What is Creative Nonfiction?

I’m about six weeks into my creative nonfiction class and I keep getting asked “what is creative nonfiction?” I kind of felt the same way before I started the class. I figured it was all magazine articles. Not so. Creative nonfiction covers a vast amount of work. it includes biographies, memoirs, personal essays, journalism, travel writing, food criticism… You name it. Most news is creative nonfiction, some of it is pure fiction. 😛

Right now I’m having a lot of fun with personal essays. They are very popular with magazines too. If you are looking for help writing one, you should pick up a copy of Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life into Story by Barbara Abercrombie. She guides you through a lot of the different types of nonfiction and supplies a lot of great writing prompts.

For years, I was writing what I thought boiled down to glorified journal entries. I love writing about my life. I have a tub full of my writing that I thought was worthless. It wasn’t until I started this class that I realized I’ve been writing creative nonfiction all along. If I ever get to the point where I start my MFA, I think it will be in creative nonfiction. Check out the book, it’ll be worth your time.

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