Investigating the Truth: Nonfiction as Rhetoric
January 23, 2015 § 3 Comments
Wayne Miller and Joanna Luloff recently took the helm as nonfiction editors at Copper Nickel, as the magazine restarted and rebooted after a hiatus following the untimely death of Copper Nickel founder, poet Jake Adam York.
At Essay Daily, Wayne and Joanna talk about what they look for in creative nonfiction, and the idea that a unique characteristic of nonfiction is that it privileges process over product – that is, that we are as engaged in how the author gets to the truth as we are in what that truth actually may be.
While narrative can play a role in elucidating the ideas of an essay, I tend to favor nonfiction that takes investigation as its primary mode over traditional narrative craft (i.e. character development, scene construction, plot, etc.). To me, associative logic is a wonderful pleasure in nonfiction writing, where we can see a writer exploring her subject without narrative restraint (like Eula Biss or Lia Purpura do in their essays).