Creative Writing Nonfiction
It may ease the pressure a bit if we, as writers, admit that such concerns are actually a part of the story we are writing, rather than something to deal with on our own, in guilty secrecy.In fact, sometimes, when written into the story, our dilemmas can become interesting part of the work, deepening it greatly.Showing your personal essay to a novelist would be like asking a news reporter for advice on a poem.Finally, I think it’s important to be vigilant about how emotionally honest you are prepared to be in your creative non-fiction project.I have little patience for memoirs and personal essays where every second sentence contains qualifications, such as “but maybe the wallpaper was yellow, not brown” or “I don’t remember why I decided to slap my sister”.
Creative nonfiction can be personal where the writer describes his or her own experiences, an essay, a research paper, an article or just simply a poem but which is distinguished from other forms of the same writing by the key factor that the text describes true and actually factual events.
I suggest starting with creative non-fiction classics – the likes of Truman Capote’s ‘In Cold Blood’, Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’ and Joan Didion’s ‘Slouching Towards Bethlehem’.
It is also not a bad idea to read some popular creative non-fiction – Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’, for example.
I even portrayed myself with constantly dishevelled hair even though in reality I sometimes do brush it.
I wasn’t faking, but rather working along the lines of advice from Robin Hemley who in his book about creative non-fiction, ‘Immersion’, wrote: “It’s possible to be completely honest about yourself and at the same time selective and manipulative in the details you choose, for the sake of keeping the prose focused.” To reveal the emotional truth of our stories without boring our readers silly we are ‘allowed’ to reveal about ourselves just the stuff that is relevant to the particular story we are telling.