The good thing about nonfiction writing is that most people can write it. You just need to tap into your experiences and put pen to paper. In this way, you can create moving and engaging pieces that look into your personal history. You should note that creative nonfiction is a form of nonfiction writing that tends to encourage authors to incorporate techniques that are usually found in fiction writing, such as personal emotion and opinion into their work.
The broad genre of nonfiction can include a variety of topics like memoirs, sports histories, self-help books, cookbooks, and true crime stories. Quite often, nonfiction books outsell fiction books. This article discusses creative nonfiction writing.
Creative Nonfiction Explained
Creative nonfiction is simply a subgenre of nonfiction that involves writing methods that are closely related to literary fiction. Remember that creative nonfiction writing usually has an engaging and story-centric format that focuses on the narrative of a list of facts. Because of this, creative nonfiction is quite different from other types of writing associated with the nonfiction genre, such as academic textbooks.
Some readers regard creative nonfiction as a more engaging type of nonfiction. Creative nonfiction needs to emphasize on creating a narrative. This is because most readers respond to stories rather than lists of facts.
Good creative nonfiction writing should avoid overly technical terms. Ideally, you don’t have to be great at nomenclature for you to understand the topic at a conceptual level. For example, readers can learn about breakthroughs in gene therapy, but they don’t need to know the difference between adenine and cytosine.
Another good characteristic of creative nonfiction is that it should have firsthand accounts from actual world characters who can determine the outcome of the story. Readers usually want to hear from these characters that lived through the story. The point of view of these characters can be read through interviews or even primary source documents from within a specific period.
Creative nonfiction should also explain the personal connection of the writer to the subject matter. If the writer experienced the events of the book or they were directly affected by these events, it can increase the emotions.
Also, creative nonfiction should be based on facts and must not have any embellishments that can reduce its velocity. Take note that exaggerations or factual inaccuracies can undermine nonfiction books. Therefore, you need to make sure that your creative nonfiction should be based on real life.
Creative Nonfiction Subgenres
It’s worth mentioning that a book that is categorized as nonfiction is also classified as creative nonfiction as long as it can meet the literary criteria of firsthand accounts, a good narrative, a lack of fictional embellishments, and avoidance of overly technical terms. One of the literary nonfiction subgenres is history. History nonfiction usually has true accounts of historical events and eras. Some histories focus on objective facts while others are refracted via the lens of the personal beliefs of the writer. Regardless of the case, history books need to provide true stories so that they can qualify as nonfiction.
Autobiographies, memoirs, and biographies are also a subgenre of creative nonfiction. This looks at the life story of a specific subject. A biography is often written in the third person and explains another person rather than the writer. Memoirs and autobiographies are often written by the subject themselves. Memoirs and autobiographies can be like personal essays and focus on a person who is still alive while writing them. On the other hand, biographies can profile a person who is either living or passed away at the time of writing. Most biographies in this genre tend to reach creative heights because they emphasize narrative rather than facts.
Travel guides and travelogs are also creative nonfiction subgenres. Travelogs are similar to memoirs which can recount a specific experience of a writer who is traveling somewhere. With travel writing, it can offer practical information and suggestions for travelers who are going to a particular location. In most cases, they follow a narrative form and express the personal experience of the writer.
Another creative nonfiction subgenre is journalism. Journalism is often regularly consumed, especially when it comes to magazines and newspapers alongside TV news reports, monthly journals, and many more. You should note that journalism narrates true events that usually have significance to a contemporary audience. Also, journalism can take the form of a book. This includes true crime and narrative nonfiction books.
You can find some books that balance history and journalism. These books can lay out facts about their subjects, such as the missed chances to handle climate change. There are also journalistic creative nonfiction books that create a character with portraits of actual individuals involved in these topics. You should also remember that literary journalism can look into politics.
Humor and commentary are subgenres that take the form of creative nonfiction. These subgenres focus on analysis and reflection on actual-world events that are looked into through the point of view of the writer. They are usually expressed in a first-person narrative. In most cases, this point of view may be political, humorous, or meditative. Humor books can sometimes take the storytelling form and can look more like a fictional novel. These stories are based on objective events, so they take a creative nonfiction form.
Before you decide to write your creative nonfiction, you need to note that captivating writing should tell a story. Therefore, you need to have a story that has the right facts that you want to get across. Besides this, you also need to emphasize narratives and character. It’s a good idea to emphasize people rather than a list of facts, and then apply it to your nonfiction writing so that it can have a literary look.
Above all, you need to share your perspective with your potential readers. You should avoid misrepresenting true facts and make sure that there is a relationship with the material. Also, as a creative nonfiction author, you can describe how your story affects you. Therefore, make sure that there is a difference between your beliefs and the facts of the story.