And to those of you who came here looking for a post about writing, I will not disappoint.
Today starts a new month-long series, A Study in Genre. Every week I'll be talking about a different genre, what it is, how it works, how to use it, and what to avoid with it. It'll be a lesson for everyone involved, because as you'll see, every writer still has much to learn about writing. Even the pros would tell you that.
I took some CNF classes in college, and the first thing I noticed in these classes is that almost no one actually knew what creative nonfiction really is. All the students looked around like they had no idea why they were in this class or what they were really here to learn, and even the teacher seemed a bit baffled on how to teach it.
That's because to most of us, creative nonfiction sounds like an oxymoron.
See, we're taught that nonfiction has to be dry and boring, that there's no flair to it, no style or real story. But that's not true at all, and that's where creative nonfiction comes in.
Nonfiction, in general, just means something that isn't made up. It's real, it's things that actually happen, or even textbooks to teach about specific topics. Those books we've all read in school, in whatever class, are nonfiction. Most of the stuff we read all the way through college (even novels) is also nonfiction, because for some reason teachers think it's the best genre to learn from.
As you well know, I beg to differ.
Creative nonfiction, essentially, bridges the gap between fiction and nonfiction. In CNF, we're allowed to embellish a little bit here and there. That means we can include things like dialogue, notions into the thoughts of every character's mind, and studies that go deeper than the average nonfiction novel can do.
Really, CNF is a license to lie. People who read CNF know that not everything in these stories is true, that there are things the writer has embellished upon to prove a point — and that's exactly what we should do with it (but I'll get more into that later).
For those of you who were confused, I hope this clears things up a little. CNF is a really fun genre to work with, which we'll see through the rest of this week. It's a genre that's not just about telling the story of a real person, but about telling a story, in the same way that fiction would do.
Check back in on Wednesday to read my favorite things to do with CNF, preferred POVs, and more!
[love & happy memorial day]