Writing Beyond the Self: How to Write Creative Nonfiction That Gets Published

Writing Beyond the Self: How to Write Creative Nonfiction That Gets Published

by Jenean McBrearty

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It is said that truth is often stranger than fiction. But can you translate this into prose that will hold a reader’s attention? To deliver a ‘good read’ the writer must combine the personal and the universal, the intellectual with the emotional, the macro with the micro, and the biographical with the historical.

But how? 

In Writing Beyond the Self, Jenean explains that every writer has at least one creative nonfiction story hiding inside him or her. But one needs to separate the writer self from the self-healer. Hence, the book begins chapter one with a question: Everybody has a sob story, why should I read yours?

What follows are nine lessons gleaned from her MFA program, with fully-fledged examples, to guide writers through the key fundamentals of writing creative nonfiction. And because “everyone is strapped for time nowadays,” says Jenean, “the book is blessedly brief.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781925417791
Publisher: Vine Leaves Press
Publication date: 10/09/2018
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 78
File size: 750 KB

About the Author

Jenean McBrearty is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of San Diego State University, who taught Sociology and Political Science. Her fiction, poetry, and photography have been published in over two hundred print and online journals. She won the Eastern Kentucky English Department Award for Graduate Creative Nonfiction in 2011, and a Silver Pen Award in 2015 for her noir short story, Red's Not Your Color. Visit Jenean online: flapperhouse.com

Table of Contents

Creative Nonfiction: Everybody has a sob story so why should I read yours? 

Lesson #1: Marry your personal story to something larger than yourself. 

Lesson #2: Marry your personal story to someone else’s so it’s all about you, but it’s not.

Lesson #3: Marry your personal story to “a slice of life” so it’s all about you on a smaller scale.

Lesson #4: Marry your story to someone else’s through dialogue rather than description.

Lesson #5: Ask yourself some tough questions because once your story is published, you can’t change your mind.

Lesson #6: If you’re not an academic and can’t do your own research, write about other people’s research.

Lesson #7: Follow an interest you know nothing about and share what you learn.

Lesson #8: Find something to do, do it, then write something. Or not.

Lesson #9: Limber up the grey matter! Moving back and forth between you (the particular, subjective) and other people/events/environments (the general, objective), is the key to writing successful creative and real nonfiction.


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