What is narrative non-fiction?

Narrative non-fiction also known as creative non-fiction is a genre that is based on true events that is presented in a fiction form or fact-based story telling. This genre focuses more on character development, plot structure, theme, and grabs the reader from the beginning since it is told from the author’s point of view. Once the reader is hooked, he or she will continue reading because the reader will be engaged in reading about someone else’s life.

Narrative non-fiction dates back to the early 1960s, an era that brought radical movement, political reform, and popular culture in the United States. Authors have written memoirs and personal stories to share with the world their stories. One would compare narrative non-fiction to journalism. The site writersandeditors.com defines narrative non-fiction as, “In short form, it’s an alternative to the traditional newspaper pyramid structure (in which, if you lopped off the bottom part of the story, the reader would still have all the key information). With narrative nonfiction you don’t present the main point in the first paragraph—compelling narrative keeps the reader reading to find out what happens, and the journey to the epiphany is half the point.”

Many well known authors such as Norman Mailer and Hunter Thompson have written pieces that are part of this genre. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood piece is famous in this genre since the author wrote the story from a journalist’s perspective. In addition, some scandals have emerged from this genre. In 2003, the author, James Frey published his memoir A Million Little Pieces , which focused on detailing his history of drug abuse and recovery. The author went onto the Oprah Winfrey show and his book was inserted into her famous book club. Three years later, evidence had shown that some parts to Frey’s story was fabricated.

As a former journalist, I feel like I have written various narrative non-fiction pieces that have been published in a newspaper as well as the Internet. I have learned that when a journalist is writing an article, like myself, I made sure that the first sentence to my article would capture the reader’s attention. Then, I would make sure the important parts of the event occurred first and then little details followed. I believe that my students will enjoy reading about narrative non-fiction since it is based on actual events. I would expect my future students to pose questions and interupt me while I’m reading the story aloud, which is fine because that allows me to see that they understand the story.


About krazzykatty85

For several years, I used to work as a journalist for a prestigious newspaper. A couple of years later, I changed careers and am going to be a teacher. These days you can find me purchasing materials for my future students that I hope to use in my classroom as well as creating engaging lesson plans while trying to have a life. When life gives you lemons, always make lemonade!

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