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Meanwhile, what form the genre takes is a bit more complicated.Creative nonfiction can range from the purely personal (such as memoir or personal essay) to the researched and reported (narrative journalism). They can be strung-together essays or strung-together flash pieces.After all, could well be considered a work of creative nonfiction.
But when you start to drill down into genre labels, things become murkier. They can be several of these forms or sub-genres all at once.
Within the memoir genre alone, there are food memoirs, stunt memoirs, medical memoirs, grief memoirs, travel memoirs, and more. And on top of that, personal pieces and researched/reported pieces can be woven together.
Although creative nonfiction certainly existed before Gutkind, he does have some helpful insight that may benefit you as you take up your journey in narrative nonfiction writing. Moore is also a good place to go if you’re looking for specific advice on essays and not necessarily long form narratives.
Although this next one isn’t specifically about writing creative nonfiction, Steven Pinker’s So you want to be an essay writer?
Quite simply, she doesn’t mess around with extra words.
Didion also places you right in the middle of her emotions and conflicts.One of the most important tenants of DIY MFA is reading with purpose.When you want to be a writer, you have to target your interests, and make sure that the books you pick up target them, too.But her unique way of imbibing the advice with her life experience and reading makes her delivery unique.I’ll never forget the section that’s dedicated to coincidence—an aspect of craft that I’ve never heard anyone attempt.After all, he is the guy that coined the name for this genre.He’s the editor of Creative Nonfiction magazine and author of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide To Writing Creative Nonfiction.What about the reconstruction of scene and dialogue? The simplest definition I’ve seen: creative nonfiction is a form of nonfiction that uses the elements of fiction—scene setting, dialogue, narrative arc, etc.—to tell a true story.And while the lengths to which writers push the bounds of creativity can vary, it’s nonfiction only if the writer can stand behind the content 100 percent and attest to its veracity.Basically, coincidence is great, but you shouldn’t let your plot hinge on it. I’d say there are two things to take from this example: first, it’s quite possible for a fiction writer to have excellent aptitude for creative nonfiction.Also, it’s fine to encounter books by coincidence, but our reading lives shouldn’t hinge on discovering books that hang out on display shelves at the library.