When this time rolls around, I am always amazed by all the diverse and lovely submissions we receive.
This submission period is no exception. After reading such imaginative and engaging pieces, my
excitement for the upcoming issue begins to bubble forth; I simply cannot wait to share my selection for
the nonfiction section!
As you may already know, the theme for the upcoming journal is “home.” When we conceived this
theme, we thought of the traditional ideas associated with it: a house, family, friends, and comfort to
name a few. However, many of the nonfiction pieces submitted blew my preconceived ideas of home
out of the water. Home is so many different things to so many different people, so much more than just
a house or a family—it is a living breathing and completely personal experience.
I hope that my selection of pieces challenges our readers’ ideas of home as much as they challenged
mine. Thank you to all the authors who submitted and allowed me to read their fantastic pieces!
What Makes Creative Nonfiction Good? The (1/4) Creativity
One of the things that makes nonfiction such a compelling genre is the role that truth and reality play in it. Fiction can be anything you want, but nonfiction must be based on real events, people, or experiences. This may sound like a limitation to most, but it has always been a benefit when correctly used.
As we established, nonfiction is built upon the truth. However, memory is not perfect. There will be details that are forgotten, qualities changed, and conversations manipulated. As much as an author may try, these changes in composition are inevitable. These faults are due to the fluid nature of memory. Whenever we recollect something our brain is constantly changing it as it tries to recall.
When you sit down and start remembering interactions to write about it may be difficult at first. Slowly it will come back, and you will be able to recall the memory entirely. Well, most of it. There will most likely be patches that are vague, or pieces missing. How was the room laid out? What was that person wearing? These holes are perfect areas to utilize the creative part of nonfiction. They allow a little wiggle room for the author to play around and immerse the reader in the experience they had. Though the scene may not be accurate to the reality that occurred, it is accurate to your memory of reality (memoir is the best for this, journalistic pieces are tricky and should be as close to reality as possible).
The next time you have trouble remembering something exactly as it happened, understand that it is an opportunity to explore the creative craft and steep the reader in your experience of reality, rather than a limitation.
*As we prepare to open submissions for issue two (!), our first unthemed journal, we want to give you the inside scoop on what each of our editors are looking for in their respective genres. Stay tuned for a guest post from each editor!*
Though this upcoming issue is without a theme, that doesn’t mean that “anything goes” for submissions; it simply means that I have a wider lens of view. There is still a goal I keep in mind while selecting submissions for nonfiction– to maintain a standard of literary excellence and beauty.
I want pieces that captivate the senses with vivid imagery, pieces that tell the unfettered truth in compelling ways, and pieces that engage the mind with harrowing tales of reality. Creative nonfiction is unique in this way as it operates in truth and reality, but becomes functional literary material when it is infused with careful crafting. Send forth your flash pieces, your short memoirs, your essays, and your moments in time! I look forward to reading them!