by Rhiannon Reintjens, Junior Editor for Non-Fiction jaBlog!
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed that fiction seems to be more popular with young writers than non-fiction. Many contests are for short stories, and even on jaBlog! there seems to be a larger response to our fiction prompts. Even I, who finds non-fiction a lot easier to write, love to write fiction. But non-fiction has many benefits, especially for young writers. It can even improve your fiction! Here are just three reasons why young writers should write non-fiction.
It can Improve Your Writing
The only way to improve your writing skills is to practice writing. However, this doesn’t mean that if you want to write fiction professionally, you only need to write fiction. Non-fiction is still writing, and any writing you do will increase your ability to write.
No matter what type of writing you’re doing, you’re still learning to be precise and to convey information in the best way possible. For many years John Green wrote commentaries for the local radio, and now he is an extremely popular fiction writer.
Not only that, but changing writing styles will give your brain a workout. Often, we can get stuck if we focus too much on one particular form of writing. Switching from fiction to non-fiction gives your brain something new to focus on, so by the time you go back to fiction, your brain is refreshed and ready to go.
It Opens the Door to More Opportunities
By only writing fiction, you’re actually limiting yourself to the types of competitions and publications you can submit to. I know for a fact that many publications, including jaBlog!, are crying out for more non-fiction submissions.
More opportunities means more chances of getting published. And who knows, maybe that essay or article you wrote is the lucky break you need. Once you have had success, this is a permanent line on your resumé. It’s proof that you are a good writer, good enough to get published, and it’s something you can show potential publishers. Any success you have is a great confidence booster and can motivate you to keep going.
It Hones Your Research Skills
Some of the best fiction is based on reality, whether it’s actual history, life experiences, or scenarios. All of these require research. Doing thorough research on a topic will enrich your stories, giving it extra depth and flavour.
When John Green wrote The Fault in Our Stars, he researched cancer, its treatments, and spoke to cancer survivors. When Carmen Reid wrote Cross My Heart, she had to research World War II and the involvement of the Belgian Resistance. Both stories are rich in detail, they capture the readers’ attention, and they make the reader feel like a part of the characters’ story.
Writing non-fiction can teach you how to develop research skills such as being specific, how to find sources, and how to dig deeper. As an added bonus, during your research you may find something that sparks your interest so much that you can write an entirely different story.
So there are just three reasons why fiction writers should seriously consider writing non-fiction. Don’t underestimate its power!
For jaBlog! non-fiction submission guidelines, click here
For jaBlog! non-fiction submission tips, click here