By Short Courses Team

Compelling storytelling through creative non-fiction with Mary Lynn

16 Jun 2017

How about trying creative non-fiction?

Creative non-fiction is true life stories told well. It can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir or a poem. It can be personal or not. It's factually accurate prose about real people and events told in a compelling, vivid and dramatic manner.

It's so easy these days with the internet providing a powerful publishing tool. You can become an instant success or gain real-time feedback on your work almost instantly. We can virtually indulge in whatever genre we so desire.

We caught up with writer Mary Lynn Mather for her insight into creative non-fiction and how this genre could take your hobby in inspiring new directions.

"Creative non-fiction is storytelling that is challenging, natural and deeply rewarding all at the same time."

"Whether you want to dig into your family history or draw on memories to put a personal essay together, or you're trying to transform your travel journal or everyday musing into a literary piece, it's possible through creative non-fiction storytelling. It's likely, your motivation and goal is always going to be roughly the same, which is creating something that is entertaining and exciting."

"By practising the techniques we tend to associate with fiction and applying them to our own writing, we can transform true events into readable stories. During my creative non-fiction class students will engage with everyday characters, plots and metaphors, but approach it in ways they may not have considered before."

"I hope to help my students to balance information with entertainment in their storytelling. So they can take away a fresh enthusiasm for the familiar and a changed way of looking at things they may have taken for granted."

If you are ready to get started on your new writing project, Mary Lynn offers some tips to take your motivation up a gear.

"I'd suggest brainstorming like crazy to identify your most original ideas. Don't hold back, explore whatever comes to mind and see where it takes you."

"If you've decided to blog, I'd suggest posting regularly, so you'll need to be passionate about your subject."

"Once you've honed in on the focus of your blog and found your niche, start playing with formatting, words and images."

Mary Lynn Mathers is an accomplished academic, journalist and aspiring author. She's worked and travelled to some of our world's most spectacular places. Her extensive career in journalism has left no stone unturned, she's tackled everything from corporate public relations to working as an arts writer and feature editor on newspapers.

For more insight from Mary Lynn take a look at her Creative non-fiction writing short course.

For more interesting reads, check out our other articles.

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