The University of Iowa

Stealing the Scene: How Nonfiction Writers Can Hijack Fiction’s Most Useful Tool

Weekend July 25 to July 26 2020

In this workshop, we will look at ways nonfiction writers can make their factual writing livelier and more compelling by writing in scenes. In a world where everyone is a photographer and videographer, storytelling styles have evolved to become more visual, and that evolution has influenced nonfiction. Even when reading for information, readers expect the narrative to unfold in dramatic scenes rather than through summary, description, and exposition.


After studying the elements of a scene, we will try our hand at writing and sharing them. This workshop is oriented toward narrative nonfiction writers who write for a general audience on any topic or writers of specialized nonfiction who would like to write for a general readership. A willingness to experiment is the most important qualification and all writers interested in narrative nonfiction, essay or memoir are welcome.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.

Hybrid Forms