Nonfiction needs to be fictional. You may be scratching your head right now – let me explain. Fictional in this sense does not refer to being untrue or fabricated, it refers to creative form. Nonfiction needs to be crafted in a literary sense. Appealing nonfiction employs techniques used by playwrights, fictional authors, and the like. Here lies the difference between showing and telling.
To take the easy way out, an insipid writer will tell their audience about the subject matter, whether it’s an event, person or topic. As a result, readers will also tend to take the easy way out and stop reading. There’s no pleasure in reading when our imagination is hindered.
On the other hand, a “creative” nonfiction writer will take the same subject matter and express it vividly, dramatically, creating a sense of action; in scenes. Scenes are the foundation, the crucial ingredient of compelling nonfiction. Trafford Publishing‘s most revered writers will tell you that creating scenes and applying settings are important lessons for any budding nonfiction writer. In turn, use these scenes to create a story with your subject matter.
Similarly, characterization can be used to render your nonfiction writing more like a story. As we as readers all have a weakness for falling in love with characters!
There are people that will condemn the use of the words, literary, creative, or fictional before the word nonfiction as these people maintain that being creative or writing in a literary manner indicates that the substance consists of embellished details or is fabricated. These people are mistaken. There is absolutely no reason that creativity and inspiration cannot go hand in hand with integrity and factual writing.
It is understandable to question why “creative nonfiction” is a new genre. It is not a new genre, there has always been creative nonfiction, the only difference is, it wasn’t until recently that people felt the need to distinguish between nonfiction that was only factual, and nonfiction that uses literary methods.
Key aspects to consider when writing nonfiction:
- Engage curiosity in your readers. Liberate their mind’s eye.
- Story arc provides a more gripping read.
- Writing about scenes and settings in a dramatic fashion will inevitably engage the reader.
If you’re having trouble getting your imagination onto paper, why not check out these rituals of famous writers that helped them diffuse their muse. For further writing advice, Trafford Publishing’s author advice segment contains articles with writing tips help you on your way to publishing a book!
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