A memoir written in the creative nonfiction genre has many benefits, among them is safeguarding writers from unveiling the identities of those in the writer’s real-life events. Within these narratives, authors can enliven their events in a way that deeply connects with readers, offering glimpses into a real-life human journey. This shared sense of humanity forms a bond with the reader, offering them confirmation and inspiration within their own life experiences.
Have you noticed how many films today are dubbed “based on a true story?” Creative nonfiction adds a certain mystique to an anecdote, like fiction, yet allows the reader to empathize and relate more deeply to a character they see as real.
Every piece of nonfiction requires a level of creativity, even if it’s just in how the facts are presented. The writer uses their unique voice, skill, and imagination in the way they organize their ideas, weave their narrative with authentic dialogue, metaphors, descriptive and engaging characters, and by making inventive choices that shape their story. A good piece of nonfiction also educates, entertains, and stimulates our thoughts. It utilizes storytelling to create a bigger impact, delivering factual accounts, with verve, leaving a more profound influence.
Creative nonfiction allows writers to tell their personal stories using ‘creative license’ while keeping events true to the facts. If you want your memoir or any non-fiction writing to stand out, write it like you would a great piece of fiction, sticking to the facts in an imaginative and skillful way.
If writing your first memoir, I recommend reading The Glass House, by Jeannette Walls, and others you might find interesting. Find out what you enjoy about each of them and what you skimmed through. Then ask yourself why that resonates with you or doesn’t. Was it the description, the perspective of the writer’s inner thoughts, the character development, or the dialogue? Doing this bit of research can save you a lot of rewriting on your initial first draft.
Jasmyne Consulting - 30 year’s experience - Creative Book Writing Coach/Editor for Memoirs and Novels, helping clients overcome writer’s block to successfully complete and publish their work. She helps writers at all levels including ESL clients. Freelance writing for resumes, proposals business and query letters, blogs, brochures, websites.