I’ve been writing (somewhat) regularly since 2007; so that’s about nine years now. Most of this time I focused on fiction (of supernatural or apocalyptic nature) while occasionally dabbling in poetry or essays. While fiction is still my first love, I find that I am being pulled more and more towards writing nonfiction.
Wait a minute. Hold the phone.
What exactly is nonfiction?
Here’s my favorite word: research.
Nonfiction (according to Dictionary.com): is “the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality.”
Some examples are:
academic paper, autobiography, biography, book report, creative nonfiction, diary, dictionary, encyclopedia, essay, handbook, journal and memoir.
I looked at a few of these examples a bit further.
Essay (Dictionary.com) is “a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretative.”
This would include: “literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author.” (Wikipedia)
Essay can take on other creative forms: film essay or photographic essay.
Memoir Versus Autobiography: are very similar to one another in that they give intimate details of one’s life. What are the differences?
Autobiography focuses more on chronological events, and deals mostly with facts and reality. Memoir, on the other hand, is less obsessed with facts and more about emotional truth. It generally has a subject of focus rather than detailing all the chronological events of one’s life.
What if I don’t want to deal completely in the nonfiction and yet don’t want it to be all imaginary either. What other options would I have?
Semi-fiction is “fiction implementing a great deal of nonfiction such as a fictional description based on a true story.” (Wikipedia)
One example of semi-fiction would be an autobiographical novel which is a form of novel that merges elements of fiction with autobiography.
At the age of forty-five, I am finding it increasingly difficult NOT to write about my life experiences. Some of them however are still painful to me today, or I am afraid of hurting loved ones, so I tend to stay away from anything truly autobiographical in nature. Yet I don’t want my work to be based entirely on facts or reality either. I want to explore the emotional truth of my life experiences so memoir and essay are attractive to me.
The only way to honestly find out is by writing them.