Friday, September 25, 2015

Day 12 Author Blog Challenge

If your book is fiction, how could you change it to make it a nonfiction book? If your book is nonfiction, what could you do to turn it into a story?

This is a very interesting topic and I’ll be interested in reading all responses to this.

There are many forms and sub-genres of nonfiction, ranging from reference books to instructional manuals and everything in between. Some nonfiction books tell a story, as in speculative and creative nonfiction, where the author, in good faith, assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the people, information and events presented. Fiction contrasts with nonfiction by dealing in information, events, and characters expected to be partly or largely imaginary.

Unless a book of fiction has been written, based on real people, time and place, with details altered to avoid identification, I can’t see how it can ever be anything but a work of fiction. On the other hand, the mark of any good writer is to write a work of fiction that reads as fact, The CelestineProphecy is one example of this where readers were convinced it was truth with followers of the principle and groups popping up all over the world.

The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure By James Redfield. 9780553409024

Turning nonfiction into fiction is relatively easy, changing names, blurring dates and other identifying information and weaving story lines through known fact. An example of this is The Butterfly Stalker, by Robyn Friend, in which factual history has been woven into fiction to a point the reader can only speculate on vague similarities in a well-crafted plot line.

How to turn nonfiction into fiction is a question that is often asked in workshops I run, particularly from those writing memoir or life stories who understand that while a life story may be written from their own perspective, it remains a story that often belongs to more than one person. There are also those who don’t want to use names of living people or to leave themselves open to litigation. My advice is to focus on the event/s rather than the individuals and to write this write this in the same manner as a work of fiction, changing the names of characters and other potentially identifying material.


  1. Hi, Merlene -

    I think you're absolutely correct about the vast number of subgenres when it comes to nonfiction. I'm thinking, however, that when it comes to nonficionalizing fiction, it would be far more difficult for the author of fantastical stories - like those about werewolves and aliens - than stories that are based in reality.

    I look forward to reading all the others' responses to this prompt!

    Laura (aka Marcie Brock)

  2. My fiction is non fiction most of the time....... that's why I warn people not to mess with or I'll put them into one of my stories!


For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene