Monday, November 20, 2006

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

Whew. I'm pulling my hair out on the non-fic piece I'm working on. I'm determined to make it good, but it still needs work. Can you believe that a little 3,000 - 4,000 is killing me? I usually write that in a day off, in fiction! I've spent nearly thirty hours on this thing, and I'm only halfway done! Granted, about twenty hours of it was research and organizing. And about ten of those hours were enjoying my reading instead of analyzing-reading, like I should have done.

But I'm fearing that I'm out of my element. Failure is just not an option. I've got to pull this thing out of my fingers somehow and make it good. I want it so bad ... but boy, is this a challenge.

My voice is disappearing in non-fiction. I have a feeling that I'm finally going to learn the art of revision with this one. Man. I've got to put my fiction voice back into this piece of non-fiction.

My motto has always been that it doesn't matter HOW much work you do. Yeah, Joe Schmoe may be able to do it fast, in one draft, and it may take me five drafts, or he may be able to do it in five hours, and it may take me fifty hours. It doesn't matter. The end product is (ideally) the same. Who cares how long it took, except me?

But man. This little voice in my head is yelling at me to work, work, work! Do better! I guess it's better to listen to that than to that little voice in my stomach saying, "What if you can't? What if you're just not good enough?" But I've seen it over and over in my day job. Talent doesn't matter much. Hard work, and smart work make all the difference in the world. (I'm saying this over and over because I'm trying to remind myself, LOL.)

Does anyone know any good articles for writing non-fiction essays? In a creative style? Have any tips? Boy, I really could use them.

5 bonus scribbles:

StarvingWriteNow 11/20/2006 09:15:00 PM  

Well, you're telling a story, fiction or non. Keep your natural voice as much as possible. Perhaps if you write it out like fiction it will flow better.

spyscribbler 11/20/2006 11:48:00 PM  

Hey! I'm gonna try that. I'm really gonna try that. Thanks!

Erik Ivan James 11/21/2006 07:10:00 AM  

Spy,
Try writing it in a conversational style. As though you were explaining the topic over a cup of coffee.

JLB 11/21/2006 09:29:00 AM  

Greetings! I found you via Bernita, and I really enjoyed your thoughts on being prolific.

While I can't think of any articles to suggest on writing creative nonfiction, I can offer this:

Set aside the writing for a second. Go sit somewhere that you feel comfy: a window, the kitchen table, the garden, a park... whatever. Bring along a notebook if you like.

Now, trying hard NOT to think about your rhubric, thesis, and opening sentence, etc., think about the basic concept/issue you're writing about.

NOW, think about what this concept/issue does for you. How does it make you feel? What about it gets you excited? Why are you interested in writing about it in the first place? Try to wander off with your thoughts - wander away from the writing, and into the realm of daydreams. Think about all the things that this topic touches on in your life and interests, and see what comes up.

When I lose myself in a nonfiction piece, I have to force myself to step back, take a look at the heart of the matter, and remind myself what it was that really moved me to write in the first place.

Not sure if that's any help, but wishing you lots of luck nonetheless!

Cheers,
Jade