When writing about difficult subjects such as social or personal issues—addiction, sexual violence, gun violence, poverty, severe illness—it is essential to find the heroes and heroines, whether a central character and/or the people who help them, as well as the compelling, uplifting side to the story. That makes the nonfiction narrative more engaging and complete, not just focused on problems. It gives the reader a satisfying takeaway that good can often arise out of a terrible experience. The workshop will guide students on how to uncover that information via in-depth interviews and research, while identifying the good guys and the positive components of the story. The goal is to write a nonfiction piece that reveals the challenges overcome and provides a satisfying, perhaps even cathartic, inspiring conclusion for readers.
Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,000 articles in numerous publications, including American Theatre, Balanced Living, Christian Science Monitor, Cleveland Magazine, Crain’s Cleveland Business, History Magazine, The Plain Dealer, Scientific American, and Time.com. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice was published by Skyhorse Publishers in May 2018.