Thursday, August 14, 2008

Creative Non-fiction

It's been almost a week, because I've been very busy finishing my first packet. I turn it in over the weekend, to arrive in Sarah's inbox on Monday morning. And every time I look at what I've done I revise! Nothing, at least in this writer's world, is ever perfect.

But I want to continue with what I learned at VCFA. The next lecture I heard was given by Shelley Tanaka. When she showed her first slide I wanted to yell. My son had devoured her book on the Titanic when he was in 3rd grade. He was totally fascinated by the ship - and her book brought it alive for him. Wow! She is truly one of my heroes, because she was a life-saver for my non-reading son.

She talked about what works and what doesn't in creative non-fiction. What doesn't is drama. Creating scenes that never existed is risky, especially if the creation is solely to raise the dramatic stakes. Because there's plenty of drama in real life, if you look for it.

And look she does. She pursues facts like a Sherlock Holmes. Sourcing is critical, as is knowing what to choose to keep in and what to leave out. What she does is create a story arc that is fixed by facts.

By the time she finished her lecture, I was ready to run to my computer and write a piece of creative non-fiction! And, if you care about such things (and you should) there is always always a market for good creative non-fiction.


PJ Hoover said...

My son seems to bring more non-fiction home from the library than fiction. Not a bad thing. It's a great way to learn!

Janet Fox said...

That's true for a lot of boys, especially. And I don't really care any more what my son reads, as long as he reads!

Shelley was so inspiring, I may have to write a creative non-fiction book of my own!