Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn't there a Novel Writing I course?

Course Information—Specific

Our Fiction I course is an entry-level course where you gain a foundation in the basics of fiction craft, as they apply to both short stories and novels. Students in Fiction I are encouraged to work on short stories, as they are a great starting point, but you may also work on novel chapters if you wish.

After Fiction I, you may take Fiction II, which focuses on short fiction, or Novel II, which focuses on novels.

Are the Children's Book courses just for picture books or do they include books for older kids, even young adult books?

Course Information—Specific

Gotham's Children's Book courses cover the full spectrum of children's books, ranging from picture books for the very young to "young adult" novels for teens. Many children's book authors write for various age levels, so it makes sense to group all these age levels together.

If you are working on a "young adult" novel and you don't wish to be in a class where books for younger children are discussed, then you may take one of our other fiction courses (Fiction/Novel, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery).

What's the difference between Creative Writing 101 and Fiction Writing I?

Course Information—Specific

Creative Writing 101 is a 6-week course that deals with fundamental creativity in prose writing, any kind of prose writing, both fiction and nonfiction. There are lectures and exercises, but you don't present a project for group-critique. It's a good course if you aren't sure what kind of writing you prefer, or if you just want to wade into the storytelling process more slowly.

Fiction I is a 10-week course that focuses exclusively on fiction writing. In addition to lectures and exercises, every student twice submits a project for group critique. Students are encouraged to submit short stories, but chapters from a novel are also acceptable. Fiction I is a good course if you know you want to write fiction and you are eager to have your work critiqued.

Fiction I is longer in duration than Creative Writing 101, and there is a heavier workload. Many students begin with Creative Writing 101, then move on to Fiction I. But if you want to focus on fiction right away, you are welcome to start with Fiction I.

What's the difference between Creative Writing 101 and Creative Nonfiction 101?

Course Information—Specific

Creative Writing 101 deals with fundamental creativity in prose writing, any kind of prose writing, both fiction and nonfiction. Creative Nonfiction 101 focuses on the more creative forms of nonfiction, including memoir, personal essay, feature articles, profiles, reviews, and travel writing.

Both courses are great entry points for writers. The chief difference: Creative Writing 101 deals with both fiction and nonfiction and Creative Nonfiction 101 deals only with nonfiction.

What is the difference between fiction and memoir?

Course Information—Specific

Fiction refers to work that is entirely or partially fabricated. Many works of fiction draw heavily on true-life experiences, but they should not be entirely true-to-life. Memoir refers to work that is entirely true-to-life, with perhaps a tiny bit of storytelling license or name-changing. If you want to make some things up, or avoid offending anyone, then go for fiction. If you want to tell "real" stories derived from your own life, then go for memoir.

What course is best if I want to work on a nonfiction book?

Course Information—Specific

If you're working on a memoir, then take a Memoir course. If you're working on a nonfiction book that is not a memoir, then it's a little trickier.

Nonfiction books that are not memoir enter the market as a nonfiction book proposal—a detailed analysis of the book, along with sample material. (Memoirs are sometimes sold on the basis of a proposal, but more often than not, they are sold as a finished manuscript.) If you want to see if you have a viable book idea, or refine your book idea, then take the Nonfiction Book Proposal course. However, this is more of a "selling" course than a "writing" course.

If you want to focus on the writing, then you could take Article writing if the book is largely objective and journalistic, or you could take Essay & Opinion if the book is largely subjective and grounded in your personal views. In these courses, students work on short-form pieces rather than books, but it's good to start with shorter pieces, just as we encourage fiction writers to work on short stories before they tackle novels. The short pieces you work on might well end up in your book and you will improve your writing by working on these shorter pieces.

Can I work on "genre" fiction in the Fiction and Novel courses?

Course Information—Specific

Absolutely. You can work on any kind of fiction in our Fiction and Novel courses. But if you're working on "genre" fiction, you may prefer to take one of our "genre" courses—Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction & Fantasy.

Showing 1-7 of 7 items.