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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Creative Non-Fiction (Version 3)

These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

Prepared by: Patricia L. Johnson and Gary Presley
Posted on: March 21, 2004
Reposted on: April 4, 2005
Reposted, revised, on July 1, 2007
Reposted,revised, on April 6, 2009
Reposted on March 27, 2011
Reposted on April 29, 2012
Reposted on November 10, 2013
Reposted on November 22, 2014
Reposted on January 29, 2017

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In 400 words or less, write a scene from a real experience in your life that resulted in your learning something important about yourself or others. Write a true story as though you were writing a historical piece, with truth and accuracy, but try to incorporate the creative technique of other genres (novel, poetry, memoir) to heighten interest.

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Creative non-fiction is as old as storytelling itself. A true-life event or character sparks a story. The storyteller builds the tale using a palette of writing techniques to add color and life that might not have been present in reality. He or she can use all the techniques of fiction and poetry, as well as those found in memoir, narrative journalism, and reportage to teach life lessons and expose the human condition by transforming something seemingly insignificant into something universal.

_____________________

In 400 words or less, write a scene from a real experience in your life that resulted in your learning something important about yourself or others. Write a true story as though you were writing a historical piece, with truth and accuracy, but try to incorporate the creative technique of other genres (novel, poetry, memoir) to heighten interest.

_____________________

When critiquing creative non-fiction, give specific comments on examples of how the author used fictional, journalistic, or even poetic techniques to bring us into a 'real' situation. Are characters and situations well-developed? Does the author manage to keep enough distance to allow the reader to experience emotions? Is the piece coherent and interesting. Above all, do you believe it? Or do you think it would have been better written as fiction?




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