Writing Non Fiction

Learn to write commercial non fiction for any media - print, broadcast or digital. For writers or aspiring writers to improve, or even broaden their capacity to write non fiction, from magazine articles & blogs to news items & biographies.

Course Code: BWR309
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Write Professional Non Fiction

This course will encourage not only strengthen the skills you have, but will also help you to consider more ways of writing non-fiction.

It focuses on popular media such as magazines, blogs, newsletters and broadcast media. (rather than technical writing - We have a different course for technical writing).

Why Non Fiction?

If you want to work in writing, non fiction generally offers more chances for a secure income; and a more viable starting point than writing fiction. There are always jobs for good non fiction writers. Successful fiction writers on the other hand will more often struggle to make a living (with the odd exception); unless they start out in non fiction, then transition to fiction.

Successful non-fiction authors may not attract the enormous royalties of their counterparts in fiction, but they are less likely to starve. This is because successful non-fiction authors:

  • learn to write across multiple genres 
  • adapt their writing habits and style for different purposes
  • have a thirst for research (and know how to use it effectively)
  • recycle their research to produce multiple versions of their work
  • adopt a more commercially-minded approach to their writing. 
 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope and Nature of Non-Fiction Writing
    • Non Fiction Styles
    • Types of Non Fiction Writing
    • Academic vs Commercial Non Fiction Writing
    • Text types in Non Fiction Writing
    • Text Structure
    • Pseudonyms
  2. Writing Forms and Media Options
    • Sample Author Platform
    • Using Fiction Techniques to Create Strong Non Fiction Texts
    • Making a Story Memorable
    • Hook the Audience
    • Emotional Language
    • Plain and Simple Language
    • Writing for the Readership
    • Ways to Publish/Share Non Fiction Writing
    • Non Fiction Scripts - TV, Radio, Social Media, Advertising, Education, Voice overs, News
  3. News Writing
    • Writing News
    • Headlines
    • Lede
    • Key Point Summary in Digital Formats
    • Reverse Pyramid
    • News Coverage and Focus
    • Conflict
    • Proximity
    • Prominence
    • Impact
    • Relevance
    • Oddity/Human Interest
    • Timeliness
    • Newswriting for Different outlets
    • Newspapers
    • News Websites
    • Broadcast News
    • Newsletters
    • Blogs
  4. Travel Writing
    • Commercial Travel Writing
    • Overused Descriptions in Travel Writing
    • Holidays
    • Special Events
    • Travel Bloggers
    • Adventure Tourism
    • Lifestyle Blogging
    • How to Travel
    • Destination Pieces
    • Adventure Travel
    • Side Trips/Weekend Trips
    • Literary Travel Writing
    • Career Paths for Travel Writers
    • How to be a Good Travel Writer
    • How to Construct a Travel Piece
    • Researching a Travel Piece
    • How to Pitch a Travel Piece
  5. Memoirs and Biography
    • Types of Memoirs - Confessional , Transformational, Portrait, Professional
    • Diaries
    • How to Write a Memoir or Biography
    • Autobiography
    • Research
    • Biography and Profiles
    • How to Pitch a Memoir, Autobiography or Biography
  6. Writing about Leisure Activities
    • Introduction
    • Niche or Widespread Writing
    • Leisure and Hobby Writing
    • Hobby Writing
    • Sports Writing
    • Craft Writing
    • Garden Writing
    • How to Pitch Leisure, Sports and Craft Writing
  7. Writing about Food and Diet
    • How to Write about Food
    • Constructing a Food Article
    • Sensory Writing
    • Recipes
    • Informative Writing
    • Types of Food Writing
    • Nutritional R & D
    • Allergies and Intolerances
    • Recipes, Diet & Exercise
    • How to Pitch Food Writing
  8. Writing about Wellbeing
    • How to Write about Health and Wellbeing
    • Grounding and Context
    • Plain English
    • Research
    • Balanced Viewpoints
    • Different Types of Health and Wellbeing Writing
    • Health, Medicine and Complimentary Medicine
    • Creative Therapies
    • Exercise
  9. Fact Based Storytelling
    • Storytelling at Work
    • Storytelling with Data
    • Sales and Marketing
    • True Crime
    • Historical Events
    • Seeking Stories
  10. The Business of Non-Fiction Writing
    • Successful Writers
    • Collaborative Writing
    • Delivering your Work
    • Management and Opportunities
    • Contracts and Publishers
    • How to Make Writing More Profitable
    • Syndication
    • Intellectual Property Management
    • Legal Systems
    • Protecting Your Work - copyright, Issues
    • Copyright Licencing
    • Risks when Writing Non Fiction - specific, libel, defamation, slander, false light
    • Fact Checking, Perspective & Time Shift
    • Copyright Infringement
    • Accuracy Errors
    • Digital Rights Management
    • Information Rights Management
    • Electronic Books and Magazines
    • Referencing
    • Thinking Outside the Box

