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Filling the Gaps: Speculation and Invention in Creative Nonfiction

February 21 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

Virtual Event Virtual Event


Every true story contains gaps. By embracing the unknown, we can transform our material and our writing experience.

Explore the power of what might have been! Learn more than a dozen reasons for speculating and inventing in creative nonfiction–and discover how these techniques can lead to deeper truths. We’ll take inspiration from authors such as James Baldwin, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Joshua Wheeler, consider why their suppositions compel readers, and examine where and how to pivot between the known and unknown. We’ll also discuss how to signal imagined content to readers while integrating it seamlessly. 

This webinar will help you plumb the unrealized possibilities of your essay or memoir and root out gaps in your narrative. Leave with prompts for generating new, surprising material for your work-in-progress—or for starting something new from the stance of “what if?” After questioning what we think we know, we’ll have plenty of time for questions about what we’ve learned and tried.

In this presentation, you will:
  • LEARN how speculation or invention can enhance your creative nonfiction.
  • TAKE INSPIRATION AND COURAGE from audacious examples of speculation in other writers’ works.
  • IDENTIFY gaps in your work-in-progress that you can imagine your way through to reach new revelations.
  • EXPERIMENT with at least one technique for generating speculative content in your own work.

This webinar is ideal for creative nonfiction writers interested in new techniques.

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔


Tamara Dean Author & Presenter

TAMARA DEAN‘s stories and essays have appeared in The American Scholar, Creative Nonfiction, The Georgia Review, The Guardian, One Story, Orion, The Southern Review, Story Magazine, and other publications. Her essay collection, Shelter and Storm, is forthcoming in 2025. She’s also the author of a book on sustainable living, The Human-Powered Home, and bestselling college textbooks on computer networking. She earned an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Several of her pieces have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and “Slow Blues” was named a 2021 National Magazine Award finalist.




Questions? Please email