More and more, non-fiction writers are employing fiction tecchniques in their articles and books. This practice is called creative non-fiction and involves the use of devices employed in fiction to bring to life non-fiction. Some of these devices include the following:
1) Using characterization to make a point. Many of my non-fiction articles begin with a scene that could very well fit into a novel but that really happened. Of course, I will change the names of the characters to protect the real people. You may read an example of this technique in my article entitled Feminist Fallacies below:
2) Using dialogue to bring immediacy to your piece. There are few devices like dialogue to make your writing come alive. Dialogue puts you immediately into a scene or a situation. It is also intertwined with characterization.
3) Using anecdotes, which are mini-stories. Anecdotes are a great way to add life to your non-fiction writing. Everyone loves a story, even a little story. Have you ever noticed how a boring sermon will immediately wake you up when the pastor says, “Let me tell you a story”?
So the next time you write non-fiction, use these techniques. You will find that your non-fiction will acquire new life and, very likely, sell more readily.
For additional information, you may wish to read Writing Creative Non-Fiction by Theodore Cheney.