To understand what genres make up the field of creative writing. To practice creative writing in the form of journaling (personal memoir) and through short story writing. New terms are defined including memoir, creative non-fiction and creative writing.
There are many different genres for creative writing. Novels, short stories, memoir writing, journaling, playwriting, screenwriting, creative non-fiction (personal essays) and poetry are all types of creative writing. Includes personal memoir and short story writing exercises.
There are many different genres for creative writing. Novels, short stories, memoir writing, journaling, playwriting, screenwriting, creative non-fiction (personal essays) and poetry are all types of creative writing.
Source: Kristina Blasen, http://www.flickr.com/photos/subcess/3723699858/
Memoir- A memoir is a type of creative writing where the author writes about their own life experiences and their own feelings and relationships with real people.
Creative non-fiction- Creative non-fiction is a subtype of creative writing that includes memoir writing and personal essays. These are non-fiction works that are personal to the author. It would not include other types of non-fiction writing such as newspaper reporting, research writing or technical manuals.
Creative Writing- Creative writing usually refers to types of fiction that are written about people, places and situations that are not part of real life (in other words, fiction is written about things that did not actually happen) and non-fiction that is of a personal nature. Novels, short stories, memoir writing, journaling, playwriting, screenwriting, creative non-fiction (personal essays) and poetry are all different types of creative writing.
Source: Kristina Blasen
Remember: To be considered a "memoir" the creative writing must be written about the author's own life, as they remember it (which may or may not be factual, but should match the author's memories and feelings about a real event or time in their life).
Here is an example of a piece of memoir writing from my own life.
by Kristina Blasen © 2000 All rights reserved
My first teachers name was Mrs. Reep.
It was kindergarten at Peace River Elementary and life was wonderful. School was so much fun, my teacher was the greatest person in the whole world, my best friend Lynnette and I played together everyday, the bus driver let us sit in the very back of the bus because we were the last stop after the big kids got off. Grandma taught me to make Ojos and Grandpa let me help him make crab traps and cooked Mickey Mouse pancakes just for me on Sundays.
And, I had a boyfriend! A real live boyfriend when none of the other girls could get one. He was in my class and his name was Steven. My mom tells me that Mrs. Reep used to love me because Steven was usually hyper and uncontrollable, but he would listen to me. At nap time I'd whisper to him and tell him to be quiet when we had to lay in the semi-dark classroom on the floor with our squishy blue kindermats.
He used to scoot over from the boys side of the room to the girls side and try to lay underneath a table with me and hold my hand in the dark. We would go out at recess and hide in the concrete pipe thinking we were secret and hidden from the world. He would try to kiss me and I'd push him away unless it was on the cheek, but I was happy. Steven and I rode the bus together and he got off a few stops before me, but I'd ignore him because I was with my best friend Lynnette and we got off at the same stop together.
One day, I snuck off the bus at his stop and got his phone number. Lynnette, good friend that she was, came with me and we hitched a ride home with a neighbor who drove by (we were only 5!!!!!)
We had a pea-green phone with a rotary dial at my grandparents house and I remember talking to Steven on the phone after school most days after that. One day he said those magical words "I love you." I tucked the bit of paper with his number under the lined paper for writing phone numbers on the phone dial and kept in carefully hidden from prying eyes.
Summer came and went and when first grade started I was disappointed because Steven wasn't in my class. The first day when we went out for recess I saw him with another girl and I was crushed. But, life went on and we moved two weeks later anyway.
A few years ago, my mom and I were going through Grandma's stuff and I found that pea-green rotary phone that had lain forgotten in an old cardboard box and lost in my memories until I saw it sitting there. Inside was an old slip of torn paper, on it was written in loopy pencil lines, 647-3558. Steve. The five's and the S were all backwards, but I remembered, first love.
