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Creative Nonfiction Assignments


These resources discuss some terms and techniques that are useful to the beginning and intermediate creative nonfiction writer, and to instructors who are teaching creative nonfiction at these levels. The distinction between beginning and intermediate writing is provided for both students and instructors, and numerous sources are listed for more information about creative nonfiction tools and how to use them. A sample assignment sheet is also provided for instructors.

Contributors:Kenny Tanemura
Last Edited: 2010-04-21 08:10:06

Sample Assignment: Personal Memoir

Make another list of ten events in your life that are important to you and provoke your curiosity. Often, this list contains events that are still mysterious to you in some way, and that intrigues you in a way that you can’t quite make concrete conclusions about. Write down all the questions that come to mind around these events. Make a list of questions. Essay ideas often arise out of an exploration of these questions (adapted from Dinty W. Moore).

Sample Assignment: Lyric Essay

Wayne Koestenbaum’s lyric essay, Assignments, provides good prompts for writing your own lyric essays:

Suggested Reading:

Becky Bradway and Doug Hesse. Creating Nonfiction: A Guide and Anthology. Bedford/St. Martin, 2009.

Phillip Lopate, editor. The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Doubleday, 1994.

Dinty W. Moore. The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. Pearson Longman, 2007.

Mary Oliver and Robert Atwan, editors. The Best American Essays 2009. Mariner Books, 2009.

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