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You are watching: Similarities between fiction and non fiction


For writersand reader alike, it’s sometimes hard to phone call the difference in between fiction and also nonfiction. In general, fiction describes plot, settings, and also characters produced from the imagination, while nonfiction refers to factual stories focused on really events and people. However, the difference between these 2 genres is sometimes blurred, as the two regularly intersect.

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Before us go any further, it’s crucial to keep in mind that both fiction and nonfiction can be used in any medium (film, television, plays, etc.). Here, we’re focusing on the difference between fiction and also nonfiction in literary works in particular. Let’s look closer at every of these 2 categories and examine what sets lock apart.


What Is Fiction?

When it comes to the differences between fiction and also nonfiction, Joseph Salvatore, combine Professor of writing & literary works at The brand-new School in brand-new York City, says,

“I teach a course on the craft, theory, and practice the fiction writing, and in it, we discuss this topic all the time. Although all of the ideas and also theories…are disputed and also challenged by writers and critics alike (not only as to what fiction is but as to what it is in relation to various other genres, e.g., an innovative nonfiction), I’d to speak there room some an easy components of fiction.”

Fictionis fabricated and also based top top the author’s imagination. Brief stories, novels, myths, legends, and also fairy tales space all taken into consideration fiction. While settings, plot points, and also characters in fiction are sometimes basedon real-life occasions or people, writers usage such points as jumping turn off points for your stories.


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For instance, Stephen King sets plenty of of his stories and novels in the fictional city of Derry, Maine. If Derry is no a actual place, the is based on King’s really hometown of Bangor. King has even created an entire topography for Derry that resembles the really topography of Bangor.

Additionally, science fiction and also fantasy publications placed in imaginary human beings often take incentive from the actual world. A instance of this is N.K. Jemisin’s The damaged Earthtrilogy, in i m sorry sheuses actual science and geological research to do her human being believable.


Fiction often uses details narrative approaches to heighten that is impact. Salvatore claims that some examples of these contents are:

“The usage of rich, evocative sensory detail; the different pacing tempos of dramatic and also non-dramatic events; the juxtaposition of summary narrative and also dramatized scenes; the temporary delay and withholding of story information, come heighten suspense and complicate plot; the usage of various points of check out to narrate, consisting of stark objective effacement and also deep spatu interiority; and also the stylized use of language come narrate events and also render human being consciousness.”

What Is Nonfiction?

Nonfiction, by contrast, is factual and reports ~ above true events. Histories, biographies, journalism, and essays space all considered nonfiction. Usually, nonfiction has actually a higher standard touphold than fiction. A couple of smatterings of fact in a occupational of fiction does no make it true, while a few fabrications in a nonfiction occupational can force that story to lose all credibility.

An instance is once James Frey, writer ofA Million small Pieces,was kicked the end of Oprah’s publication Club in 2006 once it pertained to light that he had fabricated many of his memoir.

However, nonfictionoften uses plenty of of the methods of fiction to do it much more appealing.In Cold Bloodis widely concerned as among the ideal works that nonfiction to substantially blur the line in between fiction and nonfiction, since Capote’s descriptions and also detailing of events are therefore rich and also evocative. However, this has led to questions about the veracity of his account.

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“The so-called brand-new Journalists, that Thompson’s and also Wolfe’s and also Didion’s day, offered the same methods ,” Salvatore says. “And absolutely the resurgence of the so-called true-crime documentaries, both ~ above TV and also radio, use comparable techniques.”

This has given rise come a brand-new trend called an innovative nonfiction, which supplies the methods of fiction come report on true events. In his write-up “What Is creative Nonfiction?” Lee Gutkind, the creator ofCreative Nonfictionmagazine, states the term:

“Refers to the usage of literary craft, the methods fiction writers, playwrights, and also poets rental to present nonfiction—factually accurate prose around real people and also events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read choose fiction so that your readers space as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy.”

Although it’s sometimes tough to phone call the difference between fiction and also nonfiction, especially in the hand of a experienced author, simply remember this: If that reports the truth, it’s nonfiction. If it stretches the truth, it’s fiction.