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Transcript of Creative Nonfiction
Imagine, Create, and Share!
Vocabulary, Sentence Structure, Purpose (Analysis, Response, Observation, Persuasion)
Basics of CW
Techniques for Creative Writing
The Basics of Creative Writing
Thinking outside of the BOX
Creative Writing is about having the freedom to write without the limitations of conventional writing.
Lose the Structure!
No 5 Paragraph Essays
No Thesis, Topic Sentences, Evidence, or Conclusions
Deals with the writer's emotions
Attitude toward a specific subject
Sentiment the narrator wants to convey to the audience
Description of Tone includes:
formal, informal, intimate, somber, playful, serious, condescending, etc.
Authors set tone by expressing feelings through words
Tone is not an action !
Point of View
Creative writing allows the author to speak from the perspective of anyone or anything.
Writer can become anyone or anything
Ex: Opposite Sex, different background, life, or culture.
Writing traditional stories from a new point of view
Ex: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Wicked, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
"Steven, come here" said...
The description that follows will set the
Tone is not explained or expressed directly.
"read between the lines"
to identify it.
"I feel alive for the first time in years," said Faber. "I feel I'm doing what I should've done a lifetime ago. For a little while I'm not afraid. Maybe it's because I'm doing the right thing at last..."
"I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
- Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"
Parody and Satire
A parody imitates the style of another composition, author, or type of writing.
Normally parodies are written for comic effect and often by applying that style to an outlandish or inappropriate subject.
A satire, on the other hand, is intended to do more than just entertain; it tries to improve humanity and its institutions.
Satire is literary work that tries to arouse the reader's disapproval of an object — a vice, an abuse, or an institution — by ridiculing it.
Euphemism, irony, exaggeration, and understatement to are all tools of Satire.
Examples: George Orwell's
"I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled..."
"I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that children...at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom..."
"A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish..."
Dialogue is one of the ways you can “show” your reader what’s happening in a scene.
Dialogue can move your story along or reveal information about a character.
Using Dialect in Dialogue
Effective dialogue is an essential part of creative writing.
No matter how good the plot or subject line, poorly-written dialogue can turn a reader off quicker than anything.
It should follow some simple grammatical rules.
Dialogue should be enclosed within quotation marks.
A new paragraph should be started every time a new person is speaking.
It should be concise.
Long, wordy passages of dialogue might seem like a good way to get information across, but they can be tedious for the reader.
It should communicate character information.
Good dialogue lets the reader know something about the person speaking it.
It should be broken up with action.
People don’t typically stop everything when they talk. They fidget. They keep washing the dishes. They pace. Don’t forget that your characters aren’t static.
Don’t get too crazy with dialogue tags.
Usually, a few well-placed “he saids” or “she replieds” will do the trick. If your dialogue is well-written, it should be clear who is speaking, even without the tags.
Don’t use too much dialogue.
Your readers don’t need to know everything your characters say, word-for-word.
Dialogue should be chosen carefully.
Don’t try to mimic actual speech.
Our actual speech wouldn’t make great dialogue. We say “um” and “uh” a lot. We trail off in the middle of sentences. We change subjects without warning.
Good dialogue should approximate real speech, not mimic it.
“What do we do now?”
Shadows from the single candle flickered on Heather’s face. It masked the basement smell with green apple. She rolled her eyes at me.
“Nothing, Kristy. Just wait.”
I sighed. I was sick of waiting. My arms, and my legs, were starting to hurt. I drummed my fingers impatiently on the plastic pointer thingy.
“Stop it,” Heather hissed. “You’ll make them mad.”
“Make who mad?”
“The spirits, stupid.”
Right. The spirits. Like I really believed the spirits were going to talk to us on a piece of Parker Brothers cardboard.
What is Dialogue?
Writing Action Scenes
Action scenes aren't just for espionage or fantasy novels: almost every story will have some sequences in which the characters are doing things.
Another form of Storytelling
Parody and Satire
Techniques for CW
“Fortunately for Jennifer, the attacker was far enough away that when he attempted to grab her she sidestepped him and delivered a sharp kick to the outside of his left knee. He grunted and fell back against the stack of wooden crates. He then got up clumsily, rubbing his arm, showing his anger at how easily Jennifer had dodged and hit him.”
Remember, when adrenaline is flowing and things are happening, people don't engage in lengthy discussions. To be realistic, keep dialogue short and snappy when writing action scenes.
Keep the Dialogue Short
Good Action Scenes vs. Bad Action Scenes
An easy way to improve an action scene is by avoiding info dumps.
Pick up the Pace
Keep descriptions of anything besides the action to a minimum.
An action scene is not the moment for long descriptions of setting or telling the life story of a character.
And describe more than just what your protagonist sees.
Some writers use shorter, choppier sentences, or even incomplete sentences.
How do I do this?
“The attacker lunged at Jennifer. She dodged to the side and delivered a sharp kick to his knee. He grunted and fell against the stack of wooden crates. He scrambled up, rubbing his arm, eyes full of hate.”
Verbs and Vocab
Make full use of Verbs
Scenes are not written like the norm in life, so while some of the verbs you use may not be everyday words, they should not call attention to themselves.
drag out the thesaurus
I was watching while Simon was peeling all the potatoes.
I watched Simon peel all the potatoes
Varying the Vocab
Avoid being redundant.
Words can be repeated for emphasis.
Repetition of a sound (alliteration) can also help create atmosphere in your writing.
Repetition must have a
Use variety in Sentence Beginnings.
Be creative in the description of your main subject/ topic.
While volunteering at the animal shelter, I had the chance to work with many animals. I really love animals because of their innocence and happiness. Animals bring joy to my life.
