Writing a Nonfiction Book, from Inspiration to Publication with TJ Stiles (2/3-3/3)

T.J. Stiles

T.J. Stiles

Instructor: TJ Stiles
Contact: tjstiles@earthlink.net
Number of sessions: 4
Meeting time: Mondays, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
Dates: February 3 to March 3 (No class February 17)

Course fee: $350

To register, contact the instructor. All deposits are nonrefundable

Description: In four sessions, a Pulitzer-winning author and veteran of the publishing industry will discuss the challenges of writing and publishing long-form nonfiction. The class is designed for all levels. Novice writers will benefit from discussions of other participants’ actual book proposals, sample chapters, and manuscripts, and experienced writers with projects already in the works will get specific suggestions.

Writing samples are not required to get into the class, nor are participants required to share material. However, you are encouraged to share any material you have already drafted, whether a proposal or manuscript pages, so that you can get feedback and the class can discuss specific examples.

In each session, we’ll explore a different aspect of the process—from shaping your initial idea, to the difference between articles and chapters, to the mechanics of getting published. We’ll examine different kinds of books, from personal memoir to narrative to thematic explorations of large topics. And we’ll respond to participants’ questions and interests to make the class as useful as possible for those who attend.

We’ll examine how to
• define your project for yourself and a potential publisher
• structure the book
• integrate research into a narrative without stopping it cold
• master the different demands of long-form versus short-form writing, from elaborating arguments to character development to plot twists
• refine your style and perfect your storytelling
• draft a book proposal and work with agents and publishers

Journalism and creative-writing programs naturally stress short-form writing—the kind of articles or essays that can be discussed in a single session by a workshop. This class is designed to prepare writers for book-length prose, no matter how far you are in the process or what your level of experience.

Instructor Bio: T.J. Stiles won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Biography and 2009 National Book Award for Nonfiction for his most recent book, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Knopf, 2009). His previous book, Jesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and won the Ambassador Book Award and the Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship. He has reviewed books for the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle, and served as a consultant for and appeared in two films in the PBS series The American Experience. He worked for ten years in publishing in New York, at Oxford University Press and Ballantine Books. He was a 2011 Guggenheim fellow, 2014 fellow of the World Economic Forum annual meeting, and serves on the Authors Guild board of directors.