Creative nonfiction is nonfiction that uses the techniques of creative writing, especially the techniques of both literary and popular nonfiction. These well-established techniques help to generate greater interest and salability than traditional “just the facts” nonfiction. Here are some of the techniques derived from fiction:
Usually the first person is used because it helps to enliven the articles and gives them a sense of voice and readability. First person also adds color and detail, including the sense, and thought processes of an individual. Setting and locality also become personalized. This helps the reader to identify with the narrative.
Although first person is generally the choice, some creative nonfiction might also make use of second person–the “you” to help personalize, and also the traditional third person, but using fictional narrative in nonfiction format.
Point of view
Most creative nonfiction does not pretend to “objectivity” in the journalistic sense–even though “real journalism” is not truly objective either. Creative nonfiction writers often voice opinions, their own and others, and can alternate freely between objectivity and subjectivity when required. They “express themselves.” Others freely “express themselves.”
Dialogue is often used to introduce topics and significant details and continues the freedom of expression motif. This adds to the general interest, and also the alternation between narrative and speech found in fiction, which adds rhythm and pace not found in traditional nonfiction.
This technique can be used to add past details to effect and explain the present of the narrative. The same techniques of transition are used as in fiction, and the same types of transition words, or the flashback is simply achieved by skipping lines and using dots as in some fictions. The techniques used in modern film language can also be applied here in the transitions from scenes to scenes, including flashback scene.
Scenes as in fiction are often made use of, and similar techniques of dialogue integrated with narrative. There are also different types of scenes that “dramatize, dramatize, dramatize,” as Henry James might say.
The techniques of character and character revelation found in fiction can be applied to real people. How they are introduced, how they are described, their dialogues, etc. Introducing real people in the format of fictional characterizations, again, helps to add to the interest and the personalization of nonfiction.
Although descriptive detail is certainly found in nonfiction, nevertheless the nonfiction can study pointers from fiction in this, the types of kinds of concrete description detail, how it in integrated with scenes, the rhythms and personalities of setting, the various types of descriptions.
So, before writing nonfiction, read and reread your favorite works of fiction, the best literary and popular texts, take notes, even read how to write fiction works along with how to write nonfiction. How can you integration the techniques of both to write the most interesting and marvelous nonfiction.