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Thursday, 3 February 2011

It's All About the Flow

It’s not too shabby coming into work and having your boss look at the opening chapter of the book you’re writing. Thank God. I’ve been stuck on my non-fiction piece for a while now. I’d say a year if I were lying, two if I’m practising honesty. There’s something about the tone in non-fiction which you have to get right, or, I suppose as with any other writing, it just doesn’t flow. Mine, suffice to say, has not been flowing. It has been stuck, since 2009 (unlike my tears which have been free flowing since).

It might’ve been easier if it was an academic piece, that way the documentary style my so-called ‘funny’ anecdotal book seems to have taken would not only be acceptable, but expected. And so after Helen kindly read the opening chapter, she looked at me and said these simple words, ‘Narrative non-fiction’. Followed by, ‘Show, show, show!’ Of course. Retrospect all becomes telling and the only thing you have left to show for it is a dull story. Where’s the tension? The conflict? And in this book’s case, the irony? Narrative non-fiction allows some poetic license, lends immediacy to the event (or events), allows the writer to divulge information with action scenes and dialogue, without boring the life out of the reader. Hallelujah! An answer. I won’t get too excited as I’ve only just started writing in this new format, but at least I can say that the only things free flowing now, are words.


  1. Hi,

    Who wrote this piece? You say you showed your work to Helen. Are there two Helens in Cornerstones?

  2. Hello. Just the one Helen - I'm the assistant editor, Ayisha, here at Cornerstones