1. Home 
  2. Introduction
  3. On Our Glossary and Taxonomy
  4.     Glossary of Terms
  5.     Taxonomies of Creative Nonfiction
  6.             Central Questions
  7.             Dramatic Design
  8.             Forms
  9.             Genre and Veracity
  10.             Imagery
  11.             The Mind
  12.             Language
  13.             Narrative Energy
  14.             Narrators
  15.             Scene
  16.             Topics
  17.             Truth
  18. The Central Question Podcast
  19. Contact the Authors

Taxonomy of Genre and Veracity (Chapter 3)

Genre is writing differentiated by its shape. In creative writing, we primarly have three genres: poetry, drama, and prose. 

Drama came from the Greeks and means either a “theatrical act” or “a play” and comes from the Greek word for “to take action.” The shape of a drama on the page is a script. Drama doesn’t care if things are invented or true. Drama is one of our three genres.

Poetry originates from the Latin word for “poet,” which means “maker” or “author.” Poetry is most often defined by its use of line breaks and its reliance on heightened language. Poetry doesn’t care if things are invented or true. Poetry is one of our three genres. 

Prose is writing shaped into paragraphs. The term prose is birthed from the Latin word for “straightforward,” since most prose is more linear than poetry. Prose uses paragraphs, sentences, and (usually) traditional uses of punctuation. Prose doesn’t care if things are invented or true. 

Veracity comes from the Latin term “vērāx,” which means “to speak truthfully.” Veracity is “a truth” or “a truthful statement.” Veracity is what differentiates creative nonfiction and fiction. 

Veracity Scale, The, deals with if a narrative if based on truth or invention. Since this is a scale, it moves from absolute fact on one side to absolute invention on the other. Nonfiction finds its home on one side of the veracity scale while fiction finds its home on the other side. 

Fiction includes all invented narratives. It is most often in prose form. 

Creative Nonfiction is tricky to define since it is based around what it is not: i.e. not fiction. Still, one definition is that creative nonfiction uses imaginative elements to write about real events. It is most often in prose form.

Essay originates from the Latin word exxagium (through the French word essai) and means “a weighing” or “to examine” or “to try.” An essay, therefore, is an examination or the trying on of an idea or event.

Fact, in Medieval Latin, meant something that was literally a “thing done.” By the 1600s, a fact was understood to be “a thing that is known or proven to be true.”

Memoir traces itself back to the Latin word memoria, which means, simply, “memory.” Memoir is a sharing of the writer’s memories or the construction of one’s story from one’s memory. 

Myths are stories that a culture believes to be true (and may be true) while the outside world believes a culture’s myths to be untrue or distorted.

Myths, Personal, are stories that a writer accepts as truth and fact but are actually falsified by malleable memories and the distortion of our phenomenal truths.

Noumenal, The, originates from the term “Ding an sich,” which can be translated as “thing-in-itself.” The noumenal is the actual world or the factual world. 

Phenomenal, The, is the world of appearances and interpretation, the world filtered through a human’s senses. Broken down into mathematical terms, noumenal truth + our senses = an individual’s phenomenal truths. 

Truth comes from the West Saxon word triewe and means “faithful" or having the “quality of being true.” True, meanwhile, traces itself back to Proto-Germanic. Since the 1200s, true has meant “consistent with fact” and since the 1300s has meant “real, genuine, not counterfeit.”

Truth, Emotional, is how someone feels about or interprets an experience and/or how an experience feels in the moment.