Writers’ Guide 101 – Fiction vs Nonfiction


In our first lesson Creative Writing, we said that choosing a format is one of the ways of becoming a great Creative writer. In creative writing there are two formats — Fiction and Nonfiction.

Today we will be discussing both formats and their elements. But I’d like to reiterate here that our Writers’ Guide lessons are actually meant to focus on Fiction Writing, as I consider that the most popular format of writing among us aspiring writers/authors.



Dictionary.com defines Nonfiction as the branch of literature comprising works of narrative prose dealing with or offering opinions or conjectures upon facts and reality, including biography, history and essay (opposed to fiction and distinguised from poetry and drama).

A simpler definition would be — Nonfiction is a literary work that is based on fact and reality.

Samples of Nonfiction literature are — newspaper stories, editorials, personal accounts, journal articles, textbooks, legal documents and so on.

It is also said that newspaper articles are all nonfiction, even when fabricated. The question lies not in whether the literary work is true but that it claims to be true, it describes reality. Whether a speculation or a supposition, as long as there is claim that what is written is based on true facts, it is nonfiction.


There are several elements of nonfiction and they are listed below:

* Nonfiction only deals with real people, events or ideas.

* Nonfiction is narrated from the point of view, or perspective, of the author, who is a real person.

* Nonfiction presents facts or discusses concepts.

* It may reflect the historical context of the time period, including references to major social and cultural information.



Same Dictionary.com defines Fiction as the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.

Samples of Fiction writing include — novels, novellas, short stories, poetry and drama.


Elements of Fiction writing includes the following —

* Plot.

* Setting.

* Character.

* Conflict.

* Point of View and

* Theme.

Now each one of these elements will be broadly treated as we go on in our Writers’ Guide lessons.

With this lesson on Fiction vs Nonfiction, I am sure most of us are clear what format of writing we are doing or we intend doing. Next Monday, we will begin the rather extensive lesson on Genre. It is a subject that interests me and I hope as I study and learn over the week, I will be able to do justice to it.

Remember to leave comments as this helps to give me courage, *wink*.


**Many thanks to dictionary.com; crticalreading.com; cstl-cla and ccisd.com (Ebook)**


6 thoughts on “Writers’ Guide 101 – Fiction vs Nonfiction

  1. Thanks teacher 4 today’s teaching buh some fictions are based on facts and reality. I’ve come about tha word “faction” can it also be classified as a form of literature?

    • As long as any work of literature is based on the imagination of the writer, it is considered fiction. There might be evidences of reality or even fact, but if the characters, plot, dialogue are fictional, then in spite of the theme being a reality, it is still a work of fiction.

      I don’t get what you mean by faction? Could you explain more, please?

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