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  2. Writing Nonfiction
  3. Introduction

So, you want to write nonfiction. Not a bad decision since four out of five of the several hundred thousand new books published annually are nonfiction. And on top of that, there are numerous markets for nonfiction besides books where you can send your work. Consequently, choosing to write nonfiction is a wise move if seeing your name and work in print is your goal.

If it is a nonfiction book you want to write, you may feel the challenge is a bit overwhelming. That's because people tend to fear the unknown. To overcome this, in the pages that follow, you'll explore all the different types of nonfiction books and learn everything you need to know so you have the confidence and ability to write a nonfiction book whether it's general, scholarly, or in a specific genre.

On the other hand, you may not be interested in a book length project. Possibly, you want to try your hand at articles or journalism — perhaps a travel piece or covering a rock concert. You may feel strongly about an issue and want to persuade others to share your views, so you would like to write an opinion piece or op-ed. Along the same line, there may be a book or film or restaurant you want to tell people about by writing a review.

It could be that there is a subject of interest you desire to investigate and share with others and you want the writing to be eloquent, so it's a literary essay you have in mind. Or maybe, you'd rather write a personal essay concerning an experience you had that speaks to the reader or has a universal message. Sometimes, these personal essays are called “memoirs,” which bring us to the subject of writing a book-length memoir possibly based on memories, notes, and jottings in that frayed journal you've kept over the years.

But whatever type of nonfiction you are thinking of writing, The Everything® Guide to Writing Nonfiction will inform you of all the categories of nonfiction and also enable you to bring your writing to the level where it's good enough to be published. We'll cover all the elements of nonfiction writing and the importance of getting the facts right and how to write in a voice of authority. You'll learn the importance of research, taking notes, conducting interviews, reconstructing memories, and knowing when you can take “literary license.”

If you are concerned about hurting the feelings of people you want to write about, you will discover how to “disguise” your characters and events and not invade their right to privacy. You'll also be shown when an individual's right to privacy does not apply. And, of course, no one wants to be sued for libel, so you will be taught how to avoid a libel judgment. Sometimes, however, it's not a question of what is legal but rather a matter of doing the right thing, so a chapter is devoted to the ethics of writing nonfiction.

Special attention will be paid to every category of nonfiction and how to write in that particular genre with samples, excerpts, interviews, and writing exercises provided. If you also want to satisfy your craving to be creative and write in a style where the words flow like a well-written novel, creative nonfiction might be the genre for you, and that is covered in detail as well.

Finally, you'll learn of all the markets for nonfiction — whether articles, essays, reviews, opinion pieces, or books — so that you'll know exactly what to do when you are ready to share your work with the public. If it is a book-length project, you'll be shown how to write a book proposal, which is what editors, publishers, and agents want to review to determine whether your project is for them. And speaking of agents, we'll see how to go about finding the right one or if you should go it alone or even self-publish your book.

If you have given thought to one or more of these projects, then you have entered the exciting world of writing nonfiction. And though it requires work, dedication, and perseverance — it also can be very fulfilling and even a lot of fun. So, whether you have only entertained the notion, or have begun to write your first project, or even have some experience in writing nonfiction, The Everything® Guide to Writing Nonfiction will supply everything you need to get you started, train you in the craft of writing nonfiction, and give you a step up in getting published.

  1. Home
  2. Writing Nonfiction
  3. Introduction
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