Writing Evolutions

Creative Nonfiction

“I went (to the Narmada Valley) because writers are drawn to stories the way vultures are drawn to kills. My motive was not compassion. It was sheer greed. I was right. I found a story there.”

Arundhati Roy, The Greater Common Good

In a tradition which stretches back to Truman Capote, and perhaps beyond, John Berendt in his much-admired Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil constructs a non-fiction narrative of great suspense. But how does one construct a 'true story'? If Berendt had been writing a news story he'd have begun by giving away the end of the story, because news stories are structured in a reverse pyramid - most important information first. But his purpose, as with a fictional novel, is to take us on a journey through the story. Therefore, he introduces location and character, positions us through his narrator, and carefully releases information a bit at a time.

This is also how a feature article in a newspaper works; we are expected to take our time to read the piece through to the end. The skill therefore is to hook the reader in and keep them reading to the end. For an excellent example look for former Deakin student Anna Krien's piece in The Best Australian Essays 2006. See the link to Black Inc.


The following two websites illustrate how you can write for the new media, how websites are a part of social and political debate, how the medium is strongly linked to good writing.