Crafting Non-Fiction That Reads Like a Novel

Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States

May 18 - May 18, 2018


SCHOLARSHIP:None Available

CONTACT: Admin Office at Santa Fe Workshops
PHONE: (505) 983-1400, ext. 111

Examine the myriad ways in which a piece of non-fiction writing can be magnetized, energized, and infused with the literary equivalent of oxygen.

Narrative non-fiction is experiencing something of a “golden age” these days, and never has it been more important for writers of factual stories to understand how to keep their readers turning pages.

In this intensive one-day workshop with best-selling author Hampton Sides, we examine the myriad ways in which a piece of non-fiction writing can be magnetized, energized, and infused with the literary equivalent of oxygen. By employing techniques more commonly associated with novels and screenplays—such as suspense and foreshadowing, character development, shifting POV, and the use of dialogue, scenes, and multiple intersecting storylines—we consider how the all-important quality of “narrative drive” can be achieved.

After highlighting representative passages from non-fiction classics as well as selections from Hampton’s own work, participants have an opportunity, through spirited in-class exercises, to try their own hand at some of the techniques we have discussed.

By day’s end, participants have gained fresh insights and developed a keener appreciation for the storytelling elements that propel and animate a piece of factual writing—helping it to rise to the level of art.


This program is open to writers of all levels.


Enrollment limited to 16 writers.


Tuition includes one lunch.


Featured Writers Include:

Hampton Sides


Creative nonfiction


50 Mt. Carmel Road
Santa Fe
New Mexico, United States

Santa Fe Writers Lab

In the Santa Fe Writers Lab education programs we hold values of community, craft, and the creative process in the highest regard. With our collaborative and affirming environments, a passion for writing and storytelling—and a hunger for shared experience—are the most important ingredients.

Rolf Potts, Hampton Sides, Natalie Goldberg and others renowned in the literary world, provide daily lessons on the art and craft of writing in a variety of genres and travel destinations. In quiet settings, they encourage constructive conversation and motivate you to muse and write.

Our private campus in Santa Fe has long been a sanctuary for learning and study. We share this enchanted place with a neighboring Carmelite Monastery. Dramatic views of the surrounding Jemez and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges, warm sunshine, cool mountain air, beautiful courtyards, access to hiking trails, convenient on-campus lodging—and a private caterer to provide fresh, healthy meals—are the elements that converge to make this the perfect place in Santa Fe to find inspiration and hone your craft.

In Cuba, our home is Convento Santa Brigida, a beautifully restored convent in the heart of Old Havana. Featuring simple but comfortable accommodations, light-filled group meeting spaces, a breakfast room, a library, a chapel, and Italian nuns as our lovely hosts, this convent is a serene base to reflect and write.

Whether you are joining us in enchanting Santa Fe, or dynamic Havana, the Writers Lab provides you with a hub of creativity and community, extraordinary instructors, supportive staff, and the opportunity to take your writing to the next level.