Fiction and Non-fiction Writing Share Similar Preparation

Sometimes we get hung up on differentiating fiction and non-fiction writing when we’re better served as writers if we understood they share similar preparation.

Both require research, for example. Even if writing fiction, you need to be accurate in what you write. Readers know stuff and they’ll challenge your credibility as a writer if you get it wrong. Once you’ve alienated a reader, you have very little chance to get them back. Plus, they’re willing to share their disappointment in you with anyone who will listen.

Of course everyone knows research is vital to non-fiction writing, but don’t underestimate it in your fiction writing as well.

Another thing fiction and non-fiction writing share in the preparation stage is you determining why you’re writing the book. Are you writing it because you have a good story to tell? Storyline(s) are important in both fiction and non-fiction writing. Are you writing it because you want to explore an idea or emotion? Again, this applies to both fiction and non-fiction. Are you writing it to give the reader something to ponder? Yep, both fiction and non-fiction writing do this.

One more thing fiction and non-fiction writing have in common during preparation is how do you want to get your message out? Do you want to use description? Character profiles? Statistics? History? You have many choices, but one thing to always remember is your job is to get your message out while doing your best to meet reader expectations.

If you’re writing genre fiction (romance, mystery, thriller, horror, sci-fi, western, etc.), follow the formulas for the genre. If you’re writing non-fiction, provide the information the reader needs without overloading the reader with information that can  confuse or blur the point of your book.

Preparation is critical to writing a good book for both fiction and non-fiction writers, so don’t overlook its importance.

Happy writing!


4 Responses to “Fiction and Non-fiction Writing Share Similar Preparation”

  1. 1 Carol Ann Hoel August 14, 2010 at 6:15 am

    I learned to respect the art of fiction writing when I attempted to write a novel. I have written a one and it’s good. (I may turn out to be the only believing it is good, but I do believe it.) Producing this manuscript was ten thousand times the work I thought it would be. I can’t wait to start another one. I am learning now that marketing a novel is more difficult than writing one.

    • 2 expertbookpublishing August 15, 2010 at 7:15 am

      Thanks for your post. I agree that when I wrote my mystery, it was way more work than I expected. And, yes, marketing a novel is more difficult than writing one (at least it is until you’re established and have a readership following). Your post reminded me that I teach that in my book publishing seminars, so I’m going to mention it in the blog. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. 3 rachelkovacs January 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    For fun, read this crazy story about an alcoholic relative who comes to town and wants to move in. You decide the fate of the story at

  1. 1 How to Tell a Story « Stina's Blog Trackback on January 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

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