Are there any real differences between fiction and nonfiction?

Today we have a guest spot from Eli Celata about fiction and nonfiction. Eli  is currently attending Binghamton University as a  doctoral student.


To some, it may seem as if there  is a cavernous abyss between nonfiction and fiction. The truth is simpler. Both require dedication. Long hours are spent seeking the perfect word or citation for  a fact. As a PhD student, I’ve pulled all nighters for peer-reviewed articles  just as much as fiction contracts. Time and effort aside, there are two main  areas where they differ beyond the obvious: phrasing and publishing.

Phrasing is a delicate business.

For fiction, I’d refer you to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Each character’s sections have varying tempos and lengths to  their sentences. Word choice is generally less academic in fiction though some  literary fiction pushes the bounds at times. Nonfiction attempts continuous  flow. Pacing doesn’t change between scenes but is meant to guide the reader  from one conclusion to the next without leaving them harried. This is  especially important in nonfiction as books aren’t as likely to dramatically shift your career as the articles surrounding.

Shakespeare guyManuscripts (fiction and  nonfiction) go through much the same process. Nonfiction is more likely to be  presented pre-completion; however, just like fiction, a platform is necessary  for any agent or publisher to take such a proposal seriously. The real  difference comes in literary magazines versus academic journals. Peer-review is  stressed in academia. This means, instead of a professional editor, the  nonfiction article goes to professionals in the field. Your writing isn’t all  that’s under scrutiny. Everything moves outwards: How will your article alter  the field? Does it contribute to an existing problem? Does it create a new  problem? What are its broader impacts? All these questions and more precede  everything else. If any of the answers are troubling, an otherwise perfect  article will be rejected.

It can be summed to this: In  fiction, if you change the craft, you’re brilliant. In nonfiction, it’s simply another day at the office.

  Eli Celata


HighSummonsAbout High Summons:

Jon  Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he’s  ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the
world of demon hunters. He just didn’t really expect a bleach blond bookstore
clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon’s only hope.


When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd  couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but  between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag  Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he’s  becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s  hooked.

 

To Purchase High  Summons:

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For more on the  author:

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One response to “Are there any real differences between fiction and nonfiction?

  1. Transitions and vocabulary. Necessary in both, but nonfiction language seems to be very precise, neutral, and non-emotional. No galloping around with language for fun and sound there.