What is Creative Non Fiction?

Stephen King. The world's Greatest liar.
Stephen King. The world's Greatest liar.
Charles Dickens. A liar of some repute... and his lies are so believable.
Charles Dickens. A liar of some repute... and his lies are so believable.
Jd Salinger. Certainly, The Catcher in the Rye is a work of fiction.. but was their some truth to Holden Caufield?
Jd Salinger. Certainly, The Catcher in the Rye is a work of fiction.. but was their some truth to Holden Caufield?

Fiction is fairly easy to recognize. It's a made up story with made up people, places and events. Certainly, it can be based on real people, real events, real places (and quite often is, especially with literary and historical fiction), but the story itself is a lie. It makes no pretense of being anything other then a creative and entertaining lie.

Fiction may not be misleading but, it does project a reality that is not real, which makes it a lie. It's a glorious, terrific, entertaining lie but the world of fiction is a world of lies. We accept these lies going in and we know they're lies.

Don't get all upset here and stop reading and leave a comment about it. I love fiction. I love escaping into the world of fiction because I know it's a lie. It's not a world I encounter in every day life. It's a world I embrace and love. I know my fiction author's are not intending to mislead me, so there lies are not malicious, and maybe some take offense with that word, but I think it's the best word to use top differentiate fiction from non-fiction.

Witches in Narnia, dragons, trolls, the X-Men. these are obvious fictions. Obvious lies.

Stephen King's lies are blatant. Most of us have not encountered space ships buried in the forest that possessed the population, of killer clowns that live in sewers and feed on children, and most of us never will. Charles Dickens based his lies on realistic situations, often times as a commentary on social or political issues of his day (as in Oliver Twist) . Did Oliver Twist exist? Probably not... but he could have. Holden Caufield? I knew him in high school. Ulysses? Not likely.

Stephen King, JD Salinger, Charles Dickens and others like them are story tellers and fibbers. Their characters are entertaining figments of imagination. We know and accept their lies. We are entertained by them, and we are prepared to escape when we see the word "novel" or "fiction" on the spine of a book in the library or local bookstore.

So, where does that leave Truman Capote? Where does that leave poets? When does fiction become non fiction, and vice versa? Where is the line drawn, and is the line ever clear, or is it always a blur?

What is NOT creative non fiction

Generally cookbooks, news articles, editorials, textbooks, academic papers and things of that nature would not be considered creative non fiction. Certainly good work in these categories would have a creative aspect to it and would fall under the auspices of the all encompassing non fiction category, but not as creative non-fiction.

Creative non fiction is the subject of this article.

So, what is it?

Creative Non fiction follows the same rules and has the same elements of traditional fiction. It has characters, story arc, setting, (hopefully) dialogue, and some kind of narrative voice and point of view (though, it doesn't have to be in first person, contrary to popular practice and belief).

The primary difference is that creative non fiction is based on truth, unlike fiction, which is based on, well, fiction.

But, as a writer of creative non fiction, you have creative license. The important thing to remember in non fiction is that it's generally based on memory and/or historical record, both of which can be (and often are) flawed. It would be impossible, without some kind of recording device, to remember an event word for word, sequence by sequence, moment by moment. The important thing to do is capture the event as accurately as possible (remembering that you do have creative license for some exaggeration and omission) to get at the main point of a story. The documented facts are less important then the truth behind the events.The essence of the event is what the non fiction writer is after.

Take my essay Femur. The events in that story took place when I was five years old. There is no way at that young age and that many years ago for me to remember what exactly what happened. Instead, I pieced together the story based on my own remembrances, from photographs and from conversations with my parents. Did the events in that story happen exactly as I recorded them? Probably not, but it's still basically truthful and the main point, the significance, the essence, of that event still comes across.

How do you write it?

Simple. The same way you write fiction.

Use dialogue, scene, plot, character, story arc, conflict/resolution and all the elements that you would use in fiction. You're just going to be working less from your imagination and more from your memory.

Author Paisley Rekdal is the master a master of creative non fiction.
Author Paisley Rekdal is the master a master of creative non fiction.
Truman Capote, who penned the "non fiction novel" IN COLD BLOOD was the master of blending fiction while still arriving at the truth in his non fiction.
Truman Capote, who penned the "non fiction novel" IN COLD BLOOD was the master of blending fiction while still arriving at the truth in his non fiction.

Let's look at Dialogue

Think about a conversation you had earlier today, last night, last week, last month, last year, ten years ago...Do you remember it, word for word? Do you remember every inflection, every grammatical error, every action that occurred simultaneously with the conversation. For most of us, the answer should and will be no.

But what do you remember?

Do you remember what it was about? Do you remember the significance? The essence? Could you paraphrase it to someone, to the best of your recollection and still get across the gist of the conversation? This is how you treat your creative non fiction dialogue.

Most of us can't remember a conversation verbatim, though we could tape it to record it word for word (but, who wants to read a conversation word for word?). When we write or share about it, we just put in the key details, thoughts and emotions, and don't generally concern ourselves with document-able accuracy. Your creative non fiction could get bogged down, or grind to a halt entirely, if you concern yourself with remembering a conversation verbatim.

Don't.

Try to remember a key phrase or two, and ad lib the rest. Just get the reader to the point of the conversation. It's better that way. Real conversations would be boring to read about anyway. We have real conversations every day in real life, we don't need to read about yours. You can do this, and still be a purveyor of truth and your work can still be considered non fiction.

avoid cliche
avoid cliche

The Devil is in the Details.

