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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wow, to write creative nonfiction

I'm going to need to not be working. Lots of research and paying close attention to detail. I highly recommend Writing Creative Nonfiction by Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerard. Very informative. The book even has some exercises and stories for examples. I now understand many forms of writing in this category.

I discovered it's important to be extremely observant. Since creative nonfiction is the truth and nothing but the truth, not only do you need to write down your quotes or record your conversations if you are interviewing, you need to note and write down everything you observe:
    • what do you see?
    • what do you feel?
    • what nuances do you notice about your interviewee?
    • the voice?
    • what noises are present?
    • any touch things you can note?
    • smell?
    • taste?
    • emotional responses

The stories in this book are great examples to draw from. I cried when I read the story What They Don't Tell You About Hurricanes by Philip Gerard. I knew what he was going through and he reminded me of the many hurricanes I've trembled through with the house breathing and shuddering. The darkness of shuttered windows and the stillness just before and after and the constant roar in between. Nature, my favorite creation gone. Some in hiding, some blown away. (Those who know me are probably nodding their heads. I monitor hurricanes and weather from June 1st to November 30th and watch weather and research hurricanes the rest of the year.)

A really good example of noticing everything is in the prologue of Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. I'm really getting into this story and love the descriptions that have me right there. Haven't really felt this excited about a book since I read The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Sure, I've read many good books, but their words didn't invigorate me like these and a few others.

Assignment 5 is a personification and I'm trying to find out if I can do that and still call the story nonfiction. So far I haven't come up with an answer. Hopefully my continued research will answer the question.

I'll continue to update you on what I find. In the meantime, if you're interested, check out this  Creative Nonfiction site Lots of great information, back and current issues of the Creative Nonfiction Magazine, classes and more.

Just found out Jean Craighead George died Tuesday, May 15th. I'm re-reading My Side of the Mountain again for the umpteenth time. (yes, I tend to read more than one book at a time)

Happy writing and researching

Condolences to to Jean's family and friends

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