Utalizing Fictional Creative Non-Fiction:

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In an attempt to get back into the swing of writing, and to do something I've never done before, I've decided to try my hand at writing serialized short stories, modeled after the 1001 Nights (not literally, but potentially borrowing a few Tropes).

While brainstorming, I thought of using journal entries to make the narrator more unreliable, while writing stories (or in this case, journal entries) that connect to a fictional time and place in a non-fictional manner, wherein factual information is presented creatively, but "accurately". The more I thought about it, the more appealing it got to me, as I've seen this before in The Princess Bride, where William Goldman would relate his experiences in publishing the story, which was primarily a fictional non-fictional account.

  • Would something like this work in a serialized setting?
    • More importantly, would something like this work with a journalized execution?
  • I'm worried that, as a serialized story, a fictional creative non-fictional telling may ruin the catharsis of the reader in relation to the primary story, since, as far as I've seen, creative non-fiction and fiction are easy to tell apart. However, my audience knows that the story is fictional, so this fear may be unfounded in anything save for my own paranoia.
  • I've played around with the idea of the story behaving metaphysically, as the narrator or journal entries work to actually create the world that the reader is reading while they're reading it. I find that such an approach would hit a bit too close to home, and may cheapen the catharsis at the end, or lessons learned (as some points in meta stories can be a bit Anvilicious in nature). What are you thoughts on the idea? Could it be pulled of in an interesting way?

I'm not looking for help more than I'm looking for general feedback to my basic brainstorming.
2 annebeeche24th Mar 2011 05:57:12 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
I'm planning on writing something that is meant to be read as if it was by an author in the 2050's, for a 2050's audience, about true events that occurred between 2039-2050. Most of it reads as what you call creative non-fiction, but with inserts of actual documents associated with the events, such as emails and newspaper articles.

Is that the sort of thing you're going for?

edited 24th Mar '11 5:57:27 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
Kind of. The more I'm brainstorming about it, the more I think that various characters employing both Unreliable Narrator and "Rashomon"-Style would work best, which could work into a theme I'd be playing with, which would cause reader participation as well.

I'd like to stray from "documented" reports or anything like that, since I want the audience to really get in touch with the characters who are, in turn, trying to get in touch with the audience, and I feel that having "documented" reports may steal the show. However, I see their value: by having them in a story, the audience has a grounding point to ground themselves amongst the events and characters and potential confusion. I'd like to get rid of that though, since I'd like to focus more on creating a drab portrait of the world that the characters inhabit, which allows creative license to the readers to fill in the blanks as they see fit. However, I've no idea how this may work in a serialized fashion.
4 annebeeche24th Mar 2011 06:16:05 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
By "serializing", do you mean that you're publishing it by the chapter rather than in one whole volume?
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
Yeah. That's why I'm thinking that the journal entry way to do things may be best, as it's the easiest to serialize storywise. It's also the best way I can think of to build a world "brick by brick".

edited 24th Mar '11 6:19:53 PM by Newfable

6 annebeeche24th Mar 2011 06:25:13 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
That sort of thing certainly wouldn't work for my novel since the events are being researched in non-chronological order, and the author (who, not really a character, is ambiguously me) plans to start from the beginning with her final product.

What is your story, anyway? A personal account? The fruit of an author's painstaking research?

Can your character publish the work in the form of blog posts?
Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
I've actually thought of creating a story via actual blog posts before, as I'm sure it's done frequently. I've always wanted to get around to doing something like that, as it'd probably be a ton of fun.

I don't have much of a story yet, but I'm writing along the lines of a world that exists, that the first character, the protagonist, tries to fix (due to either an injustice, a global disaster, a political problem, etc.; I'm not sure yet myself). Something has compelled the protagonist to write about their experiences in an attempt to reach out to someone, immortalizing themselves in memoir. As the story progresses slowly, other character's accounts appear, proceeding to give their own accounts of the events, which are no doubt augmented by their own structures of belief and how they are as people. This would cause conflicting accounts, which would cause the reader to either side with a character interpretation or make one themselves, based on the accounts provided.

I haven't gotten everything planned out yet, but as far as I know, it'd be serialized by "entries" or days that are written in said journals. Some would be stories within stories in order to explore the character, while others may be "non-fictional" accounts of events that transpire. I'm looking to the 1001 Nights and The Prestige for a basic framework to how I'd like to structure it.
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