Sarah Swanigan

With a passion for Creative Nonfiction writing & political discourse, I spend my time reading & listening to the news. I enjoy NPR, large dogs, black coffee, and Harry

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The importance and validity of Creative Nonfiction

Creative Nonfiction (CNF) has been one of the hottest and most expansive literary genres since the mid-90s, but many still fail to understand the concept of the genre. As a genre that tells truthful stories in an artful and engaging way, there can be roadblocks to the genre’s validity when it comes to the use of creative liberty.

How has the mainstream introduction of CNF altered the way we read and trust our authors? How can CNF be directed within the periphery of the public mainstream in a way that credits the genre with more than just memoir? Additionally, how do we deal with the ethical dilemmas that creative liberties create within the genre?

  • This is a very interesting topic that I know all too well, as someone who loves using imagery and creative literary tools in my writing, I've encountered issues between how realistic the writing sounds. Creative Nonfiction can fall into a gray area for many writers as they want to tell their true story realistically and honestly, to a point where there isn't much room for creative freedom. I feel the balance can be made, and introducing more creativity and freedom to nonfiction can add a new layer to honest and truthful story telling. – theanding 8 years ago
  • Love the topic! I enjoy reading memoir, but I do think that's all that comes to mind when most people hear "creative nonfiction." I haven't found a non-memoir CNF work I enjoy in awhile. I hope to see a lot of non-memoir works mentioned in the post. – Stephanie M. 7 years ago
  • This idea is a great topic! I teach English Comp. and at this moment, the students are preparing to write their narrative essays. I reviewed some of the student's drafts, and their narratives are like reading an instructional piece where they are putting together a machine with a thousand bolts and nuts. They are afraid of being creative because they feel like they will lie about what happened. I ask them to rely on descriptive writing and think about their five senses when they tell their stories. I also tell them to remember how they felt at specific times during their stories. They find this challenging. I think I may know the answer to dealing with ethical dilemmas--tell the truth. I would be interested in digging more into the perception of CNF in the mainstream and research both your questions. I think the outcome will be interesting and exciting. – Vchelle 7 years ago

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Latest Comments

As someone who has reread the Harry Potter series numerous times, I think that rereading is a wonderful experience. In books such as HP, it can be so interesting to discover new layers or phrases or nuances that you just missed the first time or two around. Additionally, I think that rereading is a crucial part to understanding a text. In the case of writers, the best way to go is to read something once for the experience and then read again for the details – go back and read like a writer.

Personally, I think that rereading is crucial to an in-depth understanding of plot, symbolism, and authorial decisions at work.

Why Reread Books? The Pros and Cons of Rereading

I think this is a really interesting point of view on Disney Princesses. One theme that you raise here is the idea of women’s roles. Whether you believe in them or not, I think that one thing we as feminists tend to do is spend so much time focusing on the rejection of traditional women’s roles, we forget that some aspects of the duties related to being a traditional woman are not meant for those of weak fiber. It really does take a lot to clean a whole mansion every day, etc.

Another idea that the comments have spurred seems to be the notion of what a Disney Princess really is. I consider Nani (From Lilo and Stitch) to be one of the strongest Disney female characters in the franchise, yet she is not a princess. I think that Disney has done a great job in recent years of creating more strong female characters.

Interesting and brave article on a truly divisive topic!

Feminism and Disney: They're Not As Different As You Might Think

This article brought to mind so many different aspects of American history and how (half of) the nation is dealing with the close of the Obama Administration. Even in the establishing times of the U.S. plays such as Royall Tyler’s “The Contrast” worked to define what being American truly meant.

I think another really important lesson that Hamilton is working to teach its audience is how to let go of the Obamas. George Washington is bid farewell in a very emotional way, which has proved to be consistent with the emotions of the retiring Obama Administration.

Hamilton and the Construction of Post-Obama Americanism