Author Topic: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.  (Read 3351 times)

Offline thecreativewriter

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Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« on: September 24, 2017, 05:31:49 AM »
I have got several projects on the go currently, mostly all fiction but one is non fiction. It made me wonder, which is easier - if there is an easier - to write - Fiction or non fiction? I am thinking with Fiction, you have plots characters, scenes and dialogue to write, whereas with Non Fiction, you have just the research facts and writing to do....?

From experience, can anyone tell me which is easier or is there no difference...

Thank you for your time.

Lin

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2017, 04:43:53 PM »
No real difference except you must understand the 'ways' of fiction writing. I really don't think you can compare them.  Each is different.  Perhaps the fiction writing is harder for some writers, but non-fiction should be easier to write if it is planned out properly and you have all the facts and research to hand. I don't think there is one that is easier than the other.  Each writer will have a different view on this one.

Lin

 

Offline sallyj

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2017, 10:05:58 AM »
I think non-fiction is much easier to market. It's easier to dream up appropriate keywords and contact blogs/sites that deal with that particular non-fiction niche.
Similarly there is a huge market for non-fiction magazine articles - far, far more of these are required than short stories for magazines.
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Offline thecreativewriter

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2017, 04:36:51 PM »
Thanks guys, interesting opinions, basically what I had thought myself.

heidi52

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2017, 06:08:12 AM »
My personal opinion, based on nothing whatsoever, is that it's easier to write fiction because you can make it all up.

Jo Bannister

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2017, 09:07:22 AM »
Ah, but then you have no "facts" to refer back to if you paint yourself into a corner.

For my part, I think the problem is the question.  It's like asking which is better: a table or a photograph of your Labrador.  They don't bear any comparison. 

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2017, 11:02:46 AM »
Warning.  Around 700 words, so pour yourself a drink first ;-)

=================================================

   Jo is correct, (honestly, I don't have this as a saved phrase on my processor), but it can still be an interesting question if you dissect it.

   I enjoy writing both, but the experience is very different.  Fiction is an adventure, which you share with your characters. as the story unfolds in your head and then onto the page.  Non fiction is a job.  Not always a paying one, but still a job.  But just because it turns up wearing overalls and looks like work doesn't mean you can't enjoy doing it.  It's always easier to do something you enjoy.

   I suspect most writers have a natural bent one way or the other in that fiction or non-fiction will seem easier to you.  If you're a natural collector of facts and figures and tend to recall them without too much difficulty, although you should always check before hitting send, then non fiction will probably be easier to write. 

   Why?  Because you're dealing with chunks of information which are already in your brain.  At the most basic level you're just arranging them in a particular and coherent order.  It's a more mechanical process, which is in some ways akin to editing your first draft of a story to make sure it flows without any gaping holes.

   Fiction taps into a slightly different area of the brain, and is a constantly moving target.  By the time you reach the end the characters have developed considerably from what you originally had in mind.  (Unless you're one of those people who belts out a new 'novel' every six weeks in which case you have a formula and it must be very much like writing non-fiction.)  Writers like this claim they don't have a formula, but their readers can usually spot it ;-)  If the reader likes that formula then they'll buy book after book.

   Heidi says that fiction should be easier because you can 'just make it up'.  This is a very seductive thought, and explains why a great many novels are half finished and doomed to sit in cupboards or in computer files for ever.  Fiction relies more on you, the writer, to keep imagining new twists, but at the same time keep it plausible for the reader.  You have to believe in that world you are creating, for as long as it takes to create it.  This is why every good novel contains a lot more fact than most readers will realise.  These could be seen as the reinforcing rods for the poured concrete of the fable.

   Non fiction could, in theory, be written by any competent writer in possession of the same facts.  Fortunately we all handle our words differently.  Take for example news coverage of a riot.  Some will concentrate on numbers, property damage, arrests, etc.  Others will look for the human interest angle, digging deeper into the 'why' and the 'who' rather than the 'what' and the 'how much'.

   Craft or trade articles are simply instruction, although there is room for some personal opinion.  The writer takes on the role of the more experienced practitioner, looking over the beginner's shoulder and guiding them.  Articles like these have to very structured and logical in their progression from raw materials to finished object.  You need to be able to think like the beginner and work out what questions they would ask if they knew how to ask them..  Then you know what answers to give.  Articles such as these can seem horribly pedestrian to the experienced tradesman.

   =====

   There is another and often unasked question if you're writing for money.

   Around 80% percent of the words which get sold every year are non-fiction.  As Sally said earlier it's a huge and voracious market.  Magazines, trade publications, web sites, etc.

   Million-selling novels and big advances get the headlines, but some of the steadiest and biggest earners are non-fiction 'how to' titles.  Keep this in mind too.  A good non-fiction book can be updated every few years to reflect modern equipment or changes in practice.  Freddy Forsyth couldn't rewrite The Dogs of War every few years to add and remove characters or change the ending.  It took a film company to do that ;-)

   =====
    
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Offline Simple Things

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2017, 02:22:49 PM »

From experience, can anyone tell me which is easier or is there no difference...

Thank you for your time.

Isn't there a genre called Creative non-fiction? Maybe I just dreamed it up. It's for that writing in-between.

JewelAS53

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 06:29:09 AM »
Around 80% percent of the words which get sold every year are non-fiction.

I learned from an SA publisher that local non fiction sells better here than local fiction. That was not a pleasant surprise, as I find it by far easier to write fiction.

I have started my personal story at least 20 times  :P

graphophobia

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2017, 05:47:24 PM »
I agree Jewel, I write mostly short stories, and while they are challenging at times, they were nowhere near as difficult as trying to write about my great grandmother. I think I felt more responsibility to tell the story well and get it just right because it was about a real person. Give me 'made up stories' any day!

Offline Zoey141

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2018, 05:18:31 AM »
IMHO, writing fiction is easier than writing non-fiction. While writing fiction, you already have an interesting premise and a few plot twists in mind. But while writing non-fiction, the challenge is to write about realities and facts of life in an interesting way. I find it really tough to write about a real life incident as compared to writing pages and pages about imaginary characters. 

Offline asilalenore7

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Re: Which is easier to write fiction or non fiction.
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2018, 10:46:43 PM »
I find fiction is sooo much easier to write, as it just flows out of my brain. When I write non-fiction, I have to do hours of research, check it is all oK for me to use, then write to those whose information I have gathered, to ask permission to use it etc
Dates and times become more important, there is pressure to complete it, and so on. Asilalenore7