Presentation on theme: "What it is… What it is not… What kind of nonfiction we will write…"— Presentation transcript:
What it is… What it is not… What kind of nonfiction we will write…
What is Creative Nonfiction*? *Hereafter coined CNF Loose Definition (in my own words): Creative nonfiction is a hybrid genre of writing that combines some and/or all of the elements of fiction writing (form, character, voice, plot, conflict, tension, setting, etc.) with factual subject matter to produce true* literature. *True as in, this stuff is not made up, this is the real deal, or as MTVs Real World brags, This is a true story.
So gimme some examples… You can find CNF just about everywhere these days. Even though its a relatively new genre, its pretty much BOOMING. Check out all of the different forms of CNF below. Familiar with any? Where did you see it? Blogs Personal Essay Lyric Essay Creative Reportage Memoir Profiles
Blogs Of course, blogs could be fictional, but there are some pretty sweet nonfiction ones out there. Check out Former MFA student, Amelia Morris, writes this blog to [tackle] semi- ridiculous to outright ridiculous gourmet and/or seemingly intense recipes, despite [her] novice skill set and average-at-best collection of kitchen appliances and cooking tools. Check out how she uses her unique voice to lend a creative edge to this nonfiction blog. One of my favorites for voice is her take on Mario Batallis Gnocci with Fresh Tomatoes…Gnocci with Fresh Tomatoes…
Personal Essay… What the heck is that? Long story, really, extremely, almost too short: Its an organized, essay- length (whatever that means to you…more on that later) piece of writing that communicates a writers thoughts, feelings, opinions, and/or musings on a particular subject. Sometimes it incorporates little pieces of memoir, but for the most part, personal essay tends to focus on subject versus story or memory. For a great example of personal essay, check out Confessions of a Dimwitted Word Thief by Tim Bass in Show & Tell 6. David Gessner, UNCW professor and nonfiction writer extraordinaire, is kind of really into personal essay. He even made a Youtube video of one his personal essays… Skiing the Beach. David GessnerSkiing the Beach.
Lyric Essay… Lyric Essay is kind of a sticky subject because its wicked hard to define. It shares its roots with poetry and personal essay. It basically takes a personal essay and adds elements of poetry to it like form, metaphor, imagery, and other poetic devices. Its a pretty interesting form as it really opens up the possibilities for personal essay, including the opportunity to incorporate memoir more liberally. Check out A Postcard Memoir by Lawrence Sutin.A Postcard Memoir Sarah Messer, a member of our Creative Writing department faculty, is a huge fan of the lyric essay. She often teaches courses geared specifically toward the subject, but should you want to explore lyric essay more, her nonfiction workshops would be a great place to start. Sarah Messer
Creative Reportage The news doesnt have to be boring… Creative Reportage, or immersion journalism as it is sometimes called, is when a journalist or writer reports on factual events, but is allowed the freedom to include his/her own thoughts, impressions and reflections on what they found. Often creative reporters immerse themselves directly into the event or story they are reporting on to give the reader the closest possible vantage point of the facts (without being there themselves), but often, they also immerse in the story to get down to the bottom of whats really going on. Check out New Jack by Ted Conover.Ted Conover Writing creative reportage is one of your options for the nonfiction piece we will workshop.
Memoir People do care about your story...especially me. Memoir is a story about you written by you. Its different from biography because it doesnt have to start at birth and end at death (obviously, you are writing it after all). A memoir is a small window into your life, Sarah Messer, a nonfiction & poetry professor at UNCW often says. Its told like a fiction story – there are scenes, characters (including you), plot, conflict or tension, setting, etc. – but you cant make it up! Check out Santaland Diaries by David SedarisSantaland Diaries Writing a memoir is one of your options for the nonfiction piece we will workshop.
Profiles Profiles are wicked cool because they take the classic newspaper or magazine interview to the next level. In a profile, writers dont just interview with standard questions, they follow (with permission of course, you dont want to be mistaken for a stalker) the subject throughout their day (often for multiple days) making notes of scenes, interactions, the characters of the subjects life, etc. The resulting profile is not just a dialogue between interviewer and interviewee, but a story about the subject and who they are. Check out, Was This Man a Genius by Julie Hecht, if you want to look at a book-length profile. Its a profile on Andy Kaufmann, whos pretty insane.Andy Kaufmann
Workshop Dates Now that you have an idea of what CNF is and what your options for workshop pieces are, lets pick out workshop dates. Wed, October 13: Fri, October 15: Mon, October 18: Wed, October 20: Fri, October 22: Mon, October 25: Wed, October 27: Fri, October 29: 1. 2.