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- Published on Amazon.com
I strongly recommend "Keep It Real", an anthology of essays by various experts on how to write Creative Nonfiction. The book details every conceivable writing tool needed for the writer of this nouveau literary genre. Lee Gutkind, the editor, is the purported grandfather of Creative Nonfiction.
Originally, I adjudged Creative Nonfiction as an embellishment--inserting fictional facts with flamboyant color into an otherwise true story to round out its rough edges and instill it with vivid life. I viewed this strange new genre as a stretching of truth into virtual fiction.
"Keep It Real" set me straight. Its integrity as nonfiction remains intact. This new genre awakens the dry experience of Journalism, as depicted by publications like the "The New York Times", by inserting emotion and color into lifeless facts. It maintains accurate prose about real people and events, while painting dry facts with drama and imagination. The nonfiction writer, as a factual reporter, enters inside the mind of the protagonist, not through fictional embellishment or psychic guesswork, but through true depictions of that person's actions, expressions, and words. Likewise, the writer can be an interactive character in the story with the license to express his own personal thoughts, feelings, and perceptions through a depiction of his own behavior and reactions. The story reads like lively fiction, but tells the truth.
My memoir-in-progress, which I had initially labeled Nonfiction Narrative, is really Creative Nonfiction.
A potpourri of essayists, each allocated their own chapter in "Keep It Real", covers the elements of composite characters, quote compression and restatement, frames, characterization, immersion into another's point of view, fact-checking, libelous issues, and etc., including etc. about etc.
"Keep It Real", though not creative nonfiction itself, reads quickly, colorfully, and entertainingly, while remaining highly educational. Only 160 pages, the soft paper and font size are an easy read for the impatient author, like me, eager to learn the genre's craft quickly.
Read it, and get published someday.