Most writers dream of writing and publishing a novel. In our collective mind that’s exactly what writer does.
But should you dismiss non-fiction writing: journalism and online articles?
In this post I’ll try to make it easier for you to choose between those two, or maybe mixing them.
This is something everybody associates with creative writing (as the name clearly shows). But come to think of it, one needs a fair amount of creativity in non-fiction writing as well.
When writing fiction, you need to be creative about the solutions you want to implement in your plot, about your characters, plot twists and dialogue. You need to keep it fresh, so the potential readers want to read your novel only after reading the summary.
With non-fiction, keeping it fresh is even more important. Every time you write, you need to write about something new. And you need to put your own twist on subjects already covered by others. Here, creativity turns into a more technical skill. It’s all about writing good headlines and using good keywords.
Your fiction piece can start at 100 words and go on indefinitely.
A good article (especially one published online) is usually between 300 and 800 words. Anything less will get dismissed as not being noteworthy and anything more tend to be skimmed through and forgotten.
Therefore people who prefer to write short stories and get quickly to the point tend to write better non-fiction pieces (word count wise; but I’m generalizing here, so no offense to anyone).
Nowadays it’s far more difficult to get your novel published than it was few years ago. So many people are writers that publishing houses can afford to have high standards. Nonetheless, you can still find publishers around, if you know where to look and are patient enough.
Finding a publishing place for your non-fiction is far easier. Especially if you’re thinking about publishing online. Anybody can have a website or a blog, and use those venues to publish their articles or essays.
It’s finding a paid gig that’s more of a challenge. You need to find those sites that work for you. Sites like Helium, Associated Content, Review Stream or Suite 101 seem to have both their fans and supporters and people who claim it is impossible to earn there. In my opinion it’s a matter of good and proper research that can result in finding a place that works best for you.
Fan base and getting readers
In the simplest words: fiction writers get bigger fan base but non-fiction writers get readers easier.
What I’m trying to say is that in the world of fiction you follow the authors while in the world of non-fiction, you follow the subject and the information.
If you write a good article on a subject of your interest, it’s very likely to get new viewers every day. But while that one article may prosper, your other articles can be overlooked and ignore.
And if one of your novels becomes popular, almost always your other works gain popularity as well.
Readers of fiction are more prone to become regular readers of their favorite author. Non-fiction readers only care for the information and not for the person that provides it.
I won’t tell you that one type of writing is better than the other. Both of them will affect your writing skills and hopefully improve them. I know that there’s nothing in the world that can compare to the thrill of getting your novel published. But I also know that getting feedback on my articles and see them impact my readers is also very satisfying.
What’s your take on the subject? Fiction or non-fiction?
And should AllWrittenDown cover non-fiction writing as well?