What are you writing these days? Some people find it difficult to concentrate. Others are filling pages with poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and creative nonfiction.
It might be a perfect time to chronicle what is going on in your life . . . if you write this as a journalist would . . . just the facts, that’s nonfiction.
If you add vignettes and personalize your story, that’s creative nonfiction.
Here’s what guest blogger Nancy Julien Kopp says about fiction, creative nonfiction, and fictional narrative.
Most people are aware of the difference between fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is made up, nonfiction is true.
There is, however, a differentiation between nonfiction and creative nonfiction. Nonfiction is generally expository in that it describes, explains or is informative. If you wrote about leaves in a forest in Montana, your readers would probably learn a great deal about the topic. You would write it as straightforward as possible after doing some research and using your own knowledge of leaves in this part of our country.
Creative nonfiction is true, can be informative, and written in story form using fiction techniques. It would probably include some dialogue, description of the place and people and relate a story—a true story.
Memoir writers are writing creative nonfiction. So are those who write Family Stories. Inspirational writers might use this form, too.
I was reading an article about writing for children recently. They used a different term for true stories told with fiction techniques. They called it ‘Narrative Fiction.’ It is a way of teaching children factual material by telling stories. For instance, if a children’s author wanted to write about the Chicago Fire of 1871, incorporating stories of real people who had experienced that tragic event, it would bring the facts to life for any child reading it. Writing nothing but the facts would make the piece strictly nonfiction, but telling about a boy who helped someone during the fire brings it into narrative form and heightens interest.
I’ve written countless family stories, and many of you have, too. They are far more than just reporting the facts of what happened. We want to show the people, the place, and what occurred. By adding dialogue, we bring the people to life, and we add feelings which helps the reader relate. We’re writing creative nonfiction.
I like to think of Creative Nonfiction as telling a true tale with the human element first and foremost.
Nancy Julian Kopp lives in Manhattan, KS where she writes creative non-fiction, fiction for children, personal essays, articles on the craft of writing, and poetry. She has been published in 22 Chicken Soup for the Soul books, newspapers, magazines, and ezines, and several anthologies including The Write Spot: Possibilities (available in both print and as an ebook at Amazon).
Nancy was Prose Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Kansas Authors Club.
She blogs at Writer Granny’s World With Nancy Julien Kopp with tips and encouragement for writers.