1. Psuedomonas
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    Psuedomonas Member

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    Is non-fiction "creative writing"?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Psuedomonas, May 18, 2011.

    I joined the forum because it has been my habit for many years to chronicle our little adventures for friends and family. So, of course I have written only non-fiction (see "The Rental Car", short stories/humor). But after a few weeks of reading what other have written, and marveling at their imagination, I feel like a little an imitation writer. So whats the place of non- fiction in creative writing forums?

    I'm not unhappy with non fiction- and its what I mostly read. I have a quite large store of life experience from which to draw and it will keep me in business for some time.
     
  2. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is non-fiction creative? It depends how you write it.
     
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  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    ^ That.

    It's creative if you write it creatively.
     
  4. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    In many ways it's actually harder to write nonfiction as you're working in external constraints and have to worry about that 'truth' thing. It also depends on the genre, of course. Nonfiction is a pretty wide net, including all sorts of different styles and purposes, so it depends. Most writing these days, even essays and articles, require a high degree of creativity (in intangible and concrete forms, like imagination and technique) to be successful.

    A lot of the techniques and concepts are similar, though, so there's a lot to learn and eventually as you get better at writing nonfiction you'll realize how much craft and creativity is going into it (if you're doing it well and not simply dryly reporting events, but putting spin and 'story' into your piece).
     
  5. Raki
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    Raki Contributing Member

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    Creative nonfiction is a genre all its own. It includes memoirs, personal essays, literary journalism, autobiographies, and the like, and basically, it is the telling of truth and fact using the techniques of fiction writing. Not everything in creative nonfiction needs to be 100% correct; you are allowed small changes in consistency, like the color of someone's shirt, changing someone's name, and creating dialogue from scratch (as long as it remains in context and factually based). A good book to check out about it is Shadow Boxing: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction by Kristen Iversen.
     
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  6. Vintage
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    Vintage Member

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    As already stated, non-fiction is a restriction. And in the words of Mark Rosewater: "Restriction breeds creativity."
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    short answer: yes, it's still 'creative writing'!

    what is not considered 'creative writing' are journalism, copywriting, advertising, technical or academic writing, etc....

    just google for 'define creative writing' and you'll see what is and what isn't...
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The humorous articles by Dave Barry are non-fiction. They point out the ridicilous in everyday situations, and though there is no fiction involved, they are very creative.
     
  9. AvihooI
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    AvihooI Member

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    I generally think any writing is creative. In fiction writing you have to materialise a brand new, original plot - so this very aspect is probably creative. However, I think it matters not if a story that's told is fictionalised or real. Whenever you describe an occurance of things, you have to come up with a beautiful and interesting way to tell it; I actually see this as the harder part of writing.

    When I come to think about it - making a real life story seem as if it was fiction, so to say, would seem a rather creative process by its own accord. You have real life events to tackle with as opposed to deliberate plot lines.
     
  10. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    Anything that you write/make/produce is creativity in my opinion. So, the answer to your question, is non-fiction creative writing?

    Why yes, it is.
     
  11. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's more that there's a sliding scale of creativity. Some things are more or less creative than others, and any line drawn is arbitrary. That doesn't mean a line can't be drawn but that there are bound to be some problem cases (the sorites paradox). Cog has already mentioned a conventional definition of "creative writing", which is drawing just such a line. Yes, some journalism or copy writing might be more creative than some novels, but that's an inherent problem with drawing the line.
     
  12. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    There's a difference between the term 'creative writing' and creative writing, where 'creative' is just an adjective describing the fact the writing requires some degree of creativity. There is 'creative writing' as a term, and not 'uncreative writing,' for instance, since all writing is creative, but not all writing is 'creative writing.' Though, more and more the lines are blurred and what was traditionally not 'creative writing' is now drawing an increasing amount of elements from 'creative writing,' and of course even the driest scholarly articles require a certain degree of creativity.
     
  13. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    I think nonfiction is definitely more limited then fiction, but it can be made "somewhat" creative. I don't know in my opinion it isn't meant to be creative. It's meant to record facts.

    I guess if you you pop jokes, and have a good an interesting voice that can make it creative!:)
     
  14. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Non-fiction can be informative and to the point with no creative flare whatsoever or it can be amusing, charming, poignant, heartbreaking and maybe with some poetic license.

    For creative non-fiction check out;

    Cider with Rosie - Laurie Lee

    Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt

    Boy - Roald Dahl

    Edit;

    Gervase Phinn does hilarious non-fiction, so much so, he is packing out theatres up and down the UK - look him up on youtube.
     
  15. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some non-fiction is meant to record facts. Some non-fiction is meant to be entertaining. And some non-fiction is meant to do both.
     
  16. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Most autobiographies fall under the category of non-fiction. But some of the people who write them, like Dog the Bounty Hunter, admit up fron that they are writing from the best of their recollection.

    So you may be writing a non-fictional account of, say, the fire that burned down a house across the street from you. But if you're writing it years after the event, it's going to be questionable because you're writing it according to your memory of what happened as opposed to what actually did happen.

    I don't know if that adds to the discussion or not.
     
  17. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    category-wise, by definition, they all do... if they're honest ones, that is...
     
  18. polarboy
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    I think that non-fiction certainly can fit under the umbrella of creative writing, depending on the approach and style of the author. Memoir often is taught as in creative writing courses, and the pioneers in new journalism borrowed many of the structural storytelling techniques of fiction writers, even if the events they reported were factually accurate.
     
  19. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    And yet there are fictional autobiographies out there.
     
  20. Prinkes
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    Prinkes New Member

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    Yes. It's called "Creative Nonfiction." It's about using the same techniques fiction writers use, like characterization, strong scenes, showing vs. telling, to tell your story. The only difference is, your story happens to be true. When it's done well, it's just as respectable as fiction writing or more traditional nonfiction. Most of the best memoirs out there, the ones people enjoy reading because it's well-crafted, fall under this "Creative Nonfiction" label.
     

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