Tuesday, June 21, 2005

creative non-fiction

'Fiction, from a literal standpoint, is not true — or at least not totally true (not so as the writer is willing to admit) while creative nonfiction, if not completely true, is as true as the writer can make it. I am not unaware of the foggy grey line being drawn here, but one can't be easily literal about art and literature. The creative nonfiction writer tries to be as truthful and factual as possible. Making things up to enhance the narrative is unacceptable. But creative nonfiction is very similar to fiction in technique. The creative nonfiction writer is permitted (encouraged, in fact) to take advantage of all of the literary techniques available to fiction writers and poets. By this I mean writing in scenes, using description, dialogue, specificity of detail, characterisation and point of view. By 'point of view' I mean that the reader can be made to see the world through the eyes of the writer, the subject about whom the writer is writing — or through the invisible third person objective eye. Creative nonfiction is very story-oriented; it is narrative. That's the 'style' part — the creative part.'--Lee Gutkind, interview, taken from dotlit

I am taking a creative non-fiction class, and I feel like I know what creative non-fiction. I think this "definition" really helps to show what creative non-fiction tends to be. It's story. I love how multi-genre encourages this story aspect--this meshing of reality with fictional writing technique.

Sometimes students want to write fiction. I really want them to write what they know first. What they know if infinitely more interesting than the beginning stories they make up. What an amazing success to show students that their stories are important and worthy of being written about and recorded.

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