CNF tip of the week: Personal Essay

The CNFC and carte blanche want your writing! Send your best, previously unpublished nonfiction piece of 3,000 words or less—  whether it’s literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, or lyric essay — by November 30th, 2017. For more information about these subcategories, read on. Today, we feature…

Personal Essay

To “essay” means to try, and a personal essay is an informal and idiosyncratic attempt to explore an idea and its relationship to the author’s life. Rooted in personal experience and often written in an intimate voice, like a letter to a friend, it is also a record of a mind at work, a way of thinking on the page. A flexible and capacious form, it is open to any subject and to a range of tones, although its exploratory, self-questioning stance is its special signature and strength.

A few examples

Virginia Woolf: “Street Haunting.”

Annie Dillard: “Total Eclipse.”

Jane Silcott: “Divine Language.”

John Sherman: “Taking Up Smoking at the End of the World.”

To learn more

http://creativenonfictioncollective.ca/listen-whos-afraid-personal-essay-workshop-andreas-schroeder/ (password protected for CNFC members)

https://www.creativenonfiction.org/online-reading/picturing-personal-essay-visual-guide

http://www.unm.edu/~gmartin/Essays/Writing%20Personal%20Essays%20-%20Turning%20Oneself%20into%20a%20Character.pdf

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2009/09/07/me-myself-and-i

http://www.utne.com/arts/howtowriteapersonalessay (for fun)

CNF tip of the week: memoir

The CNFC and carte blanche want your writing! Send your best, previously unpublished nonfiction piece of 3,000 words or less—  whether it’s literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, or lyric essay — by November 30th, 2017. For more information about these subcategories, read on. Today, we feature…

Memoir

A memoir is an attempt to make artful sense of some aspect or period of the author’s life. The facts may be unusual or traumatic, or they may be ordinary and unremarkable. “What happened” is less important in memoir than the clarity, grace, or originality of the writer’s style and the honest pursuit of self-knowledge. As V.S. Pritchett said, “It’s all in the art. You get no credit for living.”

A few examples

Joan Didion: “Goodbye to All That.

Kevin Chong: “Every Stepfather Has His Day.”

Ayelet Tsabari: “Yemeni Soup and Other Recipes.”  (scroll for PDF)

Eufemia Fantetti: “Alphabet Autobiographica.”

To learn more

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-a-memoir-1691376

https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/06/22/vivian-gornick-the-situation-and-the-story-personal-narrative/

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/jun/04/how-to-write-a-memoir-jeanette-winterson-and-helen-macdonald

http://www.creativenonfiction.org/online-reading/writing-memoir-and-writing-therapy

 

CNF tip of the week: literary journalism

The CNFC and carte blanche want your writing! Send your best, previously unpublished nonfiction piece of 3,000 words or less—  whether it’s literary journalism, memoir, personal essay, or lyric essay — by November 30th, 2017. For more information about these subcategories, read on. Today, we feature…

Literary journalism

Literary or narrative journalism is writing that combines the stylistic techniques of fiction, such as dialogue, character development, and scene-setting, with the nitty-gritty accuracy of reporting and research. The subject matter can be anything, from an election campaign to the profile of an artist, from the exploration of a cultural phenomenon to a true crime story or a scientific discovery. But whatever the topic, the author’s voice or point of view is key to the power of the piece.

A few examples

George Orwell: “A Hanging.”

Joan Didion: “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream.”

Desmond Cole: “The Skin I’m In.”

Katherine Ashenburg: “Critical Mass.

To learn more

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-literary-journalism-1691132

http://normansims.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/The-Literary-Journalists.pdf

http://niemanstoryboard.org/stories/breakable-rules-for-literary-journalists/

http://niemanreports.org/articles/sharing-the-secrets-of-fine-narrative-journalism/