Creative Nonfiction-The most misunderstood and important genre

Geri Spieler
4 min readJan 29, 2022

You’ll be surprised at the number of New York Time’s bestsellers are creative nonfiction authors

Photo art from iStock for Getty Images

What Is Creative Nonfiction?

Simply put: Creative nonfiction is true stories, well told.

“If novels are fiction and poems are, well, poetry, then what are memoirs? What about essays, narrative journalism, and so many other kinds of true stories that give us new ways to consider the world around us and our place in it? From books to magazine articles to podcasts, creative nonfiction surrounds us.”

I could not have said this better.

The terms “creative” and “nonfiction” illustrate the form of writing. When we think of the word, “creative” we think of the craft and literary style. The actual technique that writers use to tell stories about real people and events. That is the style part.

Then, the nonfiction part is to communicate a bit of the real world. The facts of a personal experience, a scientific discovery, a history, a place, a person written in a way that will come off the page, inform and change readers, and make an impact.

When I decided to write a book about a real person and real events, I wanted it to read like a novel.

Think of Truman Capote and his breakthrough book, In Cold Blood, long thought of as the inventor of creative nonfiction.

I decided to find books that were true stories, but written like novels, such as true crime, a perfect example of creative nonfiction

For some, the word “creative” has been thought that the people think it implies the writer can pretend or make up facts This is completely inaccurate. It is possible, to be honest, straightforward, brilliant, and creative at the same time.

“Creative” doesn’t mean inventing what didn’t happen or reporting and describing what wasn’t there. It doesn’t mean that the writer has a license to lie.” Lee Gutkind

The cardinal rule is about sticking to facts that cannot be violated.

Lee Gutkind is the Godfather behind creative nonfiction according to Vanity Fair and the writing community at large.

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Geri Spieler

Award-winning writer, master researcher, journalist, former Gartner analyst, non-fiction author. Reach me at gspieler@gmail.com