Topic 3: From New Journalism to Creative Non-fiction (Zeitgeist Genres 2)

Capote, Truman. “Last to see them alive.” Excerpt from In Cold Blood (1966). London: Penguin, 2000.

Capote’s “In Cold Blood”, in particular the excerpt given as one of this week’s readings, delves into the subjective experience of others in impossible detail, filling in the blanks in the authors knowledge with conjecture to help the story progress and be more engaging. These leaps between the facts and Capote’s narrative have the effect of rendering any neglected or omitted details or events significant. This method of implication by omission is a very powerful literary device and one that seems to appear by both choice, and necessity it much creative non-fiction.

All the readings this week, whilst some of the factual accuracy of some of the events is a little murky, allow the reader, as in the personal essay to view and event or series of events from within, or above. The emotive and engaging method of delivery packs more of a punch than a drier recounting of facts. I chose to write about the daily debrief I have with my 8 year old about his day at school. I exaggerated some of the more comical aspects of the conversation and made some creative leaps about his thought processes in order to bring the writing exercise in line with new journalism.

Picture: By Eric Koch / Anefo (Nationaal Archief) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

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