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Creative Nonfiction

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October 2009
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What is creative nonfiction?

It is writing about real people and events. It is writing that is based on fact. It is writing that is well-researched. It is writing that uses the tenants of reportage. It is writing that uses the elements of fiction—such as setting, characterization, and plot—to write about real people and real events. It is writing that uses the literary devices, including metaphor, simile, and imagery.

What can you write? Popular types of creative nonfiction include the personal essay, biography and autobiography, memoir, essay, article, and literary journalism.

Popular Works

Here are a few classic examples of creative nonfiction:

 • Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood.”

• Norman Mailer’s “The Executioner’s Song”

• Tom Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff”

• George Plimpton’s “The Paper Lion.”

Resources

If you want to write creative nonfiction, here are two books you should read:

• “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser

• “The Art of Creative Nonfiction” by Lee Gutkind

Next, I will define poetry.

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