Writing Creative Nonfiction
Writing Creative Nonfiction

By Nikki Groom

Why is nonfiction so hard to write, yet writers can whip up a short creative fiction in a few days? It might be because when you tell a story about yourself, you summarize it. But writers aren’t supposed to summarize a whole story. Maybe it’s because we have to write about ourselves.

It could be the five hallmarks writers have to follow, and those can be tricky. Being able to reflect, focusing intently on the craft of writing, telling a good story, having an apparent and deeper subject, and giving it a sense of timelessness can be extremely hard to do especially if you’ve never written one before. So how do we write a nonfiction without feeling like we are messing it all up?

If you have a hard time summarizing, try writing it as if it’s happening right now. Then after you’ve told the story, add the reflection after it. This seems to be the easiest method. Once you’ve done that, try rewriting the same story in past tense, adding reflection as a part of the story. Make your protagonist look back in their memory to relive it and reflect on what happened. 

If you have the format down but struggle with the wording, just use simple language. Stories aren’t amazing because you use big words, they are amazing because of the way the story is told. When action is present, it’s best to slow down the prose with short sentences and simple language. Big words can create distracting dialect and take away from that important moment.

Nonfiction writing can be a problem for a lot of people. To be a writer though, all you have to do is write. Tell your nonfiction stories and your creative fiction stories. Never stop writing something because you can’t figure out how to do it. If one method doesn’t work for you, another method will.

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