If the same author wrote a biography about her great-grandfather, she has some license to fill in the blanks, as long as it doesn’t affect the outcome of the story.
She most likely doesn’t know what her great-grandfather’s farmhouse looked like on the inside or what he liked in his coffee—ethically, the author has the right to create dialogue and other “facts” that make up the creative element of creative nonfiction.
It involves the use of factual events or characters to create dramatic nonfiction using techniques such as dialogue, scenery, and point of view.
It combines the fact-finding of journalism with the literary techniques of the fiction writer to create a dramatic story that just happens to be true.
Some authors use disclaimers to make sure their readers don’t feel duped if names or minor details are changed.
Learn more about short prose genres, including mixed genre writing.To get started try our writing club name generator above and then scroll below to find the first step in the naming process.This four-step process will help you name your writing club.The implied pact between writer and reader is this: I am telling you the truth, but the truth as it is filtered through my eyes.Legal pitfalls: While the people and places mentioned in creative nonfiction pieces are still around, writers often change the names of characters in their work to avoid conflict.Revealing that Johnny from the bank is actually a mob snitch, even when the facts are true enough, can lead to physical harm to Johnny and legal hot water for you.And be prepared for an invasion of privacy lawsuit if you are exposing embarrassing or private facts about a person, even if they are truthful.This is also called literary journalism, and, like journalism, it is a genre based on truth.Suppose an author has written her memoir under the guise of creative nonfiction, but she has spiced things up with a near-death experience and perhaps a rape scene—things that never actually happened in her life.Ethically, this author must redefine her piece as fiction.The basic facts must be true in creative nonfiction.