Monday, February 25, 2013

Enrich Your Writing



A non-fiction versus fiction mentality puzzles me. Some folks won't pick up a novel, while others view non-fiction as boring.

Non-fiction is my first love, which is probably one of the reasons I adapted so well to the blogosphere. Yet, my efforts to get published didn't take off until I started using fiction techniques in my devotionals and other writings.

Recently, I picked up a book on the Firstborn Personality by Dr. Kevin Leman. You might recognize him as the guy who made birth order a household expression. It didn't take me long to figure out how this might be applied to fiction.

Think about it. Every novel has characters. Each one relates to family members, friends, and other people. If we're writing about a CEO of a major corporation, he/she is most likely a firstborn or only child. Did you know that most of our astronauts were firstborn or only children? I didn't. Fascinating.

Writers:  How do you apply fiction skills to non-fiction writing and vice versa?

Readers: If novelists put these principles into action, would you be more interested in fiction? Why?

Photo credit:  mazwebs

12 comments:

Rhonda Schrock said...

Funny thing. I devour fiction, but write nonfiction. Is this unusual? I wish I could write a novel, but so far, it's just not in me.

Cheering for you who do!

Waving and smiling,

Rhonda

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

I must be honest, I do prefer biographies and real life stories over fiction. For me to pick up a fiction book it has to be, well... very special. I read The Shack and Life of Pi over the last few years, that's it. Sorry ;)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rhonda -

I didn't think it was in me either, but the Lord had other plans.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marja -

You'd probably enjoy Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It's one of the best novels I've ever read.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Karen Lange said...

I agree with you, Susan. Fiction and non fiction principles apply both ways. I think writers are wise to keep this in mind, and venture into one or the other (if they don't write both) sometimes to stretch and learn. I think this is one reason I think writing prompts can be a great tool.

Happy writing,
Kare :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. I used to read only novels and found nonfiction hard to get my head around ... I guess relating it to studies (perhaps!) ...

Now I struggle to read fiction and read historical things of various sorts - reference, stories ... and I'm always checking things out ...

But I will be reading some bloggers' works and so my mind will be expanded somewhat into different genres ...

My own work when I get there ... I can see will be short articles with lots of eclectic historical strands ... such is life!!

Cheers Hilary

Nancy said...

I actually did a story for children called Middle Child Madness. So I would enjoy any book which includes birth order as a theme. I loved the birth order book. Fascinating stuff. I thought Kevin's name sounded familiar.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen - One of the reasons I went from posting 3 times per week to 2 involved my desire to read some non-fiction works. I want to maintain a good balance in my reading life.

Hi Hilary - I've always read a mix of fiction and non-fiction. Right now, I'm getting more non-fiction into my reading diet. :)

Hi Nancy - Yes, I enjoyed his books too. They're helpful with character development (not just the fictional variety).

Blessings,
Susan :)

Linda O'Connell said...

I attended an early childhood workshop where there were thousands of teachers. The presenter told us to look at the person next to us and decide which of us would satnd on the chair and which would sit. Then she asked all of those standing who were first borns to raise their hands, and 98% were firstborns. There is something to that birth order theory. I stood :)

Diane Estrella said...

Non fiction is not my favorite but I do need the "learning" that I get out of it often. :O)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Linda - I find the whole subject fascinating and learned a lot from his book.

Hi Diane - My problem is having the time to read everything that captures my attention.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Janette Dolores said...

Hi, Susan:

Interesting how your non-fiction didn't take off until you started applying fiction principles to it. I'll have to look into that, since I gravitate toward non-fiction and had not considered that perspective.

As always, thank you for your wisdom!

Be well...