BWW: Creative Non-Fiction (Classic)

Creative Non-fiction, or narrative non-fiction, despite being a somewhat recently-coined literary term, covers quite a broad spectrum of genres under the banner of creative writing. It can include, but is not limited to, memoir, biography, essays, articles, literary journalism, blogging and poetry. Typically, but not always, writers in this genre are present in their work.   

Writing non-fiction does not mean you must deny the compulsion to be creative. The craft of writing creative non-fiction welcomes the use of tools formerly reserved for writers of fiction.  This is not the same as making things up. It means discovering the most convincing way to tell your story using every instrument at your disposal.

You will be guided to write with ambition and imagination using the elements fundamental to creative non-fiction in this workshop. This fairly intensive workshop will help you bring an open-mindedness towards the creation of your work. You will study published examples of creative non-fiction and develop the vocabulary to critique texts and each other’s work in the class. You will learn to be receptive to constructive criticism while gaining the self-confidence to discern and discard unhelpful criticism. 

The workshop methodology will ensure that you will also gain sensitivity in criticising fellow writers, through your nuanced understanding of criticism.

This is not a programme designed for writers who wish to explore different genres (do check our BWW: Classic for that), but rather for those who want to research and/or to write narrative non-fiction. Creative non-fiction does not include journalistic reportage, technical writing, or genre fiction.

Who is it targeted at?

If you have always wanted to make a book out of your family history, if you want to have a stellar travel blog, or even want to write a book where you share all the lessons you’ve learnt from your life and work, then this is the course for you. 

The course is for writers with an appreciation for all varieties of narrative non-fiction and who, ideally, have an existing project in the works.  These writers are interested in writing first-person narrative, observational essays, or investigation-based non-fiction. 

What is expected from the participants?

An open mind to learn and experiment with writing techniques focused toward producing a work (or works) of narrative non-fiction.  The willingness to share your work with others while welcoming and providing constructive feedback.  

What are the takeaways for the participants?

Participants will come away from the workshops with confidence in their own writing, trusting their skills and instincts and understanding where their writing fits into the genre of creative non-fiction.

What is the methodology?

Discussions about specific writing elements in relation to creative non-fiction as exemplified by proven published works combined with in-class and take-home writing assignments.

Each session will focus on one specific component:

1. Setting.  By using all of the senses to write descriptively, the reader is drawn into the setting, the writing becomes more layered, denser and more compelling to read.  Particularly vital for memoir as emotional writing can sound hollow if not rooted in a tangible scenario.

2. Characters.  Whether writing a memoir with the narrator as the protagonist or quoting experts in an essay, every character deserves to be fleshed out.  What does the reader need to know about this person?  Not need to know?  How can this character support your argument?

3. Dialogue.  How can you use dialogue effectively?  How do you make dialogue sound genuine while helping to drive the narrative and contribute to character development?

4. Structure.  Constructing a narrative arc.  When is it best to tell a story chronologically or not?  How do you take the reader on a journey from the first paragraph to the last?  

5. Voice.  From whose point of view is the narrative written?   How does the writer’s voice meet the demands of maintaining plot and characterisation and/or an intellectual argument?

We will not take more than 10 students in a class to maintain an intimate set-up that will scale up your learning. We have partnered with Wet Ink to provide you access to our online organic community at BWW, which will continue to inspire your writing long after the course is over. 

We also have regular meet-ups with published authors, agents, and publishers for the community that you can access if you are in Bangalore. Please visit our Facebook Page to see more: https://www.facebook.com/bangalorewriters

What is the duration?

This is a five weeks long workshop on WetInk, our online community. 

What is the cost?

INR 12,650 including INR 500 as the Registration Fee and Service Tax at 15%. 

Recommended Reading for the Course:

Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo

Around India in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh

Stasiland, Anna Funder

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote

Zeitoun, Dave Eggars

Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer

How to Die in Paris, Naturi Thomas

The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad

31 Songs, Nick Hornby

Wild, Cheryl Strayed

A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kate Summerscale

The Siege, Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark

Essays by G K Chesterton, G K Chesterton

The Moth, Virginia Woolf

Bird by Bird, Annie Lamott

A Room of One’s Own, Virgina Woolf

The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir

How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran

The Ugliness of the Indian Male, Mukul Kesavan

The Mother-in-Law, Veena Venugopal

India after Gandhi, Ramachandra Guha

My Experiments with Truth, M K Gandhi

The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell

Wandering, Herman Hesse

Beautiful Thing, Sonia Faleiro

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found, Suketu Mehta

Two Lives, Vikram Seth

The Emperor of Maladies, Siddhartha Mukherjee

Northern Arts, Arnold Weinstein

Beyond a Boundary, C L R James

In Xanadu: A Quest, William Dalrymple

Among the Believers, V S Naipaul

What I talk about when I talk about Running, Haruki Murakami

Please Note: It's not necessary for you to have read all these books. But knowing a few of them will ensure you enjoy the workshop that much more.