When revising your essays, make sure you do not use the same words over and over and over and over again.
In the first draft, don't worry about verbs: just get the words down.
But in your revision, focus on the language.
Verbs are often one of the most important elements in writing.
They give your scene momentum.
Use Active not Passive Voice
vs. Non- Fiction
The primary purpose is to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions, rather than to simply convey information.
CW works outside the bounds of professional, academic, journalistic, or technical forms of writing. It is typically identified by its emphasis on narrative craft and character development.
What is Creative Nonfiction?
Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between
(fiction, poetry, etc.) and
(statistical, fact-filled, research based).
This branch of writing is composed of the "real," or facts, but employs the literary techniques usually associated with fiction or poetry to report on actual persons, places, or events.
This makes it more “creative” than standard nonfiction writing.
Literary Devices of Creative Writing:
setting, tone, character development, etc.
The genre of creative nonfiction is broad enough to include
travel writing (journalism)
the personal essay.
Voice is the individual writing style of an author.
Writer's unique way of writing and phrasing things.
Combination of syntax, diction, character development, dialogue, etc.
“If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
Whilst these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream..."
A Midsummer's Night Dream
by William Shakespeare
An author's voice takes time to develop. It may be difficult for novice writers to find their "voice."
Distinguishing your Voice:
Wordiness, awkward use of language, and lack of clarity all muffle the voice of the author.
This is the point of Writing Workshops. Give's the writer the chance to hear their work aloud.
Revision is a crucial part of the writing process.
The AUTHOR'S use of language.
In a persuasive essay, usually the author's voice is "academic."
The authorial voice is
based on audience
purposeful shift in voice
Used when you are writing/speaking as an authority.
You should be able to recognize an author's written voice as easily as a person's spoken voice.
Character or Narrative Voice
There is a significant difference between Author and Character voice.
Ernest Hemingway's terse and authoritative voice is very distinct.
His voice is one of the easiest to recognize in the literary world.
However, this hardly means that his character narrators share his voice.
A literary work can be written in the author's style, but the character can still have his/her own voice.
is something we consciously produce.
is formed unconsciously.
(It is the natural manifestation of our inner voice)
Everything we write—whether we’re crafting a text message or trying to mimic a foreign dialect—naturally occurs in our own unique voice.
is something we craft with each specific character in mind.
Writing Dialogue Without Narrative:
Still use quotation marks
is used to indicate when you do not want to switch the character's voice.
Writing should be double spaced
. (Single line spacing is often too hard to read, and/or distinguish which character is speaking.)
No Dialogue Tags
(he said, she said, they said)
You do not need to distinguish the character or speaker with anything other than the dialogue.
Speaker 1: "Hi."
Speaker 2: "Hello."
Speaker 1: "How are you?"
Mary: Good Morning.
Mary: Can I take your order?
C1: "Will you all please rise for the bride."
C1: "You may be seated."
"What do we do now?'
"Nothing, Kristy. Just wait."
"Stop it. You'll make them mad!"
"Make who mad?"
"The spirits, stupid."
Remember you are writing a story first.
The advantages of the letter form are that it presents an intimate view of the writer (or character’s)
thoughts and feelings
without interference from the "author" and that it conveys events to come with dramatic immediacy.
Epistolary Novel -
a novel told through the medium of letters written by one or more of the characters.
The story of a servant girl’s struggle against her master’s attempts to seduce her. The epistolary novel’s reliance on subjective points of view makes it the forerunner of the modern psychological novel.
Also, allows the presentation of events from several points of view lends the story dimension and versatility.
Epistolary writing is not limited to the novel. It was also used for social commentary, used as a vehicle to convey ideas and to educate the public.
Written as a series of documents.
The usual form is
and other documents are sometimes used.
Recently, electronic "documents" such as
have also come into use.
The most common techniques associated with this form of writing are:
Point of vew
Absence of the central voice of the author.
The servant girl Pamela’s remarkable literary skills and propensity for writing on all occasions were humorously burlesqued in Henry Fielding’s
. Throughout the novel, Fielding maintained the author's writing style, voice, and even much of the original storyline. He created a new work that is recognizable as Richardson's but that definitely isn't.
There are three types of epistolary novels:
- giving the letters of only one character
- giving the letters of two characters
- three or more letter-writing characters (ex: Bram Stoker's
A MEMOIR is a collection of memories that an individual writes about.
Moments or events, both public or private that took place in the author's life.
The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual.
"A memoir is how one remembers one's own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked. In a memoir it isn't the end of the world if your memory tricks you and your dates are off by a week or a month as long as you honestly try to tell the truth."
- Gore Vidal
Writing that explores the researcher's personal experience and connects this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.
1000 - 1200 words
Can be written in any form
Here are some basic things you should know about writing a memoir:
A memoir can be about nearly anything in your personal experience/life that is significant enough for you to want to retell it
It can also simply be a snapshot of a moment or a description of a person, place, or thing in your life.
Choose a topic that you care about, to make your piece more descriptive, emotional, and creative.
Seek a deeper or underlying theme within the simple description of an event etc. that the reader can connect to.
Use a lot of description and imagery, if you can, to make the reader feel like they know the topic intimately.
There is no specific form or style that it is necessary for a memoir to have USE YOUR OWN UNIQUE VOICE!
A memoir, though rooted in truth and fact, does not have to be 100% straight laced non-fiction.
Take a new perspective, get creative, find a way to make your piece more interesting, fresh, thought-provoking etc.
Finally, have fun with it! Enjoy it! Memoirs can be very emotionality releasing, fun to play around with. Test your limits and try different ways of writing—it's all about self-exploration and discovery.
Memoirs, Biographies, and Poetry