Showing, Telling, and Holding Back in the Personal Essay

Regular $156.00
Member $140.40
March 10, 2021-April 7, 2021
Creative Nonfiction
Open to All Levels
Online—Flex Schedule
Number of Sessions
Day of the Week
4 Week
Class Creative Nonfiction Genre Rectangle

In this class, we will pull apart the adage “show, don’t tell,” working through the artistic, personal, and political dimensions of this recurrent advice for the personal essay. Using short examples read in class, we will discuss building a structure that creates intrigue, handling exposition without losing momentum, and using scenes to engage readers. Readings may include Och Gonzalez’s “What I Do on My Terrace is None of Your Business” (Brevity) and excerpts from Claudia Rankine’s Citizen, Alicia Elliott’s A Mind Spread Out on the Ground, and others. We will also read Sonya Huber’s essay “The Three Words that Almost Ruined Me as a Writer: Show, Don’t Tell” (LitHub) and discuss how the phrase often works to erase particular experiences and voices.

We will talk about when “telling” is vital and how to make your message clear and impactful. Twenty-five percent of the class will be used for brief writing assignments that you will have the option to share, and 75 percent of the class will be used for reading and discussion. This course may involve readings and/or discussions involving racism, mental illness, teen pregnancy, and/or sexual violence. Specific content warnings will be given before all readings.

About Loft Flex Classes

Flex Classes are completely online and asynchronous, meaning you can complete the course work on your own schedule. They do run week-to-week so a cohort of students can work together, but you can log in any time during the week. There are no live meetings to worry about, so these classes are ideal for people with unpredictable schedules. Because you can sign on any time during the week to complete your tasks, and because there is no live video conferencing, they are also a good option for people with unreliable Internet access.

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