I cannot remember when I started to enjoy reading. To read for the sheer pleasure of living in that well woven story and beyond. I cannot...

23 June 2015

CREATIVE NON-FICTION: Generating Ideas and Research

StoryMoja organizes a monthly bloggers training for writers, in the months leading to the annual StoryMoja Festival.
On Saturday June 20th at 11:00am, bloggers participating in the 2015 festival converged at the Storymoja offices for a training session with Morris Kiruga (Owaahh).
He started off by highlighting that all stories get married in creative non-fiction.
This genre of writing is not fictitious, which means that the writer highlights events or experiences that are happening or have happened before. It is creative work, hence the writer employs the use of various stylistic devises and colourful descriptions to bring the tale to life.
The audience of creative non-fiction are often intelligent beings with an addiction for colourful writing. Therefore writers must offer factual details  even as they tap into the magic of their creative juices.

3 Rs of creative non-fiction
There are three main tips to keep in mind when, best expressed as the 3 Rs of non-fiction writing. These are Research, Real-life exploration and Review.

A writer of creative non-fiction must get all the facts right. They should starts off by seeking out as much factual information as they can about the subject on which they wish to write. This will often require that one digs through the clatter to find all relevant information.
It is always necessary to watch out not to be overcome by the overload of information one finds. In research, one will run two risks: Either be overwhelmed by the facts they find, or keep procrastinating “until one has more details”. He advised us to learn to discern when we have found out 'enough' and stop.

Another key aspect is to tap into the real-life experiences either of oneself or of others who have experienced the subject of the writing.
Unlike fiction writing which is often based on imagination, the gist of creative non-fiction writing is all in the telling. The writer should not tell rather show the facts in a way that people can enjoy reading. Hence, one must learn to tap into the magic and flow of their creative juices and tell the facts in a way that people can enjoy reading. The language should be as simple as possible without being simplistic. Owaah said that the only way to achieve this is through immersion. The writer must get immersed into the story, by finding ways to ignite the events, feelings and thoughts from that place and/or moment. One must become a sub-character following all the characters in the story. There are often two ways to gather relevant content through immersion. These are:
ü Memory: Find ways to stimulate old memories. Visit old places or look at old photos.
ü Interviews: Talk to some characters, learn how others see or feel or experience the 'thing'.

During the session, Owaah gave us short assignments with which we practised the skills necessary to ensure good quality work. We were able to read out pieces of our assignments and receive feedback, both from him and from fellow bloggers in the training.

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