T.R.’S PRIMER ON CREATIVE
nonfiction is the hot new genre; everyone’s writing it. At least they think they are. Just to clear up the confusion, your friend
T.R. is here to tell you what it means.
nonfiction, sometimes called “literary journalism,” is the use of fictional
techniques to tell a true story.
Consider Truman Capote’s In Cold
Blood. It reads like a novel,
complete with chapters, vivid descriptions, and character development. But the gruesome events really happened.
Here are some
morning at 8:10 I told my children to get in the car. Once in the van, they fussed and argued about
who would sit where, who had stepped on whose foot, and whether they needed
jackets. I had to tell them repeatedly
to buckle their seatbelts, because they weren’t listening to me.
don’t want to sit next to you, Tigger!”
Little Bit stood in the middle of the van and stomped her foot.
sit in the second row.” Ever-cool Tigger,
seated in the back, opened a book.
I want to sit in the back!” Little Bit’s
voiced inched higher with each exclamation.
“Whatever. I’m sitting here.”
“Tigger! Little Bit!
Sit down and buckle your seatbelts!”
I revved up the engine. The music
came on loud. I lowered the volume so
the kids could hear me yell at them.
“OWWW! Little Bit stepped on my foot!” Tigger began
DOWN AND BUCKLE YOUR SEATBELTS!”
Tigger sniffled, “I’m cold. Can you go
back in the house and get my jacket?”
don’t need a jacket, Tigger. It’s hot in
here.” Little Bit finally chose a seat.
was talking to Mommy!”
your seatbelt Little Bit.” I turned off
the engine and got out of the car. We
might get to school by tomorrow.
Note: it doesn’t
have to be all dialogue. That’s just the
fictional device I chose for this illustration.
go on out there and hitch up the horses.”
I tossed the remains of breakfast out in the pig trough. “Come and git it,” I told the old sow.
Tigger protested, “it’s Little Bit’s turn to hitch the horses. I’m still tired out from plowing the fields
you know she’s too little. Git on out
there, you hear?” I bent down to buckle
Little Bit’s boots.
wanna hitch the horses, Mama! I want
to!” Little Bit pulled her foot away
before the boot was buckled.
your foot back here, child. Them horses
would step on your head, you’re so little.”
So there you have
it. This message has been brought to you
by the Society of Procrastinators (SOP). We will now return T.R. to her work. Go forth and write.