The Writer 2016 Week 4: Creative Non-Fiction




I got through to the final Week of the competition! I could barely believe it and was totally over the moon about the support I received!

So in Week 3 I had wondered what on Earth could be left remaining after Speculative Fiction seemed to sweep up all the possible genres in one go (sci-fi, fantasy, horror... eek, nothing left!). It turns out I had a reason to be afraid. Week 4's theme turned out to be Creative Non-Fiction, a genre I have no experience in.
Blogging doesn't count I'm afraid, because the story must have the traditional story format; a beginning, a middle and an end, with suspense thrown in there somewhere. 

While Creative Non-Fiction is a whole genre in itself, it is the antithesis of my core reading and writing interest - fantasy, as far away from reality as possible! I am also not fond of sharing overly personal details of my life with the world. So I had to maneuver over and around these hurdles to come up with a story from my life which would fit the formula. Reading some non-fiction stories was my starting point to learn how the pros did it. As for topic, I couldn't well write about the time I got a sunburn in the weird shape of my favourite swimming costume which took months to fade. For starters, that's the whole story in one sentence, and I had 1500 words to fill.

The obvious choice ended up being my heart operation which I had as a child. I don't really talk about it, not because it's a super sensitive topic, but because I prefer not to be defined as a victim, and my mind is usually filled with other things anyway. I am really ok right now, and fully physically capable without any noticeable difference in how I live my life. 

There is the fact that I could have died if I hadn't gotten that operation - but the way I see it, that's true of everyone at every moment, we don't know what is keeping us alive, and how close or far we are from departing. However, if I spent all day contemplating that, I'd never get anything done. I am grateful for this life I have, but some days I'm bored, some days I am ungrateful, some days I feel like life sucks, as privileged as I am in so many ways. 

I don't float on this cloud of constant gratitude, counting every day as a blessing because I survived. I can try to, but it is awfully distracting. So I just keep my focus on the next task, and before I know it, I look up and see that my work is being read by hundreds across Africa and the world, I am recognised by the local newspaper, fellow writers, family, friends, and I realise that an idle dream that I had years ago has actually come true. That, is really all I can hope for. 

Read and vote for my true story, "Straight Through The Heart". Voting closes on Wednesday 8th of June, and The Writer 2016 Finale Show is on Thursday where the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes will be announced on the Twitter handle @thenakedconvos at 1800hrs (Malawi time). 

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