Exploring Genres in Creative Nonfiction Writing
Creative writing includes more than just fiction and poetry. Creative nonfiction is a wide category of creative writing, which includes several genres.
Creative nonfiction is a relatively new field; only in recent years have works of creative nonfiction received the kind of attention from critics and readers that fiction and traditional nonfiction have enjoyed for decades.
It’s likely that creative nonfiction will continue to gain strength as a dominant force in the world of writing. The world wide web is growing at an astounding rate, and much of the content on the Internet is considered creative nonfiction. Take blogs, for example; many would be considered creative nonfiction.
What is Creative Nonfiction?
How can you tell the difference between a literary novel and any other kind of novel?
A work is usually considered literary because of the way it’s written. A literary novel is more than simple storytelling. The writer pays special attention to language, word choice, rhythm, and voice. Creative nonfiction is factually accurate writing that does the same thing; it pays attention to the craft of writing.
According to Wikipedia:
Creative nonfiction (also known as literary or narrative nonfiction) is a genre of writing truth which uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service to its craft.
Unlike fiction and poetry, the creative nonfiction genre depends heavily on research, facts, and credibility. While opinions may be interjected and often, the work depends on the author’s own memories, the material must be verifiable and accurately researched and reported.
Due to the factual nature of creative nonfiction, ethics come into play. In recent years, some memoir authors have been criticized for straying from the truth. There may be some wiggle room here. Since a memoir is not considered journalism, a writer may decide to take creative liberties with the facts; however, this may cause an uproar among critics and may even lead to a controversial reception of the work.
Sub-Genres in Creative Nonfiction
These are just a few of the genres that qualify as creative nonfiction:
- Memoir and biography
- Food and travel writing
- Personal essays
- Literary journalism
If you think of more genres in creative nonfiction writing, feel free to share them in the comments.
Creative nonfiction continues to grow and become more widely accepted and recognized as a valid form of nonfiction literature.
Have you written creative nonfiction? How strictly do you feel a memoir or other work of creative nonfiction should stick to the facts? Do you feel that nonfiction works should focus on content and not creativity? Share your thoughts in the comments.