Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Characteristics of Creative Non-Fiction (CNF)


I write mostly creative non-fiction. So I was excited to learn that at the 2011 Susquehanna Valley Writers Workshop, Patti Souder would be teaching on Creative Non-Fiction. CNF is a relatively new genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Here are some of the characteristics of CNF that Patty shared. 
  • CNF is a true story, well told.
    • Although it expresses opinions, perspective and feelings through the author’s views of life, it must be anchored in real experience
    • May require research to verify facts and give accurate pictures
  • Literary Elements of Fiction Used in CNF
    • Theme: A central idea is woven throughout the work and reveals a universal truth.
    • Point of View: Personal presence is a hallmark of CNF and usually requires 1st person.
    • Setting: Time and place influences the action, character, or theme.
    • Characters: Well-chosen details bring the characters to life.
    • Plot: Conflict (struggle involving the protagonist and an opposing person or force) and the order in which things move or happen, combine to create plot.
    • Style: How the author says something—the choice of words and the use of language, sentence construction, and imagery—adds significance and impact to the writing.
  • Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism. Forms within the CNF genre include:
    • personal essays
    • memoir
    • travel writing
    • food writing
    • biography
    • Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul type stories
    • other hybridized essays
Pam Williams at www.2encourage.blogspot.com 
©2011 Pamela D. Williams

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