What is creative nonfiction?

The genre of writing termed Creative Nonfiction refers to a style with nearly limitless boundaries.  This style has existed for centuries but has only recently been termed a “genre” in literary circles.  This type of nonfiction is expressed in the form of journaling, blogging, diaries, and autobiographies but is not limited to this style of writing.  It is a combination of the established genres: fiction, drama, and poetry into the fourth genre, creative nonfiction.

There are six pronounced elements in creative nonfiction.  An essay may have one or two to all five of these elements.

  1. Personal Presence- a writer of creative nonfiction should include their own reflection and experience.  The essay should be written as if speaking directly to the reader.
  2. Self-Discovery and Self-Exploration- a writer should include their own interests, opinions, observations, goals, analysis, rants and raves.  The readers should feel as though they are learning about the author, while the author is also learning about themselves.
  3. Flexibility of Form- the days of a strict format in both fiction and nonfiction are long past.  Writers of nonfiction are encouraged to “break the rules” of traditional story format.  There are no rules to follow giving writer’s complete freedom to write in their own voice and form.
  4. Literary Approaches to Language- the language of nonfiction is what guides the reader along in the discoveries and exploration of the writer.  It can be intimate, poetic, figurative, informative, from the past, looking to the future, etc.
  5. Veracity- this is the reliability of the author story as truthful.  In creative nonfiction, it is assumed that what is written are the actual thoughts of the author.  These thoughts, based on memories, research or experiences, generally are left unverified.

Creative nonfiction is a genre that gives a writer freedom in the first person to connect to readers on a personal level.  When a reader connects with a writer’s life, career, triumphs, failures, uncertainties, etc. it becomes a bond that only creative nonfiction can accomplish.

Begin your creative nonfiction experience at http://www.stageoflife.com.


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