whipchick (whipchick) wrote,

Flash Nonfiction

So a lot of us around the LJ write short, personal pieces. Sometimes diaries, sometimes literary.

When you're feeling literary, here's a fascinating short article about how using the "I" perspective, even in a journalistic piece, can give greater meaning and perspective to the work.

In AWP 2014: Truth and First Person Journalism, Samantha Claire Updegrave writes:

It boils down to trusting our intuition with our writing, to asking if our experiences or interactions with the subject matter lead us to the truth, a “go big” where our presence brings the reader in and illuminates the story, world, or some aspect of our shared humanity.

I love this idea, that it's not just about "what does this story have to say about me," but "what does me telling this story bring to the reader's understanding." For those of us heading back into LJ Idol, this can be a question that helps us find a purpose to our personal nonfiction that's reader-oriented rather than storyteller-oriented or therapeutic. Both those latter qualities can of course be part of a great reading experience, but provoking an experience for the reader takes our work up a level.

She also talks about starting with examining the lies we tell every day, as springboards for personal essays. Fascinating prompt ideas!

AWP, by the way, is a yearly convention for writers and grad students. There are discussion panels (mostly literary and academic-writing focused, but some popular-lit oriented), lots of booths representing literary journals, magazines, and graduate writing programs. I've never been, but I hear it's pretty neat.

Tags: non-fiction, write better
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