by Hannah Brown, jaBlog! Blogger
Artwork by Lucy Zhang
There are two broad types of writing out there: fiction and nonfiction. Although you might be more interested in the fiction side of things (for the sake of the argument, I’m counting poetry in the fiction category, although some people do put it into the nonfiction category), some people estimate that more nonfiction books are published each year, due to the incredibly high number of specialist categories out there, such as sport, motoring or rearing children.
Nonfiction covers pretty much everything fiction doesn’t, as you can probably guess, so there is a lot to write about. That, folks, is reason number one why you should write nonfiction: there’s basically endless possibilities. Whereas in fiction, you sometimes come up against the problem of, “Oops, someone’s written that before!” But still, that might not be enough to convince you to write nonfiction. So, why should you?
Writing fiction sometimes doesn’t mean that much research, such as if it’s a contemporary romance or a fantasy novel, where a lot of the stuff you write about you either know due to common knowledge or make up as you go along. For example, I don’t think J.K. Rowling had to do much research to create Hogwarts, or Diagon Alley, as she invented those settings herself. However, nonfiction often does need a lot of research.
If you read a nonfiction book, you’ll probably find a bibliography in the back of it, listing all the sources the author used to write it. Why is this good? Well, it hones your research skills. If you ever do find yourself writing something that needs a lot of research, like a historical fiction novel, the practice will pay off. Also, if you’re still at school, you’ll ace all of your assignments by being able to research really well! That’s reason number two why you should write nonfiction.
Reason number three is that people don’t want to read a really waffly amount of nonfiction: they want clarity of expression, a short clarity of expression. Writing nonfiction is a great way to make sure you get your message across to the audience quickly and clearly, but also in enough detail to make it worth their while to read. Basically it’s the same thing you’re trying to do with fiction. So it teaches you valuable honing skills and gives you a great, highly readable piece in the end.
A lot of writers are scared away from nonfiction because they think it will be a lot of work, what with all of the research and then the actual writing of it. However, this isn’t necessarily true: sure, if you were writing a nonfiction book, then it’d probably take a lot of work, but simply writing a blog is a form of nonfiction. Aside from blogging here at LTC, I have two blogs of my own, and I manage to keep them running even with what little time I have. You can, too, and it’ll greatly benefit you.
I’m going to slip a quick reason number four in here: while fiction is great and can forge friendships, nonfiction can help to form business relationships and gain new experiences for you, too. For example, writing articles for LTC has helped me persuade my mum to let me to go to the UK Junior Authors Conference last year! In a hypothetical situation, such as you writing an article for a horsey website, someone might see it and offer you another opportunity, be it writing or even riding!
Writing nonfiction doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your fiction-writing dreams. It just means that you might want to look outside the box a little and discover something new about yourself and the world around you, while being able to invent that new world at the same time.