What is Creative Nonfiction? According to Lee Gutkind (known as the “Father of Creative Nonfiction”), “The words ‘creative’ and ‘nonﬁction’ describe the form. The word ‘creative’ refers to the use of literary craft, the techniques ﬁction writers, playwrights, and poets employ to present nonﬁction—factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonﬁction stories read like ﬁction so that your readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy.”
One critical point about writing creative nonfiction is that creativity does not apply to the facts. Authors cannot invent dialog, combine characters, fiddle with time lines, or in any other way divert from the truth and still call it nonfiction. The creative part applies only to the way factual information is presented.
Pam Paparone), I made a conscious effort to use imagery, alliteration, repetition, and onomatopoeia while explaining how seeds get around. When she called with the good news, the editor called it a perfect blend of nonfiction and poetry. Yippee, right?
Fiona Bayrock’s “Eleven Tips for Writing Successful Nonfiction for Kids” lists more helpful and age-appropriate methods for grabbing kids’ attention, starting with “Tap into your Ew!, Phew!, and Cool!”
Marcie Flinchum Atkins has compiled a helpful list of ten Nonfiction Poetic Picture Books. She points out that these excellent books (including some by Teaching Authors friends April Pulley Sayre, Laura Purdie Salas, and Lola Schaefer) can be used in classrooms to teach good writing skills. We can all learn from such wonderful examples!
My Juicy Little Universe. Enjoy!
JoAnn Early Macken
I love this discussion, JoAnn! Almost as much as I love your books! Very nice!ReplyDelete
Thanks for this clear, concise explanation of Creative Nonfiction, JA, and the helpful links!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Bobbi! You're welcome, Marti! You guys are so kind!ReplyDelete
This is very helpful, JoAnn. I participated in the PB10for10 & there were many books that are worth a look for 'creative non-fiction'. I like the tip list, too. Thanks for sharing all the info.ReplyDelete
Love the way that creative nonfiction is highlighted here this week. Thanks for all the helpful links too!ReplyDelete
What a great little recast of things I already knew but hadn't properly considered! This idea enriches my own concept of poet as scientist--perfect timing for my kindergarteners' study of turtles.ReplyDelete
My own favorite creative nonfiction is Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson.
I'm so glad to hear this post was helpful! Heidi, the thought of kindergartners studying turtles makes me happy! I'll look up Pumpkin Circle.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much for the checklist... poetic nonfiction is enchanted reading, isn't it?ReplyDelete
Irene, yes, and the writing process is enchanting, too!ReplyDelete
Great post. And excellent way to approach nonfiction.ReplyDelete