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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Singing Out of the Same Songbook?

When I checked Technorati for blogs for narrative nonfiction, some of the ones pulled up were just mentions by college students in creative nonfiction classes (rather than blogs devoted to the subject). I was surprised -- I'm in the dark about how many CNF classes are being taught at campuses -- and I wonder if some colleges have retitled their "magazine feature" writing classes as creative nonfiction to go with the (trendy writing) flow.

On one hand, it's good that kids out there are getting a clue about what narrative nonfiction is. On the other hand, are their teachers giving them the same guidelines that my profs told me? Whereas all English teachers agree on what is a noun, do all CNF teachers agree about reported memoir, treatment of dialogue, composite character (just say no!), and so forth? It's impossible to tell.

Years ago on WriterL there was a discussion about putting forth a code for literary journalists to sign, declaring their intent to keep truth uppermost in their nonfiction writing and I don't remember what all else. Nothing came of it. People on the list agreed that some raised awareness of what "narrative nonfiction" is would be a good thing. But the journalists who would agree with the code wouldn't need to sign it, and the people who spurned the idea of a code or what was listed in it wouldn't heed it anyway.

category: resources

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