Author Topic: Non-Fiction to Fiction  (Read 1237 times)

Offline KarinaB

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Non-Fiction to Fiction
« on: April 06, 2006, 01:54:24 PM »
I write non-fiction - articles and books about family research, the profession in which I work. I have been lucky that I have had no problem selling articles, have had two books published and am now writing a third. I don't feel, however, that non-fiction writing challenges my creative muscles and I would really like to write a novel. I have constructed an outline and synopsis but have no idea how good it is (or not).
Have any other members successfully made the transition from non-fiction to fiction? Was it difficult? Should I take a course or have my fiction critiqued?
Any ideas welcome.

Offline Mr.Z

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Re: Non-Fiction to Fiction
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2006, 08:25:14 PM »
         Well I'll take a stab at answering your question, although I'm likely not very qualified to do so since I've never gotten anything published yet.   Still I have read a few books on the subject so I obviously have some opinions of my own.   

          First allow me to say this about basic story ideas.    With your outline and synopsis sight unseen I can still say that from everything I've read, there aren't any or at least very few ideas that could be called bad, or unworkable, or too cliched to find their way into publication.   It's not your ideas that you need to worry about, but rather how well you intend to present them. 

         I forget which writer said this, but it's long been a goal I've longed to achieve. 
  "In the hands of a good writer, a simple handshake can hold as much drama and emotion as the crossing of swords."   Personally I can see where this could be applied to almost every aspect of our work.   
        That said, here's some advice from; ‘Making Shapely Fiction, by Jerome Stern, publisher : W.W.Norton & Co.'
 Don't write stories like;
   A) The banging shutter or "I am der viper, I am der vindow
    viper story." This is the story based on a total
    anti-climax.  The perceived threat built up throughout the
    story only to have it turn into something quite
    non-threatening or ordinary.

   B) The Bathtub story-A story in which a character remains in
    one place and never leaves or actually interacts with anyone.

   C) Hobos-in-space;  deals with giving portentous dialogue to
    philosophizing outcasts and have them do little else then

   D) The I-Can-hardly-wait-story is one that sets up a character
    that will have his expectations dashed at the end.  A
    variant of which is the  I-knew-the-last-line-when-I-read-the-
    first-line story which is classic "Creepy" or "Tales of the
    Crypt" plot formals. 

  E) The Weird Harold story: is focused on a character that is
    strange and different.  But the pitfall here is the same as
    for stories based solely on an idea.  If your weird Harold
    is only weird with no insight or depth to his personality
    then he becomes nothing more then a plot device and the
    reader doesn't connect with him.  Remember characters need
    to show character development.

  F) The Zero-to-zero story: This is a story where in the
    character presented ends up in the same situation he began
    in.  It doesn't take the readers anywhere and the longer
    the story, the farther they haven't gone.

  G) The Zero-to-one-hundred story: the complete opposite of the
    zero-to-zero type in which a character achieves complete
    resolution of his problems.  The typical half-hour sitcom

    Hope that helps, even if only a little.     :)