Creative Nonfiction

writingCreative nonfiction.  Creative nonfiction.  Creative nonfiction.  Not only can I say it with a straight face, I can do so several times in a row.

Not long ago, I had a writer tell me that she didn’t like to write nonfiction because it simply isn’t creative.  She wants to play with character and story. 

If that’s how you feel, try writing today’s nonfiction vs the encyclopedic fodder we grew up on.  Today’s nonfiction uses many of the same elements of fiction including: 

Story:  Like fiction, creative nonfiction has a beginning (introduce your topic), a middle (the body of your work), and the end (conclude and wrap things up in way that keeps your reader coming back).  The story that you choose to tell influences which facts you include.

Characters:  The people that walk your nonfiction are just like characters.  They have motivations and plans that often conflict with each other.  Use these to create your story and then let them tell all about it through. . .

Dialogue:  Unlike the biographies of long ago, when you use dialog in today’s nonfiction, you need to quote things that were actually said.  No fair putting words into someones mouth.

Go to your local library and peruse the nonfiction.  Find something that interests you and see how the author uses the elements of fiction to move their story along.  You might be surprised at just how creative nonfiction has become.

–SueBE