There’s something special about excellent nonfiction, but the water gets muddy when you try to label works under its large umbrella.Today, as part of our literary terms series, we examine three methods of telling a true story as we explore the similarities and differences among narrative nonfiction, autobiography, and memoir.
There’s something special about excellent nonfiction, but the water gets muddy when you try to label works under its large umbrella.Today, as part of our literary terms series, we examine three methods of telling a true story as we explore the similarities and differences among narrative nonfiction, autobiography, and memoir.Tags: Ap Biology Test Essay QuestionsIntro For Essay About Romeo And JulietBest Report WritingEntry Level Visual Merchandiser Cover LetterTwo Sentence Thesis StatementsWhy Do I Want To Be A Pharmacist EssayEssay Sportsand Delinquincy
Here are a few of my favorite Narratively memoir stories, to give you a more specific idea of what I’m looking for: In this reported memoir story, the writer goes searching for a specific Nazi that was a part of her family’s lore.
This is an epic, investigative family story that required real out-in-the-world research.
This piece does double duty by painting a picture of the ins-and-outs of SAR, while also telling a gripping story about one specific mission.
This piece about mourning a sexually abusive father takes two worn-to-death tropes; the death of a parent and sexual abuse, and makes them both new again by combining them.
And through the process of that research, the writer’s perception of her family and herself changed. In this piece, the writer brings us inside her experience of growing up with facial disfigurement, and how it impacted her feelings of self-worth as a child and adolescent.
This is not a self-pity story, or a medical curiosity story, but an honest narrative of coming to terms with oneself and defining beauty.Although they have gone by different names in the past, autobiographies have been around for literal ages—from Augustine to Rousseau.Autobiography can be difficult to differentiate from memoir (it is interesting to note that Amazon puts them in the same category), and often the terms are used interchangeably but there are a few distinct differences.Start with an experience that changed you — not something that slightly shifted your perception just enough to write a “huh, never thought of it that way” piece, but something that truly shattered and reconstructed your world.Or start with a question at the heart of who you are, something that’s obsessed and confounded you for as long as you can remember. A few more important general notes: Remember that the publication I work for is called Narratively.So, here’s a detailed run-down of everything you need to know about sending me your work — everything I’m dying to see more of, and everything I never want to see again: There’s a slew of publications out there that publish 800-word personal essays about every small interaction and realization in your day-to-day life; parenting anecdotes, romantic mishaps, chance encounters that all wrap up neatly with a hard-earned lesson at the end. I want the stories you’ve been trying to figure out how to tell for your whole life.The complicated, messy, human stories that bring the reader deep into your life.This is what I mean by something I haven’t seen before. There are no particular subjects I’m most interested in, though I do tend to enjoy a good “my secret past” or “dragging the family skeletons out of the closet” story.In case you’re wondering, here are some other done-to-death tropes that I never want to see again, with a few rare exceptions if you can really turn them upside down and make them new again:-How a cancer diagnosis changed everything-Parenting a sick child-Death of a parent-The story of your abortion-The story of your time in the Peace Corps-Your “Eat, Pray, Love” story about finding yourself while traveling-The dissolution of a marriage you were sure was going to last-How a certain food always reminds you of home That’s not to say that you can’t write about any of those topics (or that they’re not incredibly important and meaningful experiences), but know that they’ve each been written about approximately 17 million times, and you’ll need to work extra hard to make them feel fresh and surprising. What draws me to a piece is not just the category of the subject matter, but how clear it is that you have something to say.And to make things difficult, both autobiography and memoir fall under its large umbrella.Jokingly coined in 1797 by William Taylor as an absurdly precise combination, the term “autobiography” is composed of the Greek words for True to Taylor’s description, an autobiography is an account of a person’s life written by that person.