We interviewed Janet Yoder in March & April 2014 R&R: You write in three forms: essays, creative non-fiction, and short stories. What is the difference between “essay” and “creative non-fiction?” Is a short story different from “creative non-fiction?” JY: To me, essays and creative nonfiction are essentially the same. Some publications use one term and some the other. I divide my essays into two categories: 1) personal essays inspired by my 30-year friendship with Skagit tribal teacher Vi Hilbert and 2) all other essays. My short stories are definitely fiction. I wrote a novel set in Indian Country but tucked it away in a drawer and I sometimes work on a new novel set in eastern Washington in between work on essays and short fiction. R&R: What are the techniques of fiction that you use in essay and creative nonfiction—if any? JY: I try to develop any real person I write about as I would a fictional character, trying to understand what makes that person tick. Lately I am concentrating on the idea of place in both essay and fiction. Looking at geology, mythology, plants, animals, weather, and the cultures of a place. R&R: When do you decide on the form? Do you start writing and watch the words morph into something? Or do you know the form before you start writing? JY: I wish I decided on...Read More
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