Creative Non-fiction

Craft compelling true stories that resonate with readers

This online course is ideal for: Anyone who wants to write a compelling true story as a full-length novel

You will:
Discover how to write page-turning true stories
Master the art of creative non-fiction techniques
Craft a sensational opening, a thrilling climax and a satisfying conclusion
Learn about your publishing options
Learn how to research and fact-check your story idea.

“This course covered the process of writing creative non-fiction in a methodical and thorough way. The workbook consolidated what I’d heard in the lectures and helped me work methodically through the process of planning and beginning my work.”
– Kate King , Creative Non-fiction graduate

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Key information
Key information:
This is an online self-paced course
Duration 1 This is an online self-paced course

Your 12 months' access begins straight away

Your 12 months' access begins straight away


Overview of this course

What do memoir, history, true crime, biography, autobiography, travel writing and literary journalism have in common? They are all subgenres of narrative non-fiction. Also known as creative non-fiction, these are true stories told using narrative techniques and creative flair.

Perhaps you want to go deep on a topic, like Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. Or you love to research new ideas, such as Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. Maybe you’d like to document a meaningful journey, like Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Or you want to bring to life a period of history that deserves to be told, such as The Lost City of Z by David Grann.

Creative non-fiction is one of the most exciting genres in the literary world. People are interested in knowledge; they are engaged by candour and, although it’s a truism, truth is stranger than fiction. For these reasons, narrative non-fiction has become one of the most popular categories in publishing today.

Anika completed Creative Non-fiction

“I learnt so much from the Creative Non-fiction course and I am a better writer for it. From the very first lesson I felt like I was being welcomed into a place of learning for writers – it felt supportive and encouraging. It encouraged me to question my story narrative, its structure and tone, as well as my characters. I couldn’t have written and published my book without AWC.”

– Anika Molesworth,
now a published author of ‘Our Sunburnt Country' with Pan Macmillan


In this course, you’ll learn the essentials, the techniques and the insights into creating a work of non-fiction that reads like a compelling novel.

In this course, you’ll discover:

  • how to use techniques from fiction to create a compelling non-fiction work
  • the ideal way to structure your story
  • how to write an opening that immediately hooks your reader
  • trends in creative non-fiction and how these may impact what you’re writing
  • the kind of research and fact-checking you’ll need for your story
  • different non-fiction genres and where your story belongs
  • how to build your pace to a thrilling climax
  • how to engage your reader on every page
  • optimal ways to end your story so that your reader feels satisfied
  • narrative non-fiction titles that will always appeal to publishers

And much more!

  • Are you keen to tell stories about a particular period of history that’s always fascinated you?
  • Do you work in an unconventional field that everyone wants to hear stories about?
  • Are you a journalist who’s spent years researching and reporting on a topic of significance? 
  • Have you had unusual life experiences that you feel compelled to share?

Many of us think about what it would be like to write a book but don’t know how to begin.

This course will guide you through the process of crafting your knowledge and expertise into a tangible piece of work.

With skills relevant to novices and experienced writers, this course covers the essential elements necessary to create a compelling work of narrative non-fiction.

The course structure comprises 13 modules, each covering a specific topic relevant to developing your non-fiction work.

Included are how to craft a gripping opening, climax and resolution; how to structure your narrative; the importance of research and fact checking; and how to engage your reader on every page.

You’ll examine the options available for publishing your manuscript and how to ensure it’s properly edited beforehand.

“Very practical and interesting course. Well worth the time and investment!”

Jara McKinlay

How our “self-paced courses” work

This is one of AWC’s 35+ “self-paced” online courses. But what does that mean? Allow us to explain:


Q: What’s the difference between creative fiction and creative non-fiction?
Creative fiction is based on imaginary stories, people and events. Essentially, it’s been made up by the author. Creative non-fiction is based on real life stories, using verifiable facts. However, non-fiction topics are often associated with a dry, straightforward presentation of information.

Creative non-fiction is used to describe non-fiction that’s written using engaging literary techniques – where facts and information are conveyed in a storytelling fashion.

Q: Will this course help me if I’m writing a personal essay?
There are many elements of this course that will help you write a personal essay, particularly the modules that explore your opening, characterisation, research and engaging your reader. However, this course focuses on creative non-fiction in the form of a book – or other long-form text.

Q: Do I need a story idea or writing experience to do this course?
No. If you’re doing this course purely because it’s piqued your interest then you will still learn a lot from completing it. However, if you do have a story idea, then you can immediately apply what you’ve learnt to this idea. You don’t need writing experience to do this course. But if you feel that you need to brush up on your non-fiction writing skills, we suggest that you do Freelance Writing Stage 1, which covers many fundamentals about writing non-fiction articles.

Q: After completing this course, what’s the next step?
After completing this course, the next step will depend on your goals. Many aspects of book writing apply to fiction and non-fiction, so we do recommend either Novel Writing Essentials or Write Your Novel if you’d like professional support as you write your book. If you decide you prefer to write shorter pieces, such as articles, we strongly recommend Freelance Writing Stage 1.

Reviews of Creative Non-fiction

“A major learning during the course was the similarities between creative non-fiction and fiction, e.g. story arc, dialogue, etc. Also, the need to make your story interesting for the reader, not just a recitation of facts.”

Anne Jones

“I enjoyed all the resources! Plus studying at my own pace and being able to download everything for future use. This particular course has really helped me to figure out the journey of my story.”

Liz Kay

“I enjoyed looking at my favourite books in a new way. I have a much deeper appreciation for the ways in which non-fiction is put together. Techniques usually associated with fiction are just as essential in non-fiction.”

Amanda Freeman

“It will give you the impetus to take that half-finished manuscript or that idea that has been floating around in your head for years, and actually do something about them.”

Mandy McKeesick

Key information
Key information:
This is an online self-paced course
Duration 1 This is an online self-paced course

Your 12 months' access begins straight away

Your 12 months' access begins straight away


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