Spark Your *Outlier* Story: Sept 18 to Oct 29, 2018

Discover 4 unique ways to tell your stories

Whether you're new to creative non-fiction -- or an experienced writer just discovering these four "outlier" forms -- this course will inspire you to tell your stories in innovative new ways.

Join a small cohort of 10 learners led by award-winning writer, Nicole Breit, for a 6-week exploration into the creative possibilities of flash non-fiction, the prose poem, lyric essay, and hermit crab essay.

Students will be encouraged to read and discuss essays by diverse writers working in each sub-genre with an emphasis on craft. In addition to weekly readings, discussions in our private forum, and skill-building pre-writing exercises, learners will submit five written assignments for instructor feedback.

By the end of the course, learners will have gained experience and confidence writing in each of the four CNF sub-genres,
with a deeper understanding of how form and craft work together to create compelling stories.

In this 6-week course learners will

  • Examine the characteristics of each form and craft techniques that make our life stories powerful in course readings and assignments
  • Explore flash non-fiction, prose poems, lyric and hermit crab essays by Isaac Yuen, Christine Byl, Kristina Moriconi, Laisha Rosnau, Susan Olding, Brenda Miller, Dinty W. Moore, Randon Billings Noble, and more.
  • Learn from published CNF sub-genre authors as they discuss inspiration, challenges, and process in audio interviews and text-based Q and A's
  • Ask questions, discuss readings, and share learning discoveries in our private discussion forum
  • Complete pre-writing exercises designed to tap intuition, improve skills, and spark a first draft of each written assignment
  • Practice each form with a brief written piece submitted for instructor feedback
  • Incorporate revisions in one final piece submitted in week 6 for a more in-depth response, recommendations, and next steps
  • Find out how to prepare work for publication

CNF Outlier learning outcomes:

By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the characteristics of flash non-fiction, the prose poem, lyric essay, and hermit crab essay -- and what makes each sub-genre unique.
  • Understand the elements of craft -- including point of view, image, symbol, and voice -- that improve our writing so we can tell our stories to best effect.
  • Continue a writing practice that incorporates new knowledge, skills, and confidence in crafting the compelling stories they want to tell.

Learner support
The instructor will be available for virtual "office hours" Tuesdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm PST and Thursdays from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm PST. At these times, students can expect the instructor to be available for discussions in our forum and/or prompt email response.

Testimonials

Rachel Thompson

I know a lot of phenomenal writers and writing teachers, and Nicole Breit is a leader among them. She is deeply attuned to literary writing and to soulful writers. Not only does she have a deep knowledge of techniques that bring out the best in her students’ writing, she teaches craft in such a down-to-earth, unassuming way that makes writers not only gravitate to her, but believe her when she pushes them to create their most brilliant work. You see, Nicole helped me tunnel through a serious block in my writing practice. She helped me find a way out from the darkness of this difficult material and bring it to light in a way that would make it art. Each lesson in her course taught me different ways to feel safe exploring my difficult story, and also produce something beautiful and worth reading. The forms she teaches are ideal for writers who want to learn to turn their experiences into thoughtful, reflective, pieces and to make meaning out of difficult personal stories. Since taking CNF Outliers, I actually have a long lyric essay in progress—which feels like a rainbow after my long drought. I got there because of the compassion, insight, and quiet wisdom Nicole offers in her lessons. She’s really that good. Nicole will help you unlock your stories, too.

Rachel ThompsonWriter & Creator of Lit Mag Love
Emily Kellogg

CNF Outliers reinvigorated my writing practice. Nicole's enthusiasm for and knowledge of these "outlier" forms was inspirational, and allowed me to explore brand new avenues in my writing. I'm so excited about the creative possibilities I've found in these outlier forms.
Nicole's thoughtful and insightful feedback provided the perfect guidance while experimenting with narrative, structure, and craft. I highly recommend this course to any writer interested in pushing the limits of their creativity, and exploring all of the possibilities of creative non-fiction!

Emily KelloggA Year for Ectoplasm", drafted in CNF Outliers, won the Honourable Mention in Room's 2017 Creative Non-Fiction Contest
Deanna Partridge-David

Before I took this course I had a jumble of stories in my head that Iwanted to tell, and no idea how to begin writing them. My confidence was shaky. I was at mid-life, a thousand demands on my time, and worried that my dream of writing was passing me by. I did myself a favour and signed up for this course anyway. I couldn't be more grateful! It gave me structures to shape my stories. It gave me inspiration. It gave me very healing encouragement and confidence in my voice. It gave me direction for where to go from here so that I can carry on as a writer, not just as an aspiring writer. What a gift! Give yourself this gift. You'll regret nothing. Nicole Breit is just the coach I needed to help me. She's generous with compliments and unflinching with constructive feedback, a trustworthy editor. Her experience and the perspectives she shares of other writers and editors is invaluable in teaching how to proceed from creation to
publication. I can't recommend the course enough.

Deanna Partridge-David"Lost and Found", drafted in CNF Outliers, was published in Room 41.1
Shirley Harshenin

Nicole Breit’s CNF Outliers course is packed with invaluable informationfor the creative non-fiction writer. She introduces several experimental forms, the lyric essay, hermit crab essay, prose poem essay, flash non-fiction, that I didn’t even know existed, and am now so excited to put into practice. Each lesson is presented in a variety of formats, text, graphics, web links, audio files, Q&A with writers and editors, etc. Her feedback is prompt and thorough. The final lesson delves into revision, polishing and publishing. I enjoyed every aspect of this course. Highly recommend it.

