Lisa Jahn, Professional Writer
Creative non-fiction is storytelling with factual information. It is a literary style or genre of writing that captivates the reader with compelling, factually accurate prose about real-world events and people. The goal is to make nonfiction read like fiction. That is not to say the writer embellishes the truth under the guise of creativity, but the writer employs artistic brilliance with honesty and accuracy. In that way, it differs from other genres. Fiction is imaginative, journalism is objective, and research is factual, for example. Each genre has its own tenets as does creative non-fiction.
The unique issues or problems that a writer faces in this particular genre, center on confusion and ethical boundaries. Writers, according to Gutkind, often question what they can or cannot do both stylistically and in content (15). For example, writers question issues such as how accurate dialogue must be remembered or how accurate a writer must be in re-creating an incident. The line between truth and imagination may be difficult to pinpoint at times, yet it must not be violated.
The joys of this genre revolve around the freedom and flexibility offered by creative non-fiction. There are no limits to the subject matter and many formats can be used, such as an essay, a research paper, a poem, a journal article, or a memoir . Writing this genre can be a deeply personal experience as the writer’s feelings, instinct, and responses to a subject are accepted and encouraged. The writer can become part of the story through research techniques as well (Gutkind 22). It is an inspiring experience for the writer and thus for the reader.
An abundance of valuable information was learned from the texts referenced above and listed below:
- In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction, Ed. Lee Gutkind, W.W. Norton & Company, 2005.
- Keep it Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction, Ed. Lee Gutkind, W.W. Norton & Company, 2009.
Please enjoy my creative non-fiction piece: