Writing Artifacts: Using Objects as Symbols in Nonfiction
Never underestimate the power of a concrete image. Whether personal, journalistic, or historical, much great nonfiction has been made when writers explore the layers of symbolic meaning in a physical object. In this class, we’ll look at how nonfiction writers can hold up just about anything (mountains, buildings, family heirlooms, photographs, advertisements, flags, monuments, old shoes) and use it both to explore the existing cultural meanings it contains and to fill that symbol with new meanings. We will look at examples of this in both personal and non-personal writing, keeping an eye out for techniques we can steal.
During class, we’ll look at description, tone, point of view, imagery, cultural context, and research. There will be intermittent mini-lectures, but we will spend most of our time on reading, discussion, writing, and exercises. We’ll talk briefly about some of the writing students produce in class and work to help each other develop individual strategies. We will not workshop existing work.
This class is most appropriate for those who already have some foundational knowledge of the conventions of nonfiction, but everyone is welcome.
Part of GrubStreet's Special Topics in the Nonfiction, a group of classes dedicated to exploring different craft elements of creative nonfiction. For more class offerings, click here.
Previous Students Say
- "Inspired Me to Write More"
- Concept Development
- Computer or Tablet Recommended
- Class Discussion
- In-Class Reading
- In-Class Writing
- Generate New Work
- Book-Length Memoir
- Literary Journalism