Creative Nonfiction Essay Assignment:

For this assignment, the student will
 Interpret and evaluate different types of sources (at least two different types
explained below) revolving around this topic
 Apply critical thinking in reading and writing of this essay
 Express with precise diction (choice of words) and mature style including
parallelism, transitions and sentence variety
 Write a formal documented essay
 Employ appropriate (MLA) documentation for crediting sources in his/her writing
 Use technology for writing and researching
Creative Nonfiction is also known as literary non-fiction, new journalism, or literary journalism; it
represents a hybrid of literature and non-fiction:

Non-fiction elements Literary elements
essay form literary voice/feel
explanation/exposition story/narration
standard rhetorical patterns characterization
focuses on ideas, facts (not
language) place/scene/setting
researched facts author personally engaged
artistic, instinctual
polished language
Creative Nonfiction essays:
1. Usually deal with an issue/problem people are concerned about/with or
find a way to make them concerned or interested into the issue/problem
that people are facing.
 Consider your audience.
 Use fiction techniques to draw the reader in: narration,
characterization, setting/place, and personal involvement.
 Give background to educate your readers.
 Give your readers new information to help them understand
themselves or the world better.
2. Provide accurate data.
 Research thoroughly and carefully (the more you look, the more you’ll
 Use a variety of sources: primary (interviews, trips to the place,
personal experience, surveys); secondary (library research . . ..)
 Cite your sources so readers know how you gathered the
3. Report fairly:


 be objective; be logical; select information carefully; use facts, real people,
real situations; be frank; don’t be too personal.
4. Interpret your information.
 Introduce; give facts, examples, quotations . . .; analyze, interpret,
explain, synthesize; draw conclusions.

5. Organize your information.
 Put your information in a logical order (chronological, spatial,
dramatic, from the least to the most important, and general to

6. Use interesting language: vivid, useful details, quotations/
vernacular, metaphor, imagery, rhythm, pacing . . .

Creative Nonfiction Essay Assignment: Place

You will write a creative nonfiction essay that evokes a strong sense of place.
A strong sense of place may be achieved in a variety of ways; some of which
include the use of description, imagery, simile or metaphor. If you are
focusing on a neighborhood (Town Lake) or a city (Kennesaw), you
should make sure that you tell us enough about the neighborhood or city so
that we can distinguish it from others. All details about the place, whether
you are writing about a rural (Blue Ridge, GA), urban (Atlanta) or wild
landscape (Appalachian Mountain) or a lake (Lake Lanier) or a river
(Chattahoochee) or a highway (hwy 75) . . . need to be in service of
some story you want to tell. Think of an issue/problem about the place
people are concerned with or find a way to make them concerned or
interested with the issue/problem the place is facing.
 Do not submit papers that have nothing to do with “a strong sense of
place” such as autism, football, ADHD, ESOL . . .; these types of papers will
earn failing grades.
 Make sure that you name names, name places, name things. If you mention
something in the text, in other words, if you announce to the reader something,
do not just go on to the next issue, but provide explanation. You may use a
phrase or a clause or a sentence to give the reader more information so he/she
won’t ask, for example, “who is he” or “what does he do” or “why did he do that”
or “what is his relationship with her,” and so on. Make sure that you provide
enough facts and details so the reader can perceive and visualize everything.
 Your story needs to be based on some tension or conflict—a change, a crisis,
a turmoil, a problem . . .; include the “before” and “after” so the reader can
see the difference; include a protagonist, an antagonist and some kind of
resolution, however tentative. The conflict may be subtle, but without it, you have
no story, only facts.
 Use vibrant language; avoid clichés; make sure your nouns, verbs and sentences
are strong. Make good use of paragraphing and compose reasoned, carefully
structured and well-organized narrative. Use metaphors and other figurative

language devices to give depth and complexity to your writing. Move intelligently
between scene and summary.
 Purpose: you must have a purpose to the story you are telling. It is not important
for your story to be didactic, but we should feel that we learned something new
after reading your story. This something new should not be just facts, but rather
there should be something about the story you tell that gives insight into
the place you are writing about and how the place shaped you (you may
say I, me, my, mine…) or your family or by extension your culture.
 "Truth." To the best of your ability, tell a story that is true. The creative part of this
essay is what you do to give meaning and value to that "truth."

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