Creative Non Fiction Writing with Dr Sian Prior


We are living in the age of ‘reality hunger’. The reading public has an insatiable appetite for well-crafted true stories. This course will introduce you to some of the essential skills required to write publishable works of non fiction. From essays to memoirs and autobiographies, from personal columns to self-help books, the ingredients remain the same: well-planned and focussed research, a clear and convincing voice, and an ability to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’ your readers what you want them to know. You will also learn how to structure and write a persuasive publishing proposal.

Course content

  • Finding the ‘story’ from the ‘situation’ you want to describe in your non fiction.
  • Creating vivid ‘characters’ in non fiction writing
  • Choosing the most appropriate point of view
  • Researching marketable genres/formats/projects
  • Research techniques, including interviewing
  • 'Show don't tell' techniques
  • Developing the right ‘voice’ for your story
  • Workshopping and constructive feedback (in class time only)
  • Pitching your work to editors/publishers
  • An insight into today's publishing industry

Ideal for

Public, private and community sector professionals and creatives committed to higher communication standards in non fiction writing. This course is specifically designed to meet the needs of two groups: those who have little practical experience but are drawn to the idea of writing non fiction, and those who already have some non fiction writing in progress and want to underpin their current writing with more skills.

Important Information


1) Think of a brief story about your name that you can tell (verbally) to the people sitting near you, something memorable that will help those people remember your name.

2) Try to think of some creative non fiction works and/or authors you've read and enjoyed, and why. We will have a discussion about this in class.

More information


Students will refine their story-telling skills by developing a deeper understanding of the key ingredients of engaging non fiction writing. They will be able to identify the universal elements in their story in order to broaden its appeal. They will be introduced to techniques for conducting well-planned and focussed research, for developing a clear and convincing writing voice, and for writing persuasive publishing proposals. These skills will help them to write commercially publishable works of non fiction.


Students must be 18 or over and should have an interest in writing non fiction.

Materials supplied

All relevant course materials are included.

Materials to bring

Pen/pencil and notebook.


Participants will be awarded an RMIT Statement of Participation.

Additional notes

Dr Sian Prior is a writer, broadcaster and teacher of non fiction writing. She has worked as a journalist for 25 years and taught writing at RMIT for over a decade. She also runs community writing workshops and mentors individual writers. Sian has a PhD in Creative Writing and her critically-acclaimed memoir ‘Shy’ (Text Publishing) was published in 2014.


  • This course far exceeded its stated goals in addition to my expectations. Every lesson was used as a hook into a deeper topic related to writing and the reasons to write. Joiwind

    Stimulation, feedback, encouragement. Noeline

    Sian is a friendly & helpful teacher who greatly encourages you to step up, stop being scared - and write. Jane

    Sian was amazing. She proved insightful, always approachable and a genuine pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend her to friends. Peter

    Loved it. Such deep industry knowledge and readily applicable information. I'm inspired! Elizabeth

    I enjoyed and learned a lot through Sian's generosity in sharing her experiences as a writer and creative person. Her advice was very practical and personal. Thank you Sian! Dianne

    Thank you to Sian who not only gave us technical skills but also provided specific industry knowledge. Very useful. I've really enjoyed the course, in particular the structure of the lessons and Sian's teaching style. Mona

Printable course flyer

Available course dates

Tuesday 10 September 2019

  • Code S345331
  • Start date 10.09.19
  • End date 15.10.19
  • Hours 18
  • Campus City
  • Fee $735.00
Enrol now
Session  Start  End Hours
Tue 10.09.19 06:30pm 09:30pm 3.00
Tue 17.09.19 06:30pm 09:30pm 3.00
Tue 24.09.19 06:30pm 09:30pm 3.00
Tue 01.10.19 06:30pm 09:30pm 3.00
Tue 08.10.19 06:30pm 09:30pm 3.00
Tue 15.10.19 06:30pm 09:30pm 3.00

Learn more