; and
  • DISCUSS resources for future learning, reading, and writing.

The workshop is open to writers of all levels. 

Registration includes a copy of True Stories, Well Told, edited by Lee Gutkind and Hattie Fletcher. 

Learn more and register here. 

Saturday
Aug182018

Flash Essays Online Class (Sept. 2018)

 

Some experiences beg us to write about them, but we often feel overwhelmed when trying to capture the whole story at once. In this class, we'll explore the art of flash nonfiction and short essays—pieces that tell a complete story in a short space.

Life is made up of moments: big showy ones and small quiet ones—many of them infused with deeper meaning. Sometimes we can easily articulate a moment’s meaning, but often we can only make sense of it peripherally. In a flash essay, the moment and the meaning must be distilled to their purest essence.

Through a series of writing exercises, participants will generate a list of potential essay ideas and identify key details and imagery to help them dig into the heart of those stories. Students will also write several flash pieces of varying lengths.

This 5-week class starts with my popular One-Moment Memoirs curriculum and then expands into other aspects of flash essays. 

Full details and registration are available on Creative Nonfiction's website. Price: $260 if registered by August 20. (Price is $310 after August 20.) Plus, If you haven't taken one of Creative Nonfiction's online classes before, you can save an additional $50 with the code FIRST50. You can combine this coupon with the early bird pricing, which makes this a great deal. 

Wednesday
Jul042018

In-Person Workshop: Write Into the "Heart" of Your Story

 

I'm excited to be teaching a three-hour pre-conference workshop at HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers on August 24, 2018, in Lancaster, PA. Workshop details and registration are here.

This writing conference is one of the best I've attended. The sessions are interesting and useful, the people are smart and friendly, and the whole vibe is welcoming and inspiring. This will be my third time attending (and teaching at) HippoCamp, and I love it. If you write (or want to write creative nonfiction), I hope you'll check it out. 

 

About the Workshop: 

How do we write beyond what happened and into the beating heart of a story? How do we create literary art from everyday life while telling the truth — but without becoming smarmy? In this session, we’ll explore craft techniques to enliven your prose, deepen your stories, and create connection with readers.

Topics will include understanding the two essential building blocks of creative nonfiction; using imagery and metaphor to create meaning; and choosing and slanting details to create texture and depth. This session will benefit any writer seeking to move beyond "just the facts" without tipping over into a "sentimental journey."

We'll look at how newer writers often fall into one of two traps: only recording what happened, or only sharing what they thought and felt. But great essays, memoir, and even blog posts combine these two aspects to create art from life. Learning to do this in my own work drastically improved my writing, and I see other writers "level up' all the time when they learn these techniques.

Full workshop and conference details are here

Questions about HippoCamp or my workshop? Let me know in the comments below or contact me.