This week, I sent two emails to my professor. Unfortunately for him, it was a scattered mess. Fortunately for me, I was able to answer my own questions by the end of my rambling. This is a very common thing for me to do. To write out a series of questions and thoughts, make kind of a fool of myself, by actually sending the email, but I do walk away feeling better. I am hoping the receiver of my email understands that this is just part of my writing process.
What I need to do is start a file for these crazy emails, and instead of sending them, use them for a reference for myself. This would eliminate the need for a professor to come up with a reply to my scrambled eggs of a brain during my writing process.
I have included most of the emails below, because it actually does fall in line with the blog assignment we have had….. and it is a continuum of my thoughts for “the book”. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I wrote the emails late in the night on my blackberry because my computer was being scanned. My blackberry dbl types letters, and inserts periods whenever it feels like it. I also did not do spell check. Gosh, I read the emails now and am totally embarrassed at the number of spelling and grammar errors I sent to my Writing Professor. Great job there Kristine. For your ease I fixed the spelling errors, so as not to embarrass myself more with the entire world when I post this blog.
. I have two ideas that I am struggling with
Our discussion last week, and this week we are talking about having a solid narrative/story/historical content, in the background that relates to the main subject matter. I call it my time-line or story-line.
First idea, the time-line would be me and my own journey through life, and events that are serious and maybe funny. I would add them in as if the content I am writing reminds me of the event or somehow sparks that memory for me. I have tons and tons of stories…(don’t we all?!). Much of my fiction writing is based on nonfiction (truths) about me with embellished add-in’s. My dilemma is that my stories are not centered on my subject matter of homesteading. I weave them in, as I did in my proposal.
However, these stories are NOT centered on my subject matter of homesteading. Therefore, my second idea was to use Dick Proenekke’s story as my base. Yet, I am not ( will be) but am not THE expert on him. His story (alone in the wilderness) is very much the modern day Walden, and I know much more about Proenekke and his story than Walden (even though I would like to be the expert on both if I do this book, and I really want to do this book, I just need more time and a ton of research. The documentary has a narrator (Proenekke himself). Whereas, the book, One Man’s Wilderness and More of One man’s Wilderness, are written by a separate author who used Proenekke’s journals for his content. I like this idea, but feel that my strength is in the story and narrative, and I feel as though using Proenekke as my base, may bore reader’s because I don’t have a funny story or story about him except for the journals, books, and video.
So, my third and final idea (I know, I said two, but I write this out because sometime the answers come to me as I write, hope you don’t mind, I do this in all of my writing classes, and probably drive you professors nutty)… 🙂
My third idea is to use both ideas (go figure). To use Proenekke as my base, and add in some of my stories for humor and to humanize me, the narrator and author. What do you think? Once I get my story-line solidified, I can write in my head.
Also, last question, if I am, or when I am using Proenekke’s story and am writing about them, how do I write the scenery if I can’t /haven’t seen it. That is, can one embellish what one thinks the scene to look like? For example, if Proenekke says in August it wa starting to get cold… can I take that, research weather around that time, and write what the scene would look like? I know in my personal stories I can write exactly or pretty darn close to reality, and in my creative nonfiction course we were allowed to embellish the scene to explain, but not embellish the story.
I just want to make sure I am not confusing creative nonfiction with serious nonfiction. What would be the difference anyway?
I have done some research on just this question, and there seems to be many different answers. I want to know the ethical aspect.
you are going to laugh. I think I am so confused by the genre labels, which is silly. I do however read a ton of fiction based on nonfiction and write that way as well. I really get confused when the book is listed as nonfiction and fiction. lol.. happens all the time on amazon. I actually just looked up more information on a fiction series I have been reading. Come to find out, it is listed as nonfiction on the authors website. I am wondering if amazon changed it to fiction/historical/international, to get more readers.
I did more research on creative nonfiction, nonfiction, and serious nonfiction, and back-tracked on some of our reading, and answered my own question.
For serious nonfiction, all nonfiction in fact, there are no embellishments or stretches of the truth, or imagined. Good nonfiction is being creative enough to show the audience about the story/ and even just a subject matter in such a way that it feels like a fictitious novel. A great nonfiction writer will be able to trick a reader into thinking they are reading a literary novel or even watching a great documentary.
Serious nonfiction can be creative nonfiction. It would just be called, serious creative nonfiction. Truths and facts can be told in a humorous tone. . Being creative just means, instead of telling a story, to show the story to the audience. Here is a quote I found on creative nonfiction, “Writing in scenes represents the difference between sowing and telling. The lazy, uninspired writer will tell the reader about a subject, place, or personality, but the creative nonfiction writer will show that subject, place or personality, vividly, memorably-and in action. In scenes” (What is Creative Nonfiction by Lee Gutkind) .
Therefore, I can do what I previously mentioned, without embellishments. I can a journal entry from Proenekke’s pages that says, “august 5th, colder afternoons”, and I can narrate it by writing, instead,
Historically an august in Alaska is much cooler than in the lower 49. Proenekke writes quickly and curtly ‘”august 5th, colder afternoon”, as if his hands were already feeling the “dark-days” of winter.
I knew we cannot write untruths, it was the scenery that I was trying to nail down, when it is not my own personal scenery.
does that make sense?