For a text to be considered creative nonfiction, it must be factually accurate, and written with attention to literary style and technique. “Ultimately, the primary goal of the creative nonfiction writer is to communicate information, just like a reporter, but to shape it in a way that reads like fiction.” Forms within this genre include personal essays, memoir, travel writing, food writing, biography, literary journalism, and other hybridized essays.
Source: Kristina Blasen
Creative non-fiction is a relatively new genre of creative writing. To be considered a piece of creative non-fiction the piece of writing should be factually accurate and verifiable through historical sources and it should also employ literary techniques such as plot and character development.
Specialized forms of creative non-fiction include personal essays, memoir, personal biographies, food writing and travel writing.
Here is an example of creative non-fiction based on a series of pieces called "Adventures of Sample Girl" I wrote one summer while employed in a summer job as a sample distributer for a national marketing company.
by Kristina Blasen © 2007 All rights reserved
The adventures of sample girl-true stories about the unique slice of life as seen from behind the sample table.
Before each sampling job we “samplers” get a nice long list of directions and a script with information about the featured products. Tonight we didn’t have the key ingredient I needed for the latest concoction which was supposed to be ham and honey mustard on a fancy bed of pretzels. I would hate spending an entire shift chasing down customers trying to tell them about a product that I have no samples of (which is what we’re supposed to do if the product is sold out or missing) so I was feeling a bit desperate. No pretzels, I thought, no problem! I had to stick to a store-brand of “something” that would sell lots of mustard to stay within my budget so I created my own “top chef” concoction on the spot which consisted of a white corn tortilla chip with thinly sliced deli ham and raspberry honey mustard dip.
Did I taste this one? Nope, I don’t like mustard! But this way I could smile and say how wonderful it was with a straight face and because I’m very talented at this, people told me all night long that it tasted great. Unless there is like a bagillion of a product to start with, I almost always sell out before the end of shift and tonight was no different.
I felt really horrible though when I realized that this big “T” store has a huge Muslim population of shoppers and me serving ham and another sampler serving sausages was making them uncomfortable. No one seemed to mind walking by, but it puts people on the spot when you have to ask every shopper if they’d like a sample. I’m standing there and I’m facing a weird dilemma. I’m supposed to ask everyone I see if they’d like a sample, but I already know that people who are wearing the hijab are not going to want to touch or eat pork. Based on their dress and the fact that they are wearing the hijab, I don’t want to offend people by offering or not offering based on their dress.
Then, my dilemma is made more uncomfortable by the fact that many Muslim cashiers are refusing to scan and touch pork even as a part of their job which has been a hotly debated and contested issue in the news lately. I could feel the tension building as groups of Muslim shoppers actually walked by, left, and then came back with their friends and family to talk about the pork samples.
Most of the Muslim people I spoke with were very nice and polite about it. A few asked if they could have just a few tortilla chips as a sample. Of course, I was happy to provide whatever combination of chip, chip with mustard or chip, ham and mustard people wanted, but I was afraid even of cross contamination from my gloves, table or utensils to the chips since I had been cutting and transferring the ham to the other samples. At one point I did ask someone to go back and get me another spoon so that I didn't worry so much about this problem. It made for a long night and I left feeling confused and guilty, but I can't tell you exactly why. Still, money is money and living isn’t getting any cheaper, so I’m back to work again tomorrow.
Source: Kristina Blasen
Now it's time to try to write your own piece of creative writing. Start with a single memory and try to get it down on paper. Pay attention to the details. Include things that will set the time and place for the reader. Try to capture your feelings about the event and being the reader into your memory with you. When you are writing a memoir piece, make sure what you write is based on your own life and actually happened.
Stuck and can't think of where to start? Here are some ideas:
What was the worst day of school that you ever had?
What was the worst job that you ever had to do in your life?
What was the best present someone ever gave you?
Have you ever been to a hospital? Tell me about it.
Write about a cooking fiasco.
Who is the person that has changed your life the most?
Source: Kristina Blasen, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orangutan_thinking.jpg