People browsing books often check the cover for the author, title, and person who wrote the foreword. They then take a look at the back cover. If interested, they can go to the first chapter. Remember that your first paragraph needs to compel your readers to continue reading the book. The strength of creative nonfiction usually comes from using a method that is common in fiction, letting a visual trigger in the minds of your readers.
Certain creative nonfiction stories need to be narrated exactly as they happened. You don’t need to resort to fiction to capture the attention of readers. No doubt, creative nonfiction is usually the right way to go. This post discusses what you should know before you write a creative nonfiction book.
It’s worth mentioning that creative nonfiction has been around for many years, but the term has become common in the last forty years. But what is creative nonfiction? Creative nonfiction also called narrative or literary fiction is a genre that utilizes literary elements related to fiction writing to tell true stories. The length is usually not a problem in characterizing this genre, so the writing style can take a variety of forms, such as a book or an essay.
Creative nonfiction is one of the popular literary genres. In the past, people used to define literature as drama, poetry, and fiction, but creative nonfiction is increasingly gaining recognition and popularity in the literary world.
Remember that creative nonfiction stories focus on real-life events, people, experiences, and places, but it does it in such a way that readers can feel emotionally invested in your writing. Nonfiction that doesn’t have a creative designation can also tell true stories, but there is less emphasis on space for creativity.
The best nonfiction should tell a true story but in a literary or artistic way. Therefore, the story should have certain elements like descriptive imagery, plot, setting, characters, conflict, and other literary devices. Quite often, creative nonfiction writing is narrated in the first person, but you can sometimes write it in the third person. It can be personal and lyric or represent crucial moments in history. The story can also be more scholarly and objective, such as pieces of investigative journalism.
When a person is reading creative nonfiction writing, they need to bear in mind that the story is true. Therefore, the writer doesn’t have a lot of artistic freedom compared to a fiction writer or poet. This is because you cannot invent situations or events which never happened. This means that you have to pay attention to all the literary devices as well as other artistic options you make.
Key factors in creative nonfiction
Everything you decide to say in your creative nonfiction story needs to be true. Therefore, you must make sure that you record only verifiable events that you researched or the events you remember.
In most cases, it can be tricky, especially if you intend to write your story. It can be tempting to alter or leave out some details that put you in a bad light. But the creative nonfiction genre requires accuracy and honesty. Sometimes, information cannot be available or you can have conflicting accounts of a conversation or an event. Ideally, you should not contradict what you already know is the truth. And, if there are various versions of the event, you should present all of them so that the readers can choose what is the most convincing.
Creative nonfiction is different from a news article or textbook. Instead of just reporting a series of facts, creative nonfiction writers present these facts in narrative form. You can achieve this if you have the right tools for fiction writing.
Rather than narrating the story chronologically, you can start by getting your readers straight into the action. This means that you can reveal the events that caused the dramatic event by going back to the earlier time or even referring to it in conversations and flashbacks.
You can also draw your reader into the story by using descriptive and vibrant language that brings life to the characters and settings. Even better, you can improve your writing by utilizing metaphors, symbolism, foreshadowing, dramatic irony, and many other literary devices.
The best way to tell the story accurately is to do thorough research. Regardless of whether or not you intend to write about your experience, it’s a good idea to draw on the memories of other people who experienced the event rather than just relying on your memories. Besides, you can get relevant information from old newspapers, books, and the internet. You can even decide to visit areas that are important to your story.
Also, you need to keep records of the sources of your information. This applies even if you decide not to refer to your sources in the article or book. Keep in mind that there are chances that you may need to verify the information you have written. And, if you intend to go back and check the finer details, it can be tricky to remember where or what to look for, especially if you failed to write it down.
Creative nonfiction is a genre that stands out on the market. One of the things that make this genre unique when you compare it to traditional journalism is the voice of the writer. Your voice is usually a key element when it comes to creative nonfiction. You need to relate events truthfully, but you can also share your feelings and opinions and let them affect the way you write.
It’s up to you to make sure that you present the characters, events, and setting of the creative nonfiction writing, but an editor can also help you to eliminate writing errors, such as grammatical mistakes and typos. Remember that you can come up with a great creative nonfiction piece, but some minor errors can affect your readers. Most readers can fail to finish reading your story which has many grammatical mistakes and other errors. This is the reason why it makes sense to hire an editor to polish up your story.