Shirley Harshenin"Letters to My Brothers", drafted in CNF Outliers, was published in Room magazine's "Family Secrets" issue
Lindsay Bennett

The Outliers course encourages you to push the boundaries of CNF in new and intriguing ways, while diving deeper into your own creative process. Nicole is an incredibly talented writer and a natural teacher, whose approach is friendly, relaxed, and always helpful. The course content strikes a great balance of being informative and interesting, and there's no better feeling than walking away after six weeks with new writing skills and four completed pieces.

Lindsay Bennett
Maria Lazebnik

Nicole's course has greatly expanded my horizons. I learned so much about literary CNF. This course gave me a way to think of how to fit the stories within specific interesting forms and shells. I often see myself finding connections between random topics, facts and ideas, and I did not realize that I could apply this to my writing. Nicole' course was invaluable in that it taught me to let go of my inhibition, and use all of these interesting thoughts and connections in my writing. Nicole is also wonderful at providing detailed feedback on my work.
She's really understood what I was trying to get across, very sensitive in terms of seeing the "subject behind the subject". She provided very detailed comments that will help me to revise my work for publication in the future.

Maria Lazebnik
Sharon Wexler

As a fiction writer, this course saved me years of experimentation.My knowledge and practice with CNF outlier forms grew exponentially each week with the support of comments on my work that I could actually use. Nicole is a gifted teacher, writer. She is a life long learner. I never thought writing could be fun again. After taking this course, I experienced a resurgence of the initial conditions which I began writing, but with the knowledge I had gained. My writing is fresh, new and my voice shines. I loved the course, especially the deconstructions of the poems and the craft essays.

Sharon Wexler
Val Vine

As a "new" writer, Nicole's CNF Outliers course was the perfect starting point! What I valued, beyond her succinct and knowledgeable lessons, was the time she spent encouraging me AND my writing. The insecurities of the writer are as debilitating as the absence of skill; Nicole was as stupendous is her kind and supportive words about my effort, as she was at providing pointed, refined suggestions about my work.

Val Vine
Lisa Rilkoff

This course is excellent. Nicole crafts engaging and inspiring lessons, is attentive and sensitive to her students' needs, and no doubt builds better writers. My CNF has a lot more depth and fearlessness after tangling with these experimental forms, and I am grateful for the fresh perspective.

Lisa Rilkoff
Dawn Chapman

Taking Nicole Briet's online CNF course not only introduced me to unique CNF forms but also provided links to incredible pieces of published CNF work, interviews with authors and editors which added a lot of depth and enjoyment to the course. Nicole also includes practical tools like checklists and pre-writing exercises to guide and push us to produce. Channeling my life experiences through these forms really invigorated my writing and allowed me to express myself in ways that the usual genres of traditional short story telling could not. Nicole's feedback on my writing was thorough and honest. Her encouragement and her feedback has given me confidence to continue my CNF writing journey.

Dawn Chapman
Beth Girard

The content and presentation of this course exceeded my expectations and so, it is without hesitation that I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about creative non-fiction. The course material is rich, well organized and sequentially presented, the addition of interviews with referenced authors served to deepen my understanding of a concept under study, and the feedback was detailed, well informed, professional and very helpful. I found Nicole to be helpful, kind and supportive, as well as highly knowledgeable about her topic. It was a real pleasure to have done this course with her.

Beth Girard
Nora-Lyn Veevers

This course is great! Receiving the new lesson each week was like getting a present - I couldn't wait to open it and dive in. Nicole's instruction and analysis is clear and rich with lots of examples of the forms presented. Her feedback one ach piece of writing submitted is thoughtful and generous and very, very helpful. I learned so much and was introduced to so much new reading to explore.

Nora-Lyn Veevers
Heather Diamond

This is by far the best writing course I have taken.

Heather Diamond
Kathy Kehrli

I had been in a pretty big writing rut until I signed up for Nicole's CNF Outliers course. From the outset, I told her that I wanted to find the fun in writing again. Her course delivered big time in that regard. I am hoping to take the writing momentum she helped rebuild with me.”

Kathy Kehrli
Deborah Johnstone

Nicole's CNF course challenged me to "think different" and to work in a way that was initially uncomfortable. It ended up being extremely freeing and was exactly what I needed in order to overcome a sense of confinement in my work.Nicole's course and revision suggestions were instrumental in developing clarity about the process and enabling next steps. Also, feedback was excellent and actionable.

Deborah Johnstone
Abby Palmer

I wish there'd been a course like this when I first began writing nonfiction five years ago. I feel as if Nicole has let me in on a wonderful secret, like she's opened up the back of a pocket watch to reveal its inner workings. With all their seeming limitations, the short nonfiction forms taught in her course offer a freedom in storytelling that the longer, conventional forms cannot .And, like a swiss watch, nothing is superfluous. I highly recommend exploring these exciting forms with Nicole as your guide. In addition to her well-structured syllabus and insightful feedback, her enthusiasm and warmth make her the ideal teacher.”

Abby Palmer