Funky forms for nonfiction

Jupiter and its four largest moons (montage)
Jupiter and its four largest moons (montage) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Write a creative nonfiction piece in the form of an association manual, handbook, code of ethics, application form, standardized test, dictionary, grocery list, chart of fishing flies, moons of Jupiter, constellations, letter names of major chords, or …

In other words, keep your eyes out for an out-of-the-ordinary form on which to base your writing prompt. Let the form guide you and inspire your piece of writing.

One of my favorites is by Dinty Moore (no relation to the stew):  “Son of Mr. Green Jeans: An Essay on Fatherhood, Alphabetically Arranged.” This piece exemplifies what’s known as an abecedarian essay. Another good example of a funky form is Kate Hopper’s “Becoming a Sanvicenteña: Five Stages,” published in Brevity 32. She uses the five stages of grief/recovery model, developing her own five stages to fit her topic.

More examples from The Los Angeles Review literary journal, published by Red Hen Press: Volume 7, Spring 2010 – p42: Jeremiah O’Hagan “Pink, White, Blue”, p228: Tim Bass “How to Find a Friend” Volume 8, Fall 2010 – p53: Aubrey Hirsch “Multiple Sclerosis FAQ”, p206: John Calderazzo “Cheeta Lives!” Volume 9, Spring 2011 – Michelle Ruby “Little Red Ink”,  Volume 10, Fall 2011 – Angela Morales “Elegy (and Apology) to Dogs I Have Loved” and Jenny Sadre-Orafai “Hooking, Toprolling, and Pressing or What It’s Like When I’m in Love.”


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