FIRST EDITION LULU INTERNATIONAL EDITION, December 2008
Copyright 2013 by Donna Kay Kakonge, M.A.
All rights researched under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Lulu.com.
National Archives of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data
How to Write Creative Non-fiction
Book Design by Dreamstime.com
Manufactured in the United States.
Through the power of the Internet, the popularity of Donna Magazine: http://kakonged.wordpress.com the knowledge of the writer – me, Donna Kakonge – I bring to you effective tools and tips for writing creative non- fiction.
This ebook is meant to prepare you for the world of creative non-fiction writing and to make a living at it either full-time, part-time or as supplemental income. With the World Wide Web, magazines, newspapers, television, radio, advertising, marketing, public relations and publishing – there are many oceans of opportunity out there for creative non-fiction writers.
Creative non-fiction is the type of writing that people like Truman Capote, Gay Talese, Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, John McPhee and Hunter S. Thompson made famous. It’s the type of writing where the research is rich and multi-layered, the writing is dramatic and literary, you can take several points of view and have more freedom than with traditional journalism – or you can choose to stick to “just the facts” with a sprinkle of imagination for garnish.
It differs from traditional journalism in that you don’t always have to take an objective stance in the research, reporting, and writing. What you read in the front pages of newspapers is traditional journalism in democratic nations. Reporters and editors have a written rule to deliver “just the facts, ma’am.”
The key element in this type of journalism is that you can be creative, but still tell the truth. It gives you the chance to be more of an artist with your writing, while still protecting the craft of journalism.
However you would like to get your stories across, you have now entered the world of story-tellers. This ebook is meant to prepare you not only in becoming a better writer and story-teller but to become a professional one as well by getting your work published.
Good stories like the ones you will come up with have no use to anyone if they’re stuck in a shoebox under your bed. Good stories need to see the light – they need to be published. You’re not doing anyone any favors by hiding away your talent. I will present you with many avenues to see your stories published in various venues – it’s up to you to make it happen. By going through all the chapters of this ebook, doing the assignments and lots of reading in your free time – you too can join the ranks of the great writers I’ve mentioned.
In the first chapter you will learn about the six major forms of creative non- fiction writing: memoir, personal essay, features, profiles, travel writing, analysis an, reviews. The second chapter will discuss story-telling basics – how to tell a story with the BME theory (beginning, middle, end), inverted pyramid and the circle.
Next, some of the most important elements in making your stories fantastic will be explored – story ideas, research and interviewing. We’ll discuss everything about how to make the best use out of story ideas, the library, and the Internet to get content.
To keep your reputation as a budding writer as clean as a cat throughout your career, chapter four is about journalism ethics and the laws surrounding publishing. These are the things you need to know to keep yourself out of trouble and to keep your editors wanting to work with you.
With that, we’ll get into the heart of what makes a story great – voice, structure, description and narration. This chapter will be loads of fun.
Your story would not be yours without narration. We’ll discuss points of view and the different perspectives you can take as a writer to deliver your narration in a well-crafted story.
Chapter Seven will discuss interviewing techniques and how important they are to making your story move from good to outstanding.
I’m not the funniest person on the planet, but I try to make the times I do tell a joke good ones. Humour is an important element to stories and is sometimes called for in lighter pieces. Chapter Eight will discuss how to best use humour and satire in your pieces and how to keep it tasteful (unless your intent is to write without taste).
Organization is the key to getting anything done. Chapter Nine will improve your skills in organizing your time as a writer and tips on how to balance your work life and professional life. In How To Write Creative Non-fiction, I want you all to be successful writers, but I want you to be well-balanced too.
Writing for visual and auditory media is an art form in itself – however that will be covered in another book – look out for it. There is work that can be had at your local community radio or television station if you know how to write for the eyes and the ears. In Chapter Ten, we will look at tips on how to use these devices in more traditional forms of journalism, or perhaps maybe not so traditional – like writing for the Internet so you can entertain the reader through all of his or her senses.
When you present material to an editor or a publisher, it should be the cleanest copy it can be – clean meaning free from grammatical or spelling errors. Chapter Eleven will give you tips on how to become your own editor. These are tools that could make you an editor yourself.
One of the most important parts of this ebook is Chapter Twelve. You will learn about publishing markets, writing query letters, doing market research for your story ideas and getting your work into the hands of an editor for publication.
Since we don’t live in a perfect world where people say “yes” to us all the time – this section will also deal with how to handle rejection – how to pick yourself up and keep trying after you’ve received a rejection slip, email or call. I once got an email that said something along the lines that life is about falling down seven times and getting up eight.
With all the knowledge you will acquire from this ebook, the final chapter, section Thirteen, will be your final assignment. This assignment will bring together everything you’ve learnt in the ebook and allow you to work with your new found knowledge to create dynamic and interesting non-fiction pieces of writing. After you’ve completed your final assignment, you’re free to share them with me by sending me an e-mail at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org o r email@example.com. You can find more information about my email address and how to contact me on this website.
There are also many assignments in this book, other than the final one, I would like to have the chance to review and you can get the opportunity to share them with the world. You may want to consider starting a website from www.myspace.com and posting some of your work from this book. Just e-mail me and I’ll take a look at your work for review. MySpace.com is free and will help you to fully enjoy the nature of this book. I have a MySpace.com space too at: www.myspace.com/donnakakonge.
It’s going to be an exciting journey and one that you can take at any pace you wish. Remember that although writing can be a solitary practice, you’re not alone. Many people are reading this ebook along with you all over the world and there will be a virtual community of people all learning to turn what they love – writing – into a living.
What I can guarantee you will be getting from me is a person with more than twenty-five years of experience in journalism, teaching, and writing. I’ve worked for Canada’s public broadcaster, international broadcasters, magazines all over the world, for the Canadian government, as well as on community projects. I have a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Canada’s best traditional school of journalism, Carleton University. I also have a Master’s of Arts in media studies from Concordia University in Montreal. I am a doctoral graduate at OISE | University of Toronto and a law graduate at the University of London International Programmes online.
My teaching credentials include Carleton University, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda (Africa’s first and oldest university), Concordia University, Institute Linguistique Provincial, Sullivan Language Learning Center, Centennial College, Seneca College, Humber College, Guelph-Humber University and the University of Toronto. One of the courses I teach at the University of Toronto is Self-Publishing Around The World. I’m also the ebook author of What happened to the Afro? and many more that can be purchased through online stores such as Lulu.com, Amazon, iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Chapters/Indigo.
My future pursuits are to keep working hard as a journalist, writer, teacher and law – striving for an ideal blend to my traditional and non-traditional educational and professional background.
You can find out more about my other books and stories by visiting www.donnakakonge.com. You can buy the How To Talk To Crazy People book at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/kakonged?searchTerms=How+To+Talk+To+Crazy
+People. I have published 109 books that you can have access to on this site.
GET READY FOR CHAPTER ONE TOMORROW!