Winter Conference Illustration_Website subpage - blank.png

Writing What You Know: From the Personal to the Page, a Nonfiction Workshop with Sydnee Monday

Creative Lab Syllabus


Who said non-fiction had to be boring? A generative Creative Lab about writing heart-centered stories based on real-life, this session will help you reinvigorate a manuscript or create an entirely new one. Participants will utilize facts about other’s lives or memories from their own to craft engaging stories that honor truth by representing life as it is, in all its rich textures.

Prerequisites and Advanced Preparation:

This intensive will be most worthwhile for those in the beginning stages of writing a manuscript, those who might find themselves stuck in the weeds of revision, or those who simply want to get their non-fiction creative juices flowing. Please bring a mentor text (a non-fiction story for young people that resonates with you) as well as a notebook, pen or pencil, and your laptop if you wish. For those writing about a historical event or someone else’s life, bring reference materials.


  • Introduction (10 minutes)
  • Mentor Texts Sharing + Breakdown (20 minutes)
  • Guided Instructional writing exercises (30 minutes)
  • Break (15 minutes)
  • How to create an outline from free write (30 minutes)
  • Drafting (30 minutes)
  • Small Groups (20 minutes)
  • First Pages Feedback (20 minutes)


  • Identify the heart of your non-fiction idea
  • Discover the type of non-fiction writer you are through analyzing mentor texts
  • Sculpt the personal from the universal
  • Generate tone and enhance characterization from real-life events
  • Utilize literary devices to make real-life more engaging for young readers
  • Collaborate with colleagues to work through knots and enhance readability factor
  • Take the pressure from getting non-fiction “right”
NY24 header 3200X1000.png

Don't Miss Out!