Jumpstart Your Narrative Nonfiction Book: Online

6 weeks online; NO LIVE MEETINGS. Class opens June 16th.
Online (WetInk)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
This class is full

So, you're writing a book of nonfiction! Maybe it contains some of your personal history, but it's not a pure memoir (like On Immunity by Eula Biss). Maybe it’s a collection of essays (like Malaya by Cinelle Barnes). Maybe it involves a lot of research and quotes and interviews (like The Library Book by Susan Orlean). Maybe it is a life guide or self-help book (like How to Be Less Stupid About Race by Crystal Marie Fleming). Maybe it is a hard-hitting journalistic take-down (like Catch and Kill by Ronan Farrow). Maybe it is a mash-up of several of these things in one (like The Fact of a Body by Alex Marzano-Lesnevich). However you slice it: you're writing narrative nonfiction! But no matter what kind of nonfiction book you’re writing, getting a whole book together is hard work, and it can be hard to know where to begin. Don't worry! That's what this course is all about.

This class is for any writer who wants to figure out how to make their nonfiction book a reality. Each week, we will look at different steps in the process of writing a work of narrative nonfiction, such organizing research, keeping track of sources, structuring an outline, actually writing the book, crafting a query letter, and putting together a book proposal. We will explore these topics by reading interviews with writers about their book-writing process, as well as samples of real book proposals, query letters, and excerpts of published work (we’ll even get to ask some authors and agents questions about the whole process!). Throughout the course, students will also upload drafts of and receive feedback on their own query letters, book proposals, and excerpts from their book so far, as well as provide feedback to your fellow writers on their works in progress.

You will leave the course with an action plan, a draft of a query letter and an outline for your book proposal, and concrete steps for how you––yes YOU!––can finish writing your nonfiction book.

*NOTE that while our handy dandy "Schedule" tab states a 6-7pm class time, there are actually no live meetings for this class! Weekly lessons and assignments open each Wednesday. Students will receive an invitation to Wet Ink, our online class platform, before 5pm on the first day of class.


Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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E.B. Bartels
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Previous Students Say

  • "Generative"
  • "High-Energy Class"
  • "Great for Newbies"
  • "Inspired Me to Write More"


  • Generate New Work
  • Craft Lessons
  • Class Discussion
  • Reading Homework
  • Writing Homework


  • Book-Length Memoir
  • Literary Journalism
  • Nonfiction

Commitment Level



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