I’m a word person so it’s fun to hear how each side of a political debate will use words to spin their side. We do the same thing in writing–in fiction and in nonfiction. In storytelling, we try to persuade people to buy into the story we’re telling whether or not that story is a novel or one based in fact.
For fiction, we want to suspend disbelief. That is to say, we hope our stories are not unbelievable and will allow our readers to be lifted on a magic carpet ride of a story we have made up. We want to offer truth in our stories to the point that a fact-finding check will guarantee the research but not let the research take over our story thereby making it nonfiction–even when we’re writing fantasy and science fiction. Our fiction must ring true in order that we suspend the readers notion to disbelieve us. It was Hemingway who said, “To get started, write one true sentence.” Even if that sentence is the beginning of a novel. For instance, “Call me Ishmael.” Here are some fiction examples:
- Short stories
- Here are some Genres found in Novels and Short Stories:
- Science Fiction/Fantasy
- Young Adult
- General Fiction
For nonfiction, our stories must be based in the truth to be credible sources of information. Readers count on the truth being exposed and historical information being accurate. Here are a few examples of writing in the nonfiction genre:
- Biography/autobiography – narrative of a person’s life; a true story about a real person
- Essay – a short literary composition that reflects the author’s outlook or point.
- Owner’s manual (also Instruction manual, User’s guide) – an instructional book or booklet that is supplied with consumer products such as vehicles, home appliances, firearms, toys and computer peripherals
- Journalism – reporting factual accounts of news and current events, such as found on CNN.com, NY Times, AZ Republic, Seattle Times, Boston Globe, ABC World News
- Lab Report – a report of an experiment or some verifiable observation
- Memoir – factual story that focuses on a significant relationship between the writer and a person, place, or object; reads like a short novel
- Narrative nonfiction/personal narrative – factual information about a significant event presented in a format which tells a story
- Reference book – such as a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, almanac, or atlas
- Self-help book – information with the intention of instructing readers on solving personal problems.
- Speech – public address or discourse
- Textbook – authoritative and detailed factual description of a topic.
So, words are important in both fiction and nonfiction, and because when they have mass appeal, they can change people’s lives. To demonstrate how important words can be, I’ve chosen to post a clip from one of Stephen Colbert’s recent shows. You will see how precise Colbert is in exhibiting word use to persuade his viewers.
If you want to check out word choice in my books, check out my book by CLICKING HERE!