See also:
Personal Essay Writing

Essay & Opinion Writing I

GUIDE TO NONFICTION COURSES
Nonfiction Pathways
Foundation
If you’re not sure what kind of nonfiction to write...
If you know what kind of nonfiction to write...
Or...
If you want a rather short course...
Next Steps
After completing a Level I ten-week course...
After completing Memoir II, if you want to write a book...
Selling Your Work
If you hope to get published somewhere...

Essay & Opinion Writing I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

Do you enjoy sharing your viewpoints? What do you think of, say, global warming or the latest water-cooler TV show or the forgotten value of handkerchiefs? No topic is too major or minor to warrant exploration. There are many places to air your views—magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs, books, newsletters—and many forms to encapsulate them.

People will be eager to hear you out…if you know how to elucidate your thoughts better than the average loudmouth on the bus. Here you’ll learn about the leading forms of viewpoint writing—personal essay, lyric essay, op-eds, reviews, and others—as well as writing craft and how to market your work.

Whatever you have to say, we’ll show you how to say it effectively and compellingly.

About Essay & Opinion Writing

A great overview and a chance to try your hand at a variety of essay styles.

Nonna Noto

retired economist

Notes

A personal essay is similar to a memoir; both incorporate elements from the writer’s life. But a personal essay focuses more on the viewpoint, and a memoir focuses more on the story. Gotham also offers courses on Memoir Writing and an Intensive on Personal Essay Writing.

Upcoming Classes

Price

Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.

10-Week

Syllabus

This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of essay/opinion writing craft and gets you writing an essay or opinion piece (or two). Course components:
     Lectures
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Week 1
Introduction to Essay & Opinion Writing: The different forms of essay and opinion writing—personal essays, reviews, op-eds, persuasive essays, exploratory essays, lyric essays. Creative nonfiction structure—lede, nut graf, body, kicker. The basics of framing.

Week 2
Purpose and Meaning: Your point (and you do have one). Finding an essay’s guiding principle. The role of theme in creative nonfiction.

Week 3
Description: Putting the “creative” in creative nonfiction. Finding the right word. The art of selection.

Week 4
Voice: Elements of voice. Role of voice in essay writing. Finding your writer’s voice.

Week 5
Personal Essay: Blending the personal and universal. Using your experience to shed light on a larger subject.

Week 6
Review Writing: Structure of reviews. Balancing honesty with mutual regard.

Week 7
Op-Ed/Persuasive Essay: Logic in creative writing. The art of persuasion.

Week 8
Reported/Exploratory/Lyric Essays: Reported—narrative nonfiction using style, dialogue, and description. Exploratory—essays that begin with a question. Lyric—nonfiction that experiments with rhythm, sound, and syntax.

Week 9
Revision: The art of revision.

Week 10
The Business: Finding the right market. Making your pitch.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.

Teachers

Bruce Cherry
Bruce Cherry

Bruce Cherry has been a producer, staff writer, or contributing writer for the Late Late Show on CBS, Tough Crowd With Colin Quinn, The Randi Rhodes Show, Air America Radio, The Final Edition Radio Hour and Jest Magazine. He is a contributor to Air America: The Playbook (Rodale Books) and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Jokes (Alpha Books/Penguin), and was a featured columnist for City Scoops magazine. He has written humor for celebrities and politicians, including a U.S. President. He has also written for animated web series, including The God & Devil Show. He holds a BA from Penn State University.

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Cullen Thomas
Cullen Thomas

Cullen Thomas is the author of the memoir Brother One Cell (Viking). His nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Salon, The Rumpus, The Sonora Review, World Hum, Current Biography, and Penthouse. He has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and the National Geographic channel and has taught at NYU. He holds a BA from Binghamton University.

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Fran McNulty
Fran McNulty

Fran McNulty is the author of the nonfiction books Power Play (Simon and Schuster), a New York Times best-seller, and Most Likely to Succeed (Random House), and of the poetry chapbook Weight (Choeofpleirn Press). Her poetry, fiction, essays, and articles have appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Magazine, Vogue, The Nation, and North American Review. She has taught at City University of New York and William Paterson College. She holds a BA from Harvard.

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