developing three personal memories into a story-in-fragments using creative nonfiction techniques, without explicitly stating the connection between them.

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developing three personal memories into a story-in-fragments using creative nonfiction techniques, without explicitly stating the connection between them.

Assignment Guidelines
For Project 1, you will develop three of your “The Time When”s to create a story-in-fragments. You’ll want to construct scenes rather than summaries of emotional states. Don’t tell us how it felt; show us what happened so that we may feel it too. This is achieved through the application of creative-writing techniques (sensory detail, setting, character, dialogue) in what we call “creative nonfiction”—real stories that are told like fiction.
There’s only one catch: You cannot tell us what the connection between these stories is. We should be able to feel the connection, but you cannot state it outright. Sound good? Here are a few other tips for writing creative nonfiction:
Connect to your audience through the story, not through a rambling summary of “how it felt.” By showing us each scene—the actions, the setting, the sensory details, the detailed narrative recollection of the memory—we will sense the invisible thread without having to be told.
Concentrate on sensory details. These are short pieces, so you don’t need to reflect or explain your emotions—we will get a sense of them through scenes and specifics. Showing is more important than telling.
Showing vs. Telling: “Show, don’t tell.” This is a common mantra of narrative writing. Here’s the difference:
Telling: “It made me sad.”
Showing: “I cried as I clung to the baby blanket.”
Telling: “She was a caring person, and she always made me happy.”
Showing: “She made homemade French onion soup when I was sick.”
See how much easier it is to feel emotion through showing? We can smell the soup and see her bringing it in on a tray while the narrator sniffles and coughs. It’s specific and it’s sensory—that’s what you’re going for. (It’s okay to tell every once in a while, but showing allows your audience to come to the realization themselves while painting a vivid (i.e. memorable) picture).
Requirements:
Always be sure to meet the assignment’s minimum requirements for your best chance to receive full credit.
Length: Each microstory should be in the 250-350 word range (800ish-1000ish words total).
Include an extra space between each microstory to indicate their separateness.
Include a title. You’re welcome to give each microstory a title, but that’s not required.
Focus on three unique, specific moments—zoom in to avoid generalizing.
Provide enough background information for your audience to understand both within the limited space of the essay.
Include clear, concise, and specific descriiptions.
Illustrate each scene using detail, dialogue, setting, and vivid sensory.
Keep reflection to a minimum.
Give the audience a clear feeling of the events’ effect on the author’s life. We should all be able to describe (in similar language) what the stories represent for the author, and how they mark a shift (however great or small) in the author’s understanding of the world.
Maintain a consistent verb tense and point of view.
Make sure your sentences are functional and have varied structure and length.
Edit for grammar, mechanics and spelling. Any grammatical deviations are purposeful and included to add meaning (e.g., purposeful sentence fragment, slang to capture voice).
Dialogue (if included) should be properly formatted.
Don’t Do It!
Don’t assume your audience knows anything about either your social issue or about yourself.
Don’t provide excessive backstory.
Do not mention the invisible thread.
Don’t crowd sentences with to-be verbs, inexact phrasing, vague or inexact descriiptions.
Don’t use abstractions.
Submit the Final Draft of Essay One to this folder.
Please use .pdf, .docx, or .rtf format.

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