Types of Nonfiction• Biographies- tell the story of someone’s life from the perspective of another writer• Autobiographies- tell the story of the author’s life and reflect the writer’s thoughts and feelings about events.• Letters- are written forms of communication from one person to another.• Journals & Diaries- records of daily events and writer’s thoughts & feelings about them. Can be private or public.• Essays & articles- brief written works about a specific topic. Purpose might be to explain, persuade, or inform.• Informational Texts- written documents such as textbooks, applications, instructions, and articles.
Elements of Nonfiction• Nonfiction deals only with real people, events, or ideas.• Narrated from the point of view, or perspective, of the author, who is a real person.• Nonfiction presents facts or discusses concepts• It may reflect the historical context of the time period, including references to major social and cultural information.
The Personal Essay• The personal essay format is used for articles, op-ed pieces, book reviews, complaint letters, court statements, declarations of love, and philosophical musings.• The job of the essay is to give the readers the feeling that the narrator is on the edge of discovering something about his/herself, others, or the situation.
Characteristics• Presence of the author is felt• Engagement with the writer and the world.• The writer’s self-discovery or exploration of self.• Must do both the showing and telling of the story.• Shows writer’s authority• Mutability of form.• Sense of intelligence when creating plot, quest, engagement of reader, or end payoff.
Personal Narrative Tips• The place to look for the voice of your narrative is within yourself.• To create a real world essay, you don’t have to be sensitive, rational, or reasonable.• The writer will be considered an explorer—charting new territory and writing from the heart.
Tips Continued• If using an anecdote, make sure to provide context.• Don’t make up what didn’t happen but recreate what did happen in a way that is faithful to what you think happened.• Commit all ideas to paper to create a rough guide to follow—draft by draft the story will emerge.
Tips Continued• Understand that the story will change and morph as it develops though is may not reach any great conclusions or profound insights as long as the writer sees something fresher in the story.
General Information• The strength of an essay comes from the connection the reader feels with the writer.• Writers discover who they are by who they were, who they are, and who they are becoming.• In nonfiction you must construct a realistic realm with storytelling, but there will also be interpretation, commentary, analysis, r eflection, opinions, and viewpoints.
Information Continued• Must be fail to memories of events, characters actions, and what might have been said.• The narrator for nonfiction is essentially the writer.• Slight distortions and minor exaggerations are allowed.• Make sure the writer’s presence or persona is felt in the story.
Information Continued• Diversions can help the paper move forward and be stronger.• A nonfiction story strives for a deeper understanding of something that the writer had in the beginning—it doesn’t have to reach a solution though.• If the story about understanding something, there are questions that need to be answered along the way.
Information Continued• Personal stories draw more toward themes and meanings because they are about someone’s real world that many see as recognizable.
Writers write forreaders. Their medium islanguage, and deftly used language communicates. Writing worth its salt carries meaning. And thus it species all our lives. ―Personal Essay & Memoir.‖ MFA. P. 93
Elements of Nonfiction• Scenes: scenes that change and make sense.• Narration: use narration between moments of drama—break narration up and do not give too much.• Images: give visuals, pictures, and images—create the movie in the reader’s mind.
Elements Continued• Mise-en-scene: the surroundings of a story—description needs to be done to carry the scene forward and not just tell where things are located.• Dialogue: need to intersperse with spoken words, thoughts, interactions, tags, and pauses.• Pauses: pauses can make a significant impact by making things seems more vital.
Elements Continued• Titles: it is one of the most important parts because it gives a clue to the theme or the meaning of the story.• Details: add color but do not overdo them because they will play no role in the story.• Narrative Drive: make sure there is meaning, direction, and a purpose to the story.
Parts of the Story• The beginning should start with a hook or lead to grab the reader and pull him/her into the story. – Show the reader the story is worth his/her time. – First line is critical because it is where the writer is met. – Sets the direction the essay will move toward. – May reveal the theme.
Parts of Story Continued• Middle of the essay is where the story opens out, grows in possibilities, and where the story is found and refined. – Where the story unfolds. – Theme is revealed – Arguments given – Examples shown – Evidence sorted – Anecdotes used – Analysis done – Reflection put in action – Fictional techniques utalized
Parts of Story Continued• The ending brings the story to a final point. – Leaves the reader with a sense of completeness. – Last thing the reader sees. – Should leave resonance. – Can save a so-so essay – Sense of completion
Ideas for Drafts• A word, thing, event, question, or conflict about a subject can act as the catalyst for the story.• Looking within one’s self to find quirks and oddities.• Anything that you oppose and can take a stance on.• Telling readers something they already know in their hearts but have never actually put to words or telling them what they don’t know.