The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Re: Nonfiction

Post by Blondie » March 6th, 2010, 10:53 am

Aspen - Interesting article. Thanks for the addition to the discussion. Don't think I agree with the idea that everything needs to go digital, though. Maybe I'm a dinosaur..hmmm..

Question for the group: What do you guys and gals think about nonfiction writers branching out to fiction, and vice versa? It seems that, historically, there was plenty of success with this, particularly for authors working as journalists. In recent years though, when I look at fiction produced by nonfiction writers (at least the one's I'm familiar with - limited), the work is not as rich as that created by normally fiction-focused authors. That said, when fiction writers cross over to the nonfiction, they seem to bring something extra to the story. However, the writing is sometimes a little too much for the subject.

I know Nathan has posted a great blog showing the business benefits of having nonfiction creds to back a fiction proposal. What are your thoughts?


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Re: Nonfiction

Post by Sam » March 7th, 2010, 6:48 am


Asimov was a great example of a non-fiction writer doing fiction and a great job of it I must add. L. Ron was another example that comes to mind not to compare the two.

My work is a non-fiction work on evolution as a universal construct. Human evolution, the evolution of the psyche, galactic evolution, spiritual evolution as well as the universe/our environment and how it has changed and is changing. Many see the place we fill in our own little area as having evolved into what is it but think that the process is somewhat over.

Of course the advancement of the evolutionary patterns of our lives and our worlds takes place on a pace than involves hundreds, thousands and millions of years so looking at things on a day by day basis makes it seem as if evolution has come to a screeching halt, our lives and the many changes we go through on a day by day cycle are totally representative of the grand scheme of things.

As far as publishers wanting unfinished works of course it's for the control and what they believe the reading public wants and of course as writers we must know that conforming our precious knowledge to those who know better the stories we tell is a must, the level of change we must endure is simply another price to be paid for the establishment we wish to use to release or work. Plus the more control they take the more money they make.

I read/or watched somewhere that Writers are in the business of telling stories and making money for themselves, agents are in the business of finding talent and making money for themselves, editors are in the business of correcting great works for the masses and making money for themselves, but publishers are out to make sure the money winds up in the right place.

Who was it that said, publishing would be the greatest job in the world if they just didn't have to deal with writers?

God love 'em!

In their defense if it weren't for all the money they amass books would never reach the shelves. eBooks, I can see the fear.


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Re: Nonfiction

Post by adtabb » March 11th, 2010, 3:03 pm

Considering it took me three years to produce a fiction 41,000 word work, I wouldn't want to send in a proposal on an unfinished product. I know how life and illness can get in the way. I have put 50,000 into my current non-fiction in less than two months, but also know, in a few weeks, I will be going back to my paying job for 2 1/2 months with no time or energy to write (I have severe chronic illness, and after ten hours a day gone barely manage to stumble in the door). Sure, maybe a few paragraphs may need fixing, but not the whole work. Plus, my nonfiction has changed completely from when I started it. It looks nothing like the original plan.

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Colonel Travis
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Re: Nonfiction

Post by Colonel Travis » March 17th, 2010, 3:00 am

Blondie, I was in journalism for a while, had a nice career, then got sick of it and decided to write on my own. I'm writing fiction for the first time and it's been a struggle. Going in I thought I knew a lot about writing, and I did, somewhat, but I didn't know squat about storytelling. Since the transition, I have studied the art of storytelling far more than I've written. Unfortunately, it's an art not taught well, so I've had to learn on my own. Almost feel like I've been going back to school, except it's been a lot more frustrating since I'm the one who has to make up the curriculum and I have zero qualifications for it. But I've put in some serious time and I'm glad I have. By no means am I an expert on story, but if I had written a novel without learning what I have it would have been a guaranteed disaster. Novel I'm working on now might very well be total crap, but I think I at least have a fighting chance.

No clue if it's easier for a fiction writer to write nonfiction or vice versa. Honestly, I don't think it matters. I know that sounds like it contradicts what I just wrote. But "nonfiction" and "fiction" are broad terms. You could write a nonfiction poem, magazine cover story, book. Same with fiction. The writer's job is to master whatever form needs to be mastered. If you can consistently be published in one format, you're probably competent enough to be published in another. Not saying you'll match the quality, or that everyone can, or that if you can write good poetry that means you can also write the all-time best selling book on blobfish (google blobfish, by the way - eeesh.) Just saying that good writing is a nice skill to have, and if you really know your strengths and weaknesses, it's going to open more doors than it closes.

When I hear literary agents talk about how much verbal garbage they have to sift through every second of their life, I can sort of understand it. Not completely, because I've never been assaulted by anywhere near that kind of query volume, but I have been on the receiving end. Trust me, literary street cred of any kind will at least get you noticed.

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