Fact vs. Fiction, that’s why we call it creative

One of the bigger controversies in the creative writing is the dilemma over fact and fiction within the essay. Many people argue if the genre is labeled with nonfiction, everything must be factual, but what happens when you tack on creative in front of it? I am here to explore.

Does it really change the meaning of the story if you call Greg, Jim or change his hair color from gray to brown? It is beyond the human brain’s capacity to remember each and every detail of a scene, therefore when reading or writing a creative nonfiction piece, you must take it with a grain of salt. Everything that is explained may not be entirely accurate but it is for the reader to determine. The importance of this genre lies in the pen of the writer, it is their job to retell their own experiences and modify them as needed.

After browsing the web I found an article where a quote was displayed by Ryszard Kapuściński; “Almost all journalists, except for a handful of saints, do on occasion sharpen up quotes or slightly shift around times and places to heighten effect. Perhaps they should not, but they – we – do.” Why do we constantly strive for absolute perfection, why do we insist that the truth should never be stretched even in a creative atmosphere? These are the pressing questions of the genre. The blogger above agrees that all writers tend to adjust the truth to strengthen the effect of the meaning they strive for.

The point is the question over fact and fiction in the genre of creative nonfiction is subjective. Everyone will have their own opinion but it is important to recognize the genre is unique in the way that it contains both creative and nonfiction elements, and it should be praised for being different!


Another take on the question….

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