Back to Basics: Elements of Creative Nonfiction

Hey! It’s Cindy, and I’m returning to yeah write’s editorial team this week after a long hiatus. It’s been two years since my last editing stint here, when I was in charge of the Friday winners’ post, showcasing the best in that week’s writing and teasing out teachable moments from the grid to share with y’all in the hope it would inspire your efforts for the following week. 

I’m psyched to follow in Meg’s footsteps now in my new role as yeah write’s nonfiction editor. Watch this space each Monday as I frontload your week with those same sorts of teachable moments. What inspires me? Well, I’m a sucker for the big four elements of creative nonfiction storytelling:

  • Finding your literary conflict so your reader cares about the tale you’re spinning;
  • Sharpening your narrative structure to highlight the obstacles overcome, epiphanies realized, and equilibrium reached;
  • Deploying writing devices and techniques from fiction to make your true stories and essays as compelling as a good novel; and
  • Editing, revising, and proofing like a mother until that piece is polished and publication ready.

If I have a writing manifesto, it’s probably best set out in these two posts I wrote for yeah write’s 2014 summer series: “What Story Isn’t” and “What Story Is.” Check those out and come back every Monday so we can dish here about the ins and outs of great nonfiction storytelling.

It’s good to be back.

Yeah write super challenge #2

The second round of our super challenge #2 wrapped up yesterday! Good luck to all our remaining participants. Please wish them good luck in the comments! They deserve it!

Did you miss out on registration? Don’t fret! Just sign up for our email blast so you don’t miss out on any announcements regarding future super challenges.

Who’s on fourth

This month we invite you to learn more about Ruby Bastille! The interview will publish Monday, but in the meantime, head over to her page and catch up on all of her awesomeness.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Nonfiction know-how: tension

For this month’s nonfiction know-how we’re going to focus on tension. There are two basic reasons that people continue reading a thing they’ve started. One is that they’re curious about something, and the other is that they’re worried about something. Curiosity is a large part of what drives humorous writing; worry is what drives suspenseful writing. I’ll let Rowan tell you the rest.

Want more info?

Is this your first time here? Check out Sunday’s post which kicked off the week here at yeah write. Our email subscribers can also join us in the yeah write coffeehouse at its home on Facebook. If you’ve never taken the time to read them, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our submission guidelines. The rules are a little different for each of our challenges and we’d hate to have to send back great writing on a technicality.

Did you happen to end up here because you suddenly saw yeah write in your stats? Sometimes members of our community spot excellent writing and they send those posts on over to us. We hope you don’t mind. Take a look around and get to know our community. We’re sure you’ll be happy here.

Have questions you can’t find the answer to by poking around the site? Email us or find us on Facebook and Twitter and we’ll happily help you out.


How to submit and fully participate in the challenge

Basic yeah write guidelines: 1000 word limit; your entry can be dated no earlier than this past Sunday; nonfiction personal essay, creative opinion piece or mostly true story based on actual events.

1. In the sidebar of this week’s post, please grab the code beneath the nonfiction badge and paste it into the HTML view of your entry
2. Follow the Inlinkz instructions after clicking “add your link” to upload your entry to this week’s challenge grid
3. Your entry should appear immediately on the grid if you don’t receive an error message
4. Please make the rounds to read all the entries in this week’s challenge
5. Consider turning off moderated comments and CAPTCHA on your own blog

Submissions for this week’s challenges will close on Wednesday at 10pm ET. Voting will then open immediately thereafter and close on Thursday at 10pm ET. The winners, as always, will be celebrated on Friday.

Thank you for sharing with us your hard work! Good luck in the challenge…[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

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