Daily Archives: April 25, 2010

NB: Offutt’s guide to literary terms

“nonfiction: Prose that is factual, except for newspapers.

“creative nonfiction: Prose that is true, except in the case of memoir.

“memoir: From the Latin memoria, meaning “memory,” a popular form in which the writer remembers entire passages of dialogue from the past, with the ultimate goal of blaming the writer’s parents for his current psychological challenges.

“novel: A quaint, longer form that fell out of fashion with the advent of the memoir.

“short story: An essay written to conceal the truth and protect the writer’s family.”

This excerpt is from “The Offutt Guide to Literary Terms,” by Chris Offutt, published in Seneca Review and excerpted in Harper’s.


Filed under diction or vocabulary, fiction, humor, memoir, NOTED