This week, my days are filled with stories of Palestine and Sesame Street’s arrival there. I’ve read a fair amount about creative non-fiction, but here I am really coming to terms with the challenges and pleasures of it.
Creative non-fiction, is, as it sounds, real stories made crafted into a narrative, rather than a report: think Black Hawk Down, think 127 Hours.
Characters need to be just that: characters. Not interviewees, not names: no DOBs or current hometowns. The reader needs to be engaged and needs to live the experiences with the characters through the careful, rhetorically-rich crafts that are used naturally and widely in fiction.
With its crossover that leaves that reader wondering ‘is it real, or isn’t it?’, creative non-fiction appeals to intelligent human-focused readers. There is little surprise that creative non-fiction is becoming so popular when you consider what is topping the bill in TV series internationally. For ten years, Big Brother ruled the airways, and each season a new reality TV show draws audiences into the millions. Of course, many scoff at ‘such tat’, but there is still a call for the thinking-man’s reality entertainment.
Humans are, quite naturally, drawn to humans. We are interested in human spirit, in beating adversity, in stories that make us question our own humanity and broaden our horizons from the comfort of our sofa.
So how to take facts, statistics and real-life stories and remove the reporting, remove the dryness and inject it with the pizzazz that will draw a reader into a story and really engage them into a real-life narrative? I did a bit of googling (what on earth do you mean it sounds like I’m procrastinating instead of writing?!) and found a ‘how to’ for writing creative non-fiction. I chuckled when the clearest approach appeared on the site I often use for researching the cleaning articles I write: eHow.com! Brilliant.
So, if you want to scrub up on creative non-fiction writing, check them out http://www.ehow.com/how_2053402_write-creative-nonfiction.html