Five Characteristics of Creative Non-Fiction
1. There is an apparent subject, and a deeper subject. What the writing is really about. The reader reads to learn something. It must be more than just recounting a personal experience.
2. The writing is free of the journalistic requirement of timeliness. It may be timely to the writer, who still has strong feelings about the material, but may stand outside of time, expressing universal truths and values.
3. It is narrative. It tells a good story. It uses character and dialog. It moves–it is action oriented.
4. It contains a sense of reflection. The underlying subject has been percolated through the author’s imagination. It is a finished thought, often expressed as, “I finally realized,” or “I came to understand.”
5. It shows serious attention to the craft of writing: Interesting turns of phrase; fresh metaphors; scenic presentation, i.e. the use of scenes; no clichés (avoid them like the plague); No obvious endings; accurate use of words; a governing aesthetic sensibility.