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You are watching: Similarities between fiction and non fiction


For writersand also readers aprefer, it’s occasionally difficult to tell the difference between fiction and also nonfiction. In general, fiction describes plot, settings, and also characters created from the creative thinking, while nonfiction describes factual stories concentrated on actual events and human being. However before, the distinction in between these 2 genres is periodically blurred, as the 2 regularly intersect.

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Before we go any type of additionally, it’s vital to note that both fiction and also nonfiction have the right to be used in any kind of medium (film, tv, plays, and so on.). Here, we’re focusing on the distinction between fiction and nonfiction in literature in specific. Let’s look closer at each of these 2 categories and also study what sets them acomponent.


What Is Fiction?

When it comes to the distinctions between fiction and also nonfiction, Joseph Salvatore, Associate Professor of Writing & Literature at The New School in New York City, says,

“I teach a course on the craft, theory, and practice of fiction writing, and in it, we discuss this topic all the moment. Although all of the concepts and theories…are questioned and challenged by writers and also movie critics alike (not just regarding what fiction is however regarding what it is in relation to other genres, e.g., creative nonfiction), I’d say tbelow are some fundamental components of fiction.”

Fictionis fabricated and also based on the author’s creativity. Quick stories, novels, myths, legends, and also fairy tales are all thought about fiction. While settings, plot points, and personalities in fiction are periodically basedon real-life occasions or people, authors usage such things as jumping off points for their stories.


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For instance, Stephen King sets many of his stories and novels in the fictional tvery own of Derry, Maine. While Derry is not a real place, it is based on King’s actual hometvery own of Bangor. King has actually also created a whole topography for Derry that resembles the actual topography of Bangor.

Additionally, scientific research fiction and fantasy books inserted in imaginary civilizations regularly take incentive from the actual people. A example of this is N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earthtrilogy, in which sheprovides actual science and also geological research to make her civilization believable.


Fiction often uses specific narrative techniques to heighten its affect. Salvatore says that some examples of these components are:

“The use of wealthy, evocative sensory detail; the various pacing tempos of dramatic and also non-dramatic events; the juxtaplace of summarized narrative and also dramatized scenes; the temporary delay and also withholding of story indevelopment, to heighten suspense and also complicate plot; the use of different points of view to narprice, consisting of stark objective effacement and deep subjective interiority; and also the stylized use of language to narrate occasions and also render huguy consciousness.”

What Is Nonfiction?

Nonfiction, by comparison, is factual and reports on true events. Histories, biographies, journalism, and esclaims are all thought about nonfiction. Typically, nonfiction has a higher standard touphold than fiction. A few smatterings of fact in a occupational of fiction does not make it true, while a couple of fabrications in a nonfiction work can force that story to shed all credibility.

An instance is as soon as James Frey, writer ofA Million Little Pieces,was kicked out of Oprah’s Publication Club in 2006 when it pertained to light that he had actually fabricated the majority of of his memoir.

However, nonfictionoften uses many kind of of the approaches of fiction to make it even more appealing.In Cold Bloodis widely regarded as one of the best functions of nonfiction to considerably blur the line in between fiction and nonfiction, since Capote’s descriptions and also detailing of occasions are so rich and also evocative. However before, this has actually caused questions about the veracity of his account.

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“The so-referred to as New Journalists, of Thompson’s and Wolfe’s and also Didion’s day, used the same approaches ,” Salvatore says. “And absolutely the renewal of the so-referred to as true-crime documentaries, both on TV and also radio, usage similar methods.”

This has actually offered rise to a brand-new trfinish called artistic nonfiction, which offers the techniques of fiction to report on true events. In his post “What Is Creative Nonfiction?” Lee Gutsort, the creator ofCreative Nonfictionmagazine, claims the term:

“Refers to the usage of literary craft, the techniques fiction writers, playwlegal rights, and poets employ to existing nonfiction—factually accurate prose about genuine human being and events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read like fiction so that your readers are as enthralled by truth as they are by fantasy.”

Although it’s occasionally difficult to tell the distinction between fiction and nonfiction, especially in the hands of a professional author, just remember this: If it reports the reality, it’s nonfiction. If it stretches the truth, it’s fiction.