Beyond that, I seem to be compelled to write science fiction, rather than fantasy or mysteries or some other genre more likely to climb onto bestseller lists even though I enjoy reading a wide variety of literature, both fiction and nonfiction.— Joan D. Vinge
Delicious Writing Nonfiction quotations
There comes a point in your life when you need to stop reading other people's book and write your own.
I would, however, start writing fiction about 10 years before I actually did, because it's such great fun to do, many times more creative than nonfiction.
It's the technique, I think, of writing a novel that is difficult for a nonfiction writer.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.
There is always a certain leap of faith that editors have made with their nonfiction writers. If the trust is broken, things can get very embarrassing for the writers and the publisher.
When I'm writing fiction I'm thinking, God, this is so hard - I have to make all this stuff up! I wish I were writing a nonfiction book where all the facts are laid out and I don't have to be so much at sea.
Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing.
Write hard and clear about what hurts.
In fiction, when you paint yourself into a corner, you can write a pair of suction cups onto the bottoms of your shoes and walk up the wall and out the skylight and see the sun breaking through the clouds. In nonfiction, you don't have that luxury.
One of underestimated tasks in nonfiction writing is to impose narrative shape on an unwieldy mass of material.
He would write it for the reason he felt that all great literature, fiction and nonfiction, was written: truth comes out, in the end it always comes out. He would write it because he felt he had to.
Until the lion learns to write, every story will glorify the hunter.
If you go through any newspaper or magazine and look for active, kicking verbs in the sentences, you will realize that this lack of well used verbs is the main trouble with modern English writing. Almost all nonfiction nowadays is written in a sort of pale, colorless sauce of passives and infinitives, motionless and flat as paper.
Writing fiction is for me a fraught business, an occasion of daily dread for at least the first half of the novel, and sometimes all the way through. The work process is totally different from writing nonfiction. You have to sit down every day and make it up.
I like to get paid for doing basic research, so it's pleasant to write some nonfiction about it.
Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
When I'm not writing, I read loads of fiction, but I've been writing quite constantly lately so I've been reading a lot of nonfiction - philosophy, religion, science, history, social or cultural studies.
I tend to read more nonfiction, really, because when I'm writing I don't like to read other fiction.
If you can propose a memoir, even if you are eighteen years old - and what do you remember? What are you memeing? If you can propose a memoir, I believe someone will pay you to write it. And you will get a contract for nonfiction. And if it is about victimology in one way or another than you'll get more money. It's a sensation.
Your life is your story. Write well. Edit often.
Good writing is good writing no matter what genre you're writing in, and I believe that there are only a handful of fundamental craft tools that are essential for any genre-including nonfiction.
I really enjoy doing both, but I didn't write nonfiction until 1994.
Every time I write a nonfiction book I get sued.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
My entire career, in fiction or nonfiction, I have reported and written about people who are not like me.
If you write nonfiction, a historical account of what really happened, first of all, it's always White men who do that and you don't have the voices that are really interesting to me, of the people who are not sheltered by the big umbrella of the establishment.
The DNA of the novel - which, if I begin to write nonfiction, I will write about this - is that: the title of the novel is the whole novel. The first line of the novel is the whole novel. The point of view is the whole novel. Every subplot is the whole novel. The verb tense is the whole novel.
A good friend knows all your stories. A best friend helped you write them.
I did not set out to write another novel.
One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become 'Tomcat in Love.
I write nonfiction in this thriller-esque style.
I have all the facts; I research it. I have thousands of pages of court documents... I try to get inside my stories.
I contend that in the kind of nonfiction I write, and that other people also pursue, anything is permissible provided the reader knows what you're taking liberties with.
You have the itch for writing born in you. It's quite incurable. What are you going to do with it?
Inexperienced fiction and creative nonfiction writers are often told to show, not tell - to write scenes, dramatize, cut exposition, cut summary - but it can be misguided advice. Good prose almost always requires both showing and telling, scenes and summary, the two basic components of creative prose
I enjoy the writings of all of these authors and they have been very inspirational for me. But I think that it is important as writers of metaphysical, New Age, occult fiction and nonfiction to not take ourselves too seriously.
Ever hear the expression "write what you know?" My version says "write what you want to know." If you want to know about the history of Spain, write about the history of Spain - fiction or nonfiction. If your fascinated by the old west, maybe your character lives there.
If they give you lined paper, write the other way.
After writing anything, there's always that postpartum feeling of, "What do I do now?" - I think particularly for nonfiction writers. I feel myself pulled back to the same themes, sometimes even the same moments, and I'm not sure that I want that.
I started writing nonfiction because nonfiction is well-suited to subjects that, if you wrote them as fiction, people would say, "I don't believe this. This is a little outlandish".
When you're researching things that have happened, the clear narrative arc is not there already. This is the problem of writing nonfiction for me - writing nonfiction which is about serious subjects and has serious political and social points to make, yet which is meant to be popular to a degree - what happens when the facts don't fit a convenient narrative arc? I guess that for a lot of nonfiction writers that is a central challenge.
When writing the story of your life, don't let anyone else hold the pen
That idea of not being exactly who you write as is so crucial.
Even looking at those words as I type them, it feels dirty, it feels like I'm admitting something. Unfortunately, I think that's how the conversation around nonfiction is so much of the time - either defensive or accusatory. Aha! You've been caught! But the original essence of something is always lost when it's reproduced.
I think the term "artist's novel" for me has referred to writing which supports an art practice or a more specifically a particular artwork or project. The nonfiction novellas and nonfiction novel I have written play a role in my artwork as objects - which I will return to, but I write the books to exist autonomously.
The challenge of nonfiction is keeping the attention of a reader over span of time, and to keep the quality of the writing as high as it needs to be to keep people's attention.
Narrative nonfiction was not my forte.
I always wanted to let my imagination run free, and the facts sometimes got in the way. At one point I wanted to illustrate Jack Prelutsky's enchanting poems. Unable to do that, I started devising and improvising my own poems, very raw at first. I immersed myself in verse, writing reams of stuff until it gelled.
I always thought that I could write a novel.
In my case, it was misguided. I do believe that the best nonfiction is not "literary journalism," a misleading term, but rather journalism that asks the questions that serious literature asks. It's storytelling that happens to be true. So I don't think it was a missed opportunity. After awhile you learn what you're really good at. Life is short, so spend time doing that.