Writers On Writing / Storytelling the truth with Helen O’Neill

We spoke to Helen O’Neill, award-winning author of Daffodil: The biography of a flower, in the lead-up to her upcoming workshop ‘Creative Non-Fiction Essentials’. Join Helen O’Neill for a four-week course on Monday evenings 3-24 September to learn about writing creative non-fiction.

We had a quick chat with Helen O’Neill about her love for non-fiction storytelling ahead of her class in September, Creative Non-Fiction Essentials.

Creative non-fiction has experienced a surge of popularity in recent years. What do you think draws people to write creative non-fiction?
Creative non-fiction is one of the most exciting genres imaginable. It can cover everything from memoir to food or travel writing, and its possibilities are endless. As Mark Twain put it, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth isn’t.” For storytellers, what’s not to love?

How do you know when you’ve found a subject or idea big enough to sustain a narrative?
If your subject fascinates you there’s no reason why it should not mesmerise others. The key is learning how make that happen.

Writing about real life people can be more intimidating than writing fictional ones. How do you make sure you’re doing your subject justice?
That’s a big question. A commitment to truth, accuracy and ethics are key but the answer goes beyond this. Come on the course and I will explain!

Creative Non-Fiction Essentials with Helen O’Neill will take place at Writing NSW over four Monday evenings: 3, 10, 17, 24 September 2018, 6:30pm-9:30pm.

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