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Author: Tilar J. Mazzeo, Ph.D.
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Text size: 172 pages
To write great creative nonfiction, a writer must tell a fact-based story
in an imaginative way—not as easy a task as it sounds! Nonfiction
writers must be dedicated to preserving the truth of their stories—the
who, what, why, where, when, and how. The creativity enters through the
use of perspective, which, like a camera lens, allows the writer to focus the
reader’s attention and engage his or her imagination.
The Elements of a Great (True) Story
1. You have always wanted to write: Perhaps you have bought a book
completing your novel in 90 days or breaking into publishing.
Perhaps you have taken a creative writing class. Maybe you have a
half-completed project in a desk drawer. Maybe you have started a
family history, a biography, or a memoir.
2. If you have ever wanted to write about a true event or your personal
experience but wanted to do it with panache, then you have been
thinking about writing creative nonfiction. To write creative
nonfiction, you need to learn great storytelling.
3. Great storytelling requires a strong central character, gripping
dialogue, and a fabulous beginning. It needs paragraph after
paragraph that keeps a reader wanting more, leading to a
4. There are tricks of the trade—things that published writers learn
from struggling with the same challenges all writers face over and
over, as well as from talking to each other about their struggles.
And it is important to note, what works for a great nonfiction story
works just as well for a great fictional story, too.