Response to "Towards a Definition of Creative Nonfiction" by Brett Lott

Topics: Writing, Creative nonfiction, Truth Pages: 2 (761 words) Published: October 1, 2008
In his essay “Toward a Definition of Creative Nonfiction”, Brett Lott attempts to describe the genre of creative nonfiction by explaining that there is essentially no definitive model. He begins by presenting an abstract definition of the genre which he later molds and amends with additions to become a much more comprehensive working definition. However before exploring the various aspects of creative nonfiction and what it entails, Lott prefaces his essay with the statement that “we aren’t going to arrive anywhere here”. I found this particularly interesting in that it allows the reader to take Lott’s advice with a grain of salt and amend his definition after one has practiced the art creative nonfiction. He reiterates this last point when he says that “any definition of true worth to you as a writer will and must come to you experientially”. Moreover, the true definition of the genre will come to the reader once he has made the effort to create a work of creative nonfiction.

I found his next point regarding order also particularly intriguing. He states that creative nonfiction is an ordering of the chaos of one’s life and its events. This helps to explain to me the creative aspect of the genre. In order to take “…what we have done, who we have known, what we have dreamt and how we have failed…” one must be able to creatively consolidate these instances and situations in a fashion that is compelling to read. In order to successfully accomplish this Lott states that the writer of creative nonfiction must be able to introspectively analyze his life in order to best portray this order. What I found interesting about this concept was his emphasis on the self-in-relation to other. In this regard one analyzes his life while considering his action and reactions in relation to those in his environment.

This brings his argument to its next major concept stemming from objectivity in writing in the genre. He states that “creative nonfiction cannot be self-serving”....
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