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Creative Nonfiction

It is a major genre of literature. It refers to narratives of real events told in a literary style.

Kinds of Creative Nonfiction

 Memoir - This account is narrowly focused on a single event in a person’s life.


 Biography - This is a detailed account of a person’s life written by another person.
 Autobiography - This is a written account of the life of a person written by the subject himself or herself.
 Diary - This is a collection of discrete accounts of a person’s experiences and thoughts each day.
 Essay - This writing features any subject that the writer personally comments about or describes.

Philippine Creative Nonfiction


The American Occupation (1898–1940)
The essay in English proved to be an influential medium. The first volume of essays was Life and Success (1921) by
Zoilo Galang. The earliest travel writing was Notas de Viaje (1930) by Maria Paz Mendoza-Guazon. The essay
“Literature and Society” by Salvador Lopez sparked a debate on socially relevant literature versus aesthetic value. It
won in the first Commonwealth Literary Awards in 1940.

The Japanese Occupation (1941–1945)


Because of censorship, only a few essays in English were published. Horizons from My Nipa Hut, published in 1941,
is a collection of humorous essays by Francisco B. Icasiano. I Am a Filipino, the most famous essay of Carlos P.
Romulo, was published the same year.

1960s and 1970s


Literary journalism came into its own. It appeared in some publications like the Philippines Free Press and
the Philippine Graphic. It attracted some of the best Filipino writers. Nick Joaquin, who sometimes used the pen
name Quijano de Manila, was the most prolific among those writers.

1990s
A few autobiographies and memoirs were published like Memory’s Fictions: A Personal History (1993) and Postscript
to a Saintly Life (1994) by Bienvenido Santos. Also, there were works on wars like Living With the Enemy: A Diary of
the Japanese Occupation (1999) by Pacita Pestaño-Jacinto, and Breaking the Silence (1996) by Lourdes Reyes
Montinola.

Also, published in this period were travel writings by Filipino women like Sylvia Mayuga’s Earth, Fire & Air (1992) and
Kerima Polotan’s Adventures in a Forgotten Country (1999).

Early 21st Century


This period saw the publication of collections of short essays and narratives of young writers. Their works were Wala
Lang (2004) by Bud Tomas; Love, Desire, Children, Etc.: Reflections of a Young Wife (2005) by Rica Bolipata-
Santos; The King of Nothing To Do (2006) by Luis Katigbak; and Stressed in the City (2007) by April T. Yap.

Creative nonfiction refers to narratives of real events told using a literary style of writing. Some of its forms are the
memoir, the biography, the autobiography, the diary, and the essay. In Philippine Literature, the essay is the most
common form of creative nonfiction.
Popular fiction, also called genre fiction, refers to works of literature that are intended for the masses or large
audience. Its main purpose is to appeal to the general public. Below are a few features of popular fiction:

 Its story is plot-driven.


 Its characters are mostly stock figures.
 Its setting is either familiar or exotic.
 Its language is closer to everyday spoken language.
 It contains a lot of dialogues.

Science fiction, also called sci-fi, at its core, deals with science and technology. It is often lumped with the fantasy
and horror genres under the broader term “speculative fiction.” As this term suggests, sci-fi writers are often
preoccupied by the question “what if.”

Pocholo Goitia’s short story “An Introduction to the Luminescent” is an example of science fiction. It was published
in Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 1 in 2005. The story is set in the year 2105 in a mall described as an
“ultrasaur,” a massive structure that towers at two kilometers and stretches at half kilometer. Magenta, one of the
characters, is a member of La Luminosa, a group of biogenetically engineered people that live in the mall. This mall is
protected by “clone warriors” that hover in the air using devices called gravity disruptors.

Chick literature, or chick lit, is written by women who write for women. The usual target readers are young and
single women, especially in their 20s or 30s. The stories deal with real life, usually love and relationships, and they
are written in a light-hearted tone.

Tara Sering’s Getting Better is an example of chick literature. The novella was published in the October 2002 issue
of Cosmopolitan Philippines, a magazine that targets contemporary women and that mostly features topics regarding
relationships, beauty, fashion, and health. Told in the second person point of view, the story tackles the life of a single
woman named Karen—how she was as a girlfriend, how she dealt with cheating, and how she moved on.

Ghost stories are part of Filipino pop culture. They are a specific kind of stories in the horror fiction genre. As the
name suggests, a ghost story features a ghost as one of its characters. Like any story in the horror fiction genre, a
ghost story is meant to scare its reader.

Joel P. Salud’s “The Haunting at Concha Cruz Drive” is an example of a ghost story. It was published in True
Philippine Ghost Stories Book 1 in 2002. It tells the story of three friends driving along a road named Concha Cruz
Drive which is known to be haunted by ghosts of a young couple who were victims of drag racing accident.

Popular fiction refers to works of literature whose main purpose is to appeal to the general public. It includes the
science fiction genre, chick literature, and ghost stories.

Literary Genre
This refers to a type or category of literature. It has a specific form, content, and style. The four main genres of
literature are poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. Under each of those genres are different genres. For example,
fiction includes speculative fiction, fantasy, and science fiction.

Literary Technique
This is a literary device deliberately used by a writer to convey a specific idea or meaning. An example is motif, an
object or idea that is repeated in a literary work. Another literary technique is the use of figurative language, an
example is personification, a figure of speech in which an inanimate object is given human qualities.

Flash Fiction
Flash fiction is known for its extreme brevity. A typical work of flash fiction is only a few hundred words long.
Examples are the stories in Fast Food Fiction: Short Short Stories To Go (2003), edited by Noelle Q. de Jesus. The
collection features stories written by well-known Filipino writers like Gemino H. Abad, Gregorio Brillantes, Jose
Dalisay, Jr., Jessica Zafra, and Lakambini Sitoy.

Slipstream
Slipstream, or the “fiction of strangeness,” features elements of fantasy, science fiction, and serious fiction. For
many, works of slipstream are difficult to categorize because of their similarities with speculative fiction. The
collection Philippine Speculative Fiction, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Nikki Alfar, contains stories that are
slipstream fiction.

Metafiction
Metafiction is about fiction itself. A work of metafiction can be a story about a writer who writes a story or a story
about another work of fiction. Some works of metafiction by Filipinos are the novel Ilustrado (2010) by Miguel Syjuco
and Hari Manawari (2011) by German Gervacio.

Magic Realism
Magic realism is a fiction genre in which magical elements are blended with reality. It is characteristic of the stories
by Latin American writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jorge Luis Borges, and Isabel Allende. The short story “The
Death of Fray Salvador Montano, Conquistador of Negros” by the Filipino writer Rosario Cruz Lucero has elements of
magic realism.