Monday, April 25, 2011

Creating Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction. That's what I'll spend the next two months learning and writing. I slogged through the registration process and grabbed this prize of a class. This is what I do, daily, and any tips I can learn can only help me along.

It's so incredibly lovely to sit and have someone just feet away from me talk about writing for hours on end. Plus I take full advantage of the all-you-can-ask question buffet to plumb the experiences of this teacher who has made a living from every kind of writing over his adult life.

Going through the syllabus in the first class was an exciting preview of what's to come. I had a little thrill of shock when we got to the last page and I realized - oh, yeah, there's going to be a GRADE at the end. It's been so long since I've learned anything for a grade that it seemed cute and quaint.

I'm a learner for the pure sake of learning these days. That, and getting a boost to my work skills.

So here's some notes I want to remember from last week:

I. Feature Stories - Most Common Types

1. What's Happening - topical, current events
2. How-To - cooking, car repair, computers, writing, etc.
3. Recreation - travel, sports, outdoor, for Seniors
4. Personal - Self-help, Fashion, Personal Finance
5. Religious/Spiritual
6. Politics - issues, profiles of candidates
7. Profiles
8. Science - tailored to lay people, Health
9. Q&A Article - usually a brief intro then can either be Informational or Interview

II. Preparing Your Feature Story - Questions to Ask Yourself

1.What is the Subject?
2. What's the Point?
3. How Will I Lead?
4. How Will I End?
5. What's the Supporting Info?

III. Organization of a Feature Story

1. Chronological - very easy to follow, Memoir usually is
2. Hourglass - Start in Middle with big event giving story, background and how event resolved. Second Hook near the start of the whole story then move chronologically.
3. Spatial Structure - needs variety in locations where story occurs
4. Parallel Structure - two aspects of story side by side
5. Layered Story - from small to large, or large to small, a level at a time.
6. Scenic Structure - put scenes together to build a cumulative picture, all details around core idea.

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