From the PW 5990 syllabus, students, “explore the genre(s) of Creative Non-Fiction in which people write creatively about their own experiences, about the experiences of others, and about the world around them. Typically Creative-Non-Fiction genres employ standard aspects of craft found in most fiction, but Creative Non-Fiction includes autobiography and memoir, travel writing, research-based personal essays, and, more recently, blogs and websites. “
PW 5990 teaches students to utilize literature writing techniques in non-fiction pieces. Through reading non-fiction pieces by prominent creative non-fiction authors, students learn to combine literature and professional writing techniques, processes, and skills that transfer between genres and connect readers to a piece through the use of the fives senses. Each week students study and practice writing different literary techniques into their own piece of non-fiction work: setting, dialogue, point of view, and subject are all explored amidst topics such as relationships, families, medical disorders, historical settings, and various other non-fiction scenarios. Students who understand the benefits of transferring these skills between genres are better experienced to professionally write and edit in various industries and sectors.
“Play Ball!” is my creative non-fiction story about the influence of baseball on my family. The document contains two vignettes that tell stories I experienced while in high school; while nothing special on their own, in PW 5990 I learned how make my stories about more than just myself. The stories, for example, are from my point of view, but I made sure to discuss the emotions, backgrounds, and motivations of my family members. I made the setting come alive through sights, smells, and sounds; I taught the readers about the game and players of baseball. Completing this assignment was one of the most satisfying moment of my graduate career because I stepped outside of my professional writing comfort zone and successfully moved into a genre I never had ventured into.