Writing Nonfiction with Fictional Techniques (Part 12)

When you write true stories or vignettes within nonfiction articles and books, write what you know. That means writing from your own experiences. Who are you writing about? Yourself? If you are writing your own experiences, whether as an adult or from your childhood, make sure that others will benefit from your experiences. Your story has to answer the question, “So what?” It needs to have a point that will have take-away value for the reader. Nonfiction allows you to use your own experiences, but you can couch them in fiction and change the details. We don’t have to undergo exactly what was experienced in what we want to write about, but it is vital that we feel passionately about our subject.  Often you can use other people’s true stories in your nonfiction articles and books. Having several people experience similar circumstances adds depth to your writing.

Don’t let your characters take over—real or fictional. You must know what they are going to do. That is why you write the ending right after the beginning, or at least a brief summary of what will happen. Don’t manipulate the characters either. They must be believable, even if the unbelievable is true, or you will lose your credibility with your reader.

Next week we will finish this series.