Not all stories are imaginary. In fact, most stories we hear and tell to each other every day are true. We like to relate stories about real people we know. Sometimes the tales are embellished a bit to make them more interesting. But the stories we tell actually happened.
Enter “creative nonfiction.” This term refers to a broad range of nonfiction pieces written in a creative way to draw in a reader. While characters, settings, and plots in these tales are factual, the dialogue may not be word-for-word in the retelling. This is especially true of memoir, when we relate an experience from the past. However, a writer must always take care not to “make up something” that distorts a character’s personality or motivations.
In a previous post I mentioned that my book, Views from an Empty Nest, contains twenty fiction and eleven nonfiction tales. When I first pitched my book to a small press for publication, the editor turned it down because of this mixture. She was afraid booksellers would be unable to peg it as a “Short Story” collection.
However, my current publisher evaluated the manuscript and decided even the nonfiction pieces were “stories” in a broad sense. My editor noted the essays and memoirs were about events in the author’s life, and many of them were shown in a “fictionalized way” with dialogue and scenes. Thus, my book will be published and marketed as Short Stories.
In my next post, I will share a nonfiction tale from my book. Stay tuned!