The World of the Nonfiction Writer
Nonfiction means fact! Libraries, book stores, book catalog houses use the terminology; nonfiction and fiction to separate their books into two main categories. Any type of writing where all aspects of the details are 100% true, would be classified as nonfiction and fiction is everything that is not true, meaning
imaginary writing. Also, usually included in the nonfiction, true, textual category are any works that an author wrote then published with the sincere belief at the time, that the account was true, despite there being conflicting accounts of the subject matter at hand for example, new evidence can pop up a few years later or old knowledge is deciphered to a different conclusion years after the publication or perhaps better technology is developed that disproves some or all of the author’s statements. If it was written as a nonfiction book, it stays classified as a nonfiction book.
It must also be mentioned that the lines between the truth and lies may seem clear cut but when it comes to writing about a vastly recognized subject such as a well-known historical event there will be many different publications on a given subject at any specific time and different authors will no-doubt have very conflicting view points on what the facts actually are or were. Now, we all know that different, conflicting versions of the same events cannot all be true! Yet, these varying perspectives on the same subject will all still be classified as nonfiction literary works even though they don’t all agree.
Some examples of nonfiction are; medical journals, college text books, biographies, documentaries, essays and instructional manuals. Most journalism and integrity based news reporting can be deemed nonfiction, except for the hype, promotional, kind such as publicity stunt news or phony tabloid articles written to cause controversy or to create dramatic emotional responses from their readers usually with the prime motive of selling more papers or for their sheer entertainment value.
Writing quality nonfiction gets complicated because it rarely is as simple as just relaying the known facts to the reader. Many different ideas may have to be presented but a dominate opinion still has to be formed then backed up by statistics and confirming data. Assertions have to be stated and conclusions have to be made. This can be tough when the author is faced with two or more totally different accounts of the same incident and he has to decide which accounts to include and which to exclude in his telling. Nonfiction writing is not always cut and dry despite it being assumed that the author will not intentionally put things to paper that he knows are deceptive or misleading. Publishers expect their authors to write convincingly. Readers need to be swayed to acknowledge then accept the author’s opinion as being sincere and not fraught with malice whether they agree with it or not.
Diet books and new healthy lifestyle theories, legal stands and political arguments all are prime examples of nonfiction. Yet with each of these, the author will undoubtedly be very selective as to which facts, figures and data he chooses to include in his account based on how he is trying to sway his readers. These works also will still be deemed nonfiction works despite the obvious one sided favoritism being displayed by the writer. Certainly not every nonfiction classified author or nonfiction classified book, story or article can be all true. Even the most scrupulous authors tend to be partially bias in their accounts. Though the best try their very best to stay as neutral as possible and show all sides of their subject matter, every valid opinion can’t possibly be allotted equal time and attention. Therefore a more accurate definition of literary nonfiction would have to be, a means of classifying writing based on the belief that the author’s sincere intention was to utilize and disclose only facts that were true to the best of his knowledge, when retelling a tale, forming or expressing an opinion, relaying information, documenting events, coming to a conclusion or trying to persuade readers. The exclusion of embellishment, fantasy, imaginative inventiveness and purposeful deception from all nonfiction text is also presumed. Plus, the work should be factually based, written to inform the reader and not knowingly intended to fool.
Let’s look closer at two common Nonfiction Creative Writing Careers
1. Writers of educational materials and Learning materials are always in demand due to the ever ongoing development of new and improved teaching methods and constant updating and revision of school subject, textual materials. But it’s not easy. In our modern world, proven, talented, focused writers are ever challenged to create new text-based teaching materials that captivate student interest. You must possess the fundamental knowledge of at least basic math, language and science skills to be able to write with the intent to teach even up to the k-6 grade level. More knowledge is necessary as you attempt writing for higher grade levels. Remember you must be able to write not only for the students but also for the teachers since a teacher edition is usually supplied too. You will also be working closely with product developers, editors, artists and marketers so a social personality, excellent communication skills and a collaborative approach are a must to succeed.
Parents teachers and administrators expect children authors especially school instruction text writers to have excellent written and verbal communication skills since your writing will be setting an example for our impressionable youth. Teaching experience and a teaching degree would be a plus but is not required. Expect your writing to be viewed under a microscope. You will be responsible for aligning your text to all state, national and education institutional standards and requirements.
2. SPORTS NEWS REPORTER You have to be community-minded, have strong communication skills, be a self-motivator and have the ability to multi-task, as well as being an excellent writer and interviewer, if you want to gain the competitive, coveted chance to cover news and sports even at a small local newspaper. Now-a-days you will be expected to write for the Newspaper’s website and probably for their blog too. As a Sports News Reporter, you will be expected to provide accurate and skillful non-biased journalism regardless of which teams you are a fan of. Through daily reporting, on location game assignments, interviews, statistical analysis as well as your own personal views and thoughts you will be responsible for covering a wide array of sports minded stories with a connection to your local or beat.
Successful candidates will need a demonstrated ability to work independently, the gift for developing sources and a nose for break news. Besides quality writing skills, you should also have some photogenic skills as well as a working knowledge of a variety of, at least basic, digital, audio video devices and iPhones. Experience with database searches, texting and tweeting will help you keep abreast of all that is happening on your beat. Even if you are only writing text you still should be comfortable with appearing on air and in the spotlight as well as with asking interview questions in crowded public settings and around other media representatives, since this is the atmosphere where you will find most of your stories.
All reporters today must be comfortable with all aspects of social media. In addition, you should be able to connect with readers through your own distinct story-telling skills and writing style. The best sports writers can evoke a visual image for their readers allowing them to experience a feeling of being at the game as they read their renditions.
Your nights and weekends must be free to work since that is when many sports events are held. Effective time-management skills are essential to being capable to meet your publishing deadlines.
Qualifications generally include a College degree but not always, as long as you can show you have experience and the skills to handle the job. Prior work experience as a reporter is almost always a must although you may convince a small independent paper to take a chance if you have in depth sports knowledge or an insider’s access to unique stories.
By just viewing the requirements of these two nonfiction writing jobs one can see the differences of writing in the nonfiction arena compared to creating fiction stories, plays, poetry and lyrics. Fiction writers rely mainly on their imaginative minds to conjure up their stories and they do their writing in quiet setting spending lots and lots of time alone with their keyboards. While the non-fictionist relies on research, interview techniques and hustling to be in the right spot at the right time. There is a lot of money to be made in nonfiction as well as fiction but generally successful writers pick one or the other field to specialize in. Although there are a few writers who have been able to successfully dabble in both for example William F Buckley Jr. the political commentary and syndicated news columnist who also wrote numerous spy novels.