If you are writing a non-fiction book, surely you should be allowed a certain amount of poetic license, after all, the term creative non-fiction is used to describe this style of writing. Or can you really get away with including inaccuracies in a person's life, especially when that person includes the likes of Hemmingway, Orwell, Fitzgerald and Lee? |
However, the term non-fiction is misleading here; the term creative non-fiction does not include fanciful stories, but factual books that use literary techniques in the writing. The "non-fiction" part of the term refers to the book's factual framework. While the "literary" part refers to features of style and structure, image and tone that it shares with other literary genres. The poorly thought out label 'creative non-fiction' does not allow writers to invent details or events in the way that fiction writers may do. Rather, it gives them the opportunity to enrich their presentation of the facts.
It is essential for the integrity of any non-fiction book that thorough research is done.
Writers are always told, write about what you know, its what makes a good book. On this advice, research and the knowledge that comes with it is very important when writing about a literary great. And, you never know, you may stumble upon a juicy piece of information that could make your book!
If you write about a literary great, that you already have advance knowledge about, then it is important that you become a subject matter expert (SME) on the topic. This may mean that you will have to do more thorough research, but the curiosity of research can have a reward of its own.
Choosing your subject is very important, but you should also choose an area of focus. You cannot possibly cover a person's life from every angle, so decide what you will include in your book.
It is a good idea to outline your book before you start, this will offer you structure and focus. While helping you to determine what gaps you have in your knowledge and the extra research you will need to do for the book.
The benefits of writing in the style of creative non-fiction can outweigh those of writing practical non-fiction. While the latter is designed to purely communicate information and the quality of the writing is not considered as important as the facts in the book, creative non-fiction incorporates the skilled use of words and tone in the writing. Facts have been included, but the insight about the information is presented in an original way that can hook the reader's interest into that subject.
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