Writing creative nonfiction the literature of reality

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Writing creative nonfiction the literature of reality

Just for Fun You've probably heard this a billion times, but it's true—good writers write about what they know. But this maxim, while true, has also been subjected time and again to misinterpretation and misapplication. There was a group of filmmakers in Europe during the nineties who decided they were only going to make films that reflected reality as it actually exists.

They called themselves Dogme 95, and they willingly restricted their filmmaking with rules like "no music unless it's played from a visible source onscreen" and "no faked deaths.

Writing creative nonfiction the literature of reality

The problem was that, even with the many restrictions the directors accepted as a group, they still weren't dealing with reality as it really is.

The mere act of aiming a camera at actors and having them do and say things they've memorized beforehand is unreal because it's scripted and guided. A lot of writers assume they can achieve a similar level of realism in their creative nonfiction.

They dwell heavily on physical details, they work hard to omit nothing, and they offer little to no commentary. But the fact that they're reshaping the past in their own words automatically means that readers aren't being exposed to pure reality.

Which isn't really the point of such writing, which includes memoirs, reflective essays, narrative history, etc.

Writing creative nonfiction the literature of reality

Writers are always trying to say something, even when they work hard to write "objectively. Think of the best storyteller you know. Not the best writer, but the guy who tells the best stories, the ones that have people laughing hysterically or listening wide-eyed.

If he simply relayed facts or events, he wouldn't be the best storyteller; it's because he adds his own commentary and sometimes spurious detail that makes him so good.

So it is with the creative nonfiction writer. She isn't so good because she merely reiterates bare data. Before you protest that this is tantamount to lying, understand what is being suggested: Rather, that they ought to select those details and commentary which are the most interesting and the most meaningful.

This is the only way to communicate something worthwhile to readers. Perspective is a funny thing. Some readers are bound to misunderstand your point, others will strongly disagree, and a few will understand and benefit from the message of your work.

But if you're writing for the correct reasons, and you're crafting your essays and memoirs with care, you'll be making a significant contribution to a field too much overfilled with inanity and sentiment. Hollis Crossman used to be a child.

Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.

Read more of his reviews here.Creative nonfiction is a reality-based essay or article about a specific event, experience, or other explicit topic that uses the techniques of creative writing. Creative nonfiction is factual and explicit but there is always another layer to the narrative.

A complete guide to the art and craft of creative nonfiction--from one of its pioneer practitioners The challenge of creative nonfiction is to write the truth in a style that is as accurate and informative as reportage, yet as personal, provocative, and dramatic as fiction.

Creative Nonfiction Essay Creative Nonfiction Essay 5th Entry – Creative Nonfiction: In the preface to nonfiction (p. of your text), the editors tell us that creative nonfiction illustrates that “no direct duplication of reality is possible in language, that all writing is affected by the author’s point of view” (Baym et al, The challenge of creative nonfiction is to write the truth in a style that is as accurate and informative as reportage, yet as personal, provocative, and dramatic as fiction.

Weekly writing prompts in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for poets and fiction writers. “A genre of literature which includes such subgenres as the personal essay, the memoir, narrative reportage, and expressive critical writing and whose borders with other reality-based genres and forms (such as journalism, criticism, history, etc.), are fluid and malleable”(4).

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