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Aims

  • Discuss the scope and nature of commercial and professional non-fiction writing for use in print, electronic and broadcast media.
  • Distinguish between different forms of non-fiction writing used in different contexts including different industries and disciplines, being used in broadcast media, print media and electronic media.
  • Formulate and create news writing for different applications.
  • Formulate and create travel writing for different applications.
  • Formulate and create biographical writing for different applications.
  • Formulate and create craft, sports, hobbies, and related writing for different applications.
  • Formulate and create food writing for different applications.
  • Formulate and create wellbeing writing for different applications.
  • Explain how to write fact-based stories.
  • Explain how non-fiction writing is a business.

Do you have what it takes to be a Successful Non Fiction Writer?

The successful writer should be aware of the commercial aspects of what they are writing. If you give them what they expect (or want), they keep employing you; but if you don’t, you reduce your chances of gaining ongoing work.  
Writers have a tendency to take ownership of their work; wanting to write what they want to write, rather than what a publisher may want them to.   A writer with a successful style of writing, on interesting and successful topics, might decide to do something totally different, and write in a different way, which may not be what the publisher wants.

So, as a non-fiction writer, it is important to consider the balance between what you want to write and the following:

  • Are you willing to be open minded about what you write?
  • Are you willing to accept criticism?
  • Are you willing to write to order?

Many people aspiring to be a writer have an idealised notion of what a writer is like and what sort of lifestyle they live. What do you see when you think of yourself as a writer - an enigmatic, slightly aloof character living a solitary life in a picturesque village in the countryside? This romanticised image of the writer is common but it is not what (in reality) your lifestyle is likely to be. Even if some writers do have this type of character, it also takes shrewdness, forbearance, positivity, flexibility a thick skin, common sense and business acumen to succeed these days as a professional writer. 

 
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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Sarah Berry

B.Sc.(Hons)

Sarah completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) with Honours from The University of Queensland in 2014. With an honours project focusing on glow worms in Australia, she then moved onto a PhD in Aquaculture from James Cook University working with Australian prawn farmers to grow bigger, better prawns. She has a wide range of scientific experience over the past 5 years in physiology, genetics, ecology, molecular technology, statistics, animal health, care, and nutrition. Sarah is currently continuing her work in research while publishing her PhD work.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy

Lyn has 35 years of experience in the Fitness, Health and Leisure Industries. She has a string of qualifications that are far too long to list here; being qualified and registered to teach, coach or instruct a wide range of different sports and other skills.

Lyn established and managed Health clubs at three major five star resorts on Australia's Gold Coast, including The Marriott. She was a department head for a large government vocational college (TAFE), and has conducted her own aquafitness business for many years. Lyn has among her other commitments worked as a tutor for ACS for almost 10 years, and over that time, participated in the development or upgrading of most courses in her fields of expertise.

Lachlan Allan

BA (Hons) Business Administration, BEng (Hons) Electrical & Electronic Engineering

Lachlan has experience in the hospitality, banking and utilities sectors in managerial positions in the UK. Following a career change after moving to Australia, he is also experienced in the medical engineering field where he was an engineer responsible for devices at hospital sites and laboratories

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