"Nonfiction means that our stories are as true and accurate as possible. Readers expect—demand—diligence." Lee Gutkind
There have been some recent discussions around the Creative Academy about creative and narrative nonfiction. Some have weighed in that they love it, and others have admitted they don't read a lot of nonfiction and in fact, aren't sure what we mean by creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction. If you look at bestseller lists you'll see that there has been a growth in this area. Narrative nonfiction is a term used to mean nonfiction that is written with the techniques of fiction such as character development, plotting, pacing etc. Some examples include:
- Hidden Figures by Shetterly
- Packing for Mars by Roach
- In the Garden of Beasts by Larson
- The Orchid Thief by Orlean
- Friday Night Lights by Bissinger
- AND soooo many more.
If you're narrative nonfiction curious, we've found some articles to help you decide if this is a genre you'd find interesting.
Still not 100% sure what this narrative nonfiction genre is all about? Brew a cuppa and settle down to this tell-all piece by the good people at Writers and Editors called simply, Narrative Nonfiction. Embedded in this overview are links to dozens—possibly hundreds, I didn't actually count—of examples of noteworthy narrative nonfiction, places that publish it, podcasts that share it, conferences that focus on it... so much!
This piece by fiction and nonfiction author Todd James Pierce is fascinating. Through a story about how he wrote a book about Walt Disney and a con man Walt worked with, he shares his views on the role of research in narrative nonfiction.
Author Linda Cracknell shares her five top tips for writing narrative nonfiction in a short piece. The tips are basic but if you're just thinking about dabbling in the form, a good guide to get started.
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Have you heard of the blogging platform Medium.com? Here's how they describe the site, "Medium taps into the brains of the world’s most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers to bring you the smartest takes on topics that matter. So whatever your interest, you can always find fresh thinking and unique perspectives."
A few Creative Academy members have been dabbling in this space, sharing short fiction and nonfiction and even making a little bit of money from our efforts. In our travels around Medium we've met fiction author James Finn. James uses the platform to share his draft novels, chapter-by-chapter, to solicit feedback—like a public beta reader group.
We'll be talking to him in a live conversation in May. If you're interested in joining us, send Donna an email to let her know. She'll make sure you get the date, time and link to join.
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In Eileen's Happy Hour, they talked about what an info dump is and whether you should you always cut them out, and how a writer can sneak in the information so that the reader knows what they need to, but doesn't get bored. There was also a question on how to deal with conflicting feedback from agents and how to handle to it.
In Crystal's first office hours, they looked at one multi-genre author's projected earnings via KDSpy tool, then poked around to see how those numbers are arrived at and determined accuracy of the tool is definitely not its strong point by comparing the KDSpy estimates for CJ Hunt's sales/earnings with the actual figures to show that in some ways it is accurate, but mostly not so much.
In Crystal's second office hours they talked about book layouts and working with scanned PDF documents.
Coming up next week
Yes, we're writing on Easter Sunday at both 8am and 1pm Pacific!
Not a Creative Academy member yet? Learn all you need to know to become a member here.
~ Creative Advice Prompt ~
Two options for you this week! If you haven't read any narrative nonfiction give it a shot. Here's a link to 50 great narrative nonfiction books.
Writing narrative nonfiction means that you've found a topic that fascinates you. If your main character was going to write a nonfiction book, what would they choose?
Eileen, Crystal and Donna