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.
Manuscripts (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.
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.
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