How To Write Creative Nonfiction

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Describe specific details, with emphasis upon the senses. Choose a commonplace or otherwise unremarkable memory and describe it in the most dramatic and absurd way possible.

Now that you have years of context, how do you feel about what your parents and family did or did not do for you? For inspiration, I’m leaving you with some quotes from Douglas Adams.

But with this new update you can choose to get positive reinforcements, too, like a kitten or candy, or to have your words disemvoweled rather than disappear.

For more on creative nonfiction writing, I suggest Creative Nonfiction.

Recall a name you’ve given to a toy, a car, a pet, or a child, and tell us the story of how you and your family selected that name. How did the activity of that person influence the way you grew up or live currently? Scientists have wondered for years how nature and nurture plays into the development of human minds and their choices. How have your personal choices differed over the years? Describe the biggest epiphany of your life, then backtrack and tell the lead-up to that scene or the aftermath.

Explore where you and your siblings are today and the choices that brought you there. In the lead-up or aftermath, show how the epiphany was either overrated or every bit as valuable as you’d previously thought.44. Whether the addiction is as serious as alcohol or cigarettes, or something much more mundane like texting, video games, or internet usage, describe in vivid detail the first time you tried it. Write about the most pivotal scene in a relationship with someone in your extended family — Uncle, aunt, cousin, grandmother.

Tell the story of one of your family holiday gatherings.

Identify any of your family’s common trademarks, such as your one aunt that seems to tell the same joke at every Christmas, or your two uncles that always hide from the rest of the family by doing the dishes.

For this prompt, think of people in your life who have believed in crazy conspiracy theories, and write about the time they first shared them with you. Write a scene from your teenage years that epitomizes the type of person you were, and then write a scene from recent life that shows how you’ve changed.24.

Think of how your beliefs might seem naïve to them, and explore the tension between the competing versions of history.17. Was it the creaking stairs leading to the basement? Explore your current relationship to that stressor. Choose a happy or comfortable memory and write it in a way that makes the memory creepy or eerie to the reader. Look at the pictures of your old room, the clothes you wore, and the places you had been.


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