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If representing and exploring the “real” by writing in the genre of creative non-fiction is your goal, we hope these tips about what creative non-fiction is, as well as some pointers on a few genres that are considered creative non-fiction (memoir and the personal essay) can help you. We have also included some links to some well-known examples of creative non-fiction to give you a sense of what is out there. An Introduction to Creative Non-Fiction
What “is” creative non-fiction?
* Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if different (more “creative”) than standard nonfiction writing. * Sometimes called literary journalism or the literature of fact, creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction, such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. * Creative nonfiction should (1) include accurate and well-researched information, (2) hold the interest of the reader, and (3) potentially blur the realms of fact and fiction in a pleasing, literary style (while remaining grounded in fact). * In the end, creative nonfiction can be as experimental as fiction—it just needs to be based in the real. Content of creative nonfiction:
* It's important to clarify that the content of creative nonfiction does not necessarily have to come from the life or the experience of the writer. Say, for instance, the writer is using techniques from literary journalism to create a portrait of a person interviewed. The writer may choose to write a portrait of the interviewee through an omniscient perspective, meaning the writer wouldn't be in the piece at all. * On the other hand, nonfiction writers often choose to write about topics or people close to them (including themselves). As long as the piece deals with something real, or something based on the real, the writer is allowed to take the piece in any direction he or she wishes. * In creative nonfiction, writers attempt to observe, record, and thus shape a moment(s) from real life. Writers thus extract meaning through factual details—they combine the fact of detail with the literary extrapolation necessary in rendering meaning from an observed scene. * At the same time, successful creative nonfiction attempts to overlay fact with traditional conceptions of dramatic structure. While rendering meaning from an observed scene, a piece should suggest a beginning, middle and end that clearly conveys the conflict and the characters, and pushes the action toward some sort of closure. * In effect, creative nonfiction attempts to project a dramatic, literary framework upon everyday existence, rendering it enjoyable, enlightening and potentially meaningful. * While writing creative nonfiction, writers should dwell on sensory details and "show show show." * A piece should never just tell the reader something or summarize—this is what research non-fiction does. Different “types” of creative non-fiction writing:
* Due to the fact that creative nonfiction is an ever-evolving genre of writing, it is difficult to define set types: * The Personal Essay:
A piece of writing, usually in the first person, that focuses on a topic through the lens of the personal experience of the narrator. It can be narrative or non-narrative-it can tell a...
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