The Nonfiction Story: Beginning to End

The Nonfiction Story: Beginning to End


Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University



12 hours



This class explores the rudiments of documentary storytelling, with the goal of taking you from the stage of having an idea to crafting something presentable and publishable. Since all narrative possesses the same formal characteristics regardless of genre, we will study examples of film and audio documentary as well as writing, covering such topics as how to utilize interview testimony; introducing character; foreshadowing; planting a hook; exposition; surface text versus subtext; the problem of pacing; endings and resolution; and revision.

The instructor closely monitors your progress and drafts, making sure that by the end of the eighth week your piece is done. Syllabus includes readings by Toni Morrison and Colson Whitehead; episodes from the Criminal and Home of the Brave podcasts; and films by Barbara Kopple and Raoul Peck.


Benjamin Hedin


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