Using Fiction Techniques in Non-Fiction

Non-fiction writing is increasingly borrowing techniques from fiction writing with very positive results. Take, for example, the use of scene and dialogue in non-fiction writing. 

Recently, I wrote two articles for a Christian publication. Both opened with scenes to set up my premise. Both used dialogue to make the scene come alive in the mind of the reader. Both were accepted by the editor. 

Time was that a huge gap existed between fiction and non-fiction. The former was considered “not true” while the latter was considered “true”. Yet truth can exist in both. For instance, whenever I create a scene in a non-fiction piece, that scene actually happened in my experience. Whenever I create a scene in my fiction, however, that scene, although based on a true experience, is pure fiction. 

If you’re looking to spice up your non-fiction writing–and to make some sales–try using dialogue and scene. I think you’ll find it makes a big, big difference.

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3 thoughts on “Using Fiction Techniques in Non-Fiction

  1. Hi Mary Ann –

    I learned this lesson at a writers’ conference. Using fiction techniques such as show and not tell has resulted in more of my work being published.

    Many ministers give illustrations, paint word pictures, and tell stories to communicate important truths. It keeps the congregation alert and attentive.

    Non-fiction writers will find a more receptive audience as they employ these techniques.

    Blessings,
    Susan 🙂

    January 28, 2009 at 10:13 AM