Details are what make fiction shine and details are what make your non fiction believable. Make your details strong, specific and concrete. If you don't remember exactly, make up a convincing lie, or leave it out.

Does it matter if the dog that bit you was a blue heeler or a German Shepherd? Nope. Does it matter if you were eating an orange or a plum when your mother told you your father died? Not at all. Does it matter if your elementary school bully was named Johnny Lawerence or Scott Farkus? Not entirely.

Again, it's what happened and what you learned that is important. You got bit by a dog. Your dad died. You were bullied. This is what I as a reader care about (or should, if you're doing your job right). Pick out those important details and sell me on them.

The details should be concrete. Avoid the abstract. Don't say you were "mad" or "in love". Show the reader how you felt. Show the reader what's important. Show reader how the details you chose to include impact you and the story you're telling.

A great example of specific, concrete details is in Paisley Rekdal's essay The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee . Here's an excerpt from the opening paragraph (note also as you're reading the point of view and narrative voice. It's first person present tense and the narrator takes us through the scene like a camera filming a movie.):

"Age sixteen, my mother loads up red tubs of noodles, teacups chipped and white-gray as teeth, rice tubs that glue themselves to the plastic tub sides or dissolve and turn papery in the weak tea sloshing around the bottom."

Can you see her mother? Can you see the tray, the rice, the restaurant? Rekdal's descriptions bring us in and bring us close.We are the tray in her mother's hands. We are her mother's eye balls. We are the chipped tea cup. This makes for believeable and engaging creative non fiction.

Remember to use concrete images and strong details.


Take it from Stewey. Making your reader care about your character is important.
Take it from Stewey. Making your reader care about your character is important.

He's quite the character

While you're probably dealing with real characters, real people (or at least composites of real people) this doesn't mean you can skimp on character development and character depth (I use character here for lack of a better word. Even though character development still exists in non fiction, you're not making up your character.). You still need to interest your reader in the character's in the story. What do they look like? how do they sound? What's special about them? The things a good fiction writer tells us are the things a good non fiction writer will do as well. Make your character real, rounded and dynamic (unless it's necessary for them to be static, but this is rare.)

Also, your reader is never going to care as much about the story as the character in the story. If your character is blase and ho hum about the adventure he's on then the reader will be even more so. Make your characters-- and their mission-- compelling.

Make the reader care by making your character's care. Your reader should feel the danger, the humiliation, the humor. If they don't, you failed as a writer, at least in that area, and it's time to go back to the drawing board.

So, why do I care?

I could certainly talk on and on about the different elements of non fiction, but I don't like reading long hubs anymore then you do, so, I thank you for reading this far. There is just one more idea I would like to share with you and that is the idea of why you're writing your essay. What is the reason that you felt this story you're telling needed to be written? Was it funny? Was it sad? Life changing? Poignant?

Your reader does not care bout your specific reason. it's not their job to care, it's your job to make them care. If you're don't clue the reader in and show them why this is important, then they're probably not going to care to keep reading. Most importantly, as in fiction,

When I revise my work, especially my non fiction, it's generally because when I read it, or workshopped it, I (and/or my readers) didn't feel anything. I, as an author, was too distant, narrartively speaking.

If you're writing about when your parents got divorced, I want to feel that anguish, confusion, sadness,anger. If you're writing about the birth of your child, I want to feel your elation, your love, your fear. I want to feel and if I don't feel, I'm going to stop reading and find something I can connect with. Make sure your reader connects with your character.

Use simple language, use concise sentences, concrete details, effective dialogue. These are all great tools to use to emphasize events, moods and places.

I had a poetry instructor tell me that if a poem didn't make her cry, then the poet wasn't worth reading. I've never forgotten that advice.

I hope you found this helpful. Best wishes in all your endeavors.

Thanks for Reading.

PDXKaraokeGuy, also known as Justin W. Price, is the managing editor at eFiction horror. Husband to Andrea, father to two dogs. writer.poet.baseball fan. tattooed. He is am amateur theologian with a rabid sweet tooth. He resides in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.He has a poetry book available for Amazon Kindle, and also maintains a blog, FirstBlog. His work has been featured in the Crisis Chronicles, efiction Magazine, The Hellroaring Review, the Bellwether Review, eFiction Humor, and the Rusty Nail. Please visit his profile page for more information. Thanks!

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Comments 64 comments

Phil Slattery 21 months ago

Interesting article. I would like to know how the author views the differences between creative non-fiction and the "gonzo journalism" of Hunter Thompson. I believe Thompson's idea of gonzo journalism was to capture the spirit of the event not necessarily the facts. I believe "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" is a prime example.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much Donnah... I don't mind getting beat up if it means people are reading, commenting and getting involved. It's okay if folks want to disagree with my parlance of choice.

Feel free to use this in your class... I'm glad you found this helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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donnah75 4 years ago from Upstate New York

My students and I are having this very conversation right now as they gear up to write narrative essays and start the process of doing a research project. Understanding the structural differences between these two kinds of non-fiction writing will be important for their success. I think you make excellent points here, and get your ascertion that all fiction is a "lie." A lie is an untruth. Intention to mislead or not has nothing to do with the definition, and I find nothing offensive about equating the word fiction with the word lie. A few commenters seemed to have beaten you up over this, but I think you have done a great job of making your point. Voted up and sharing.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

RNMSN< thank you! That is so kind. I tired to take a twelve week class on the subject and boil it down to a thousand words. I'm glad you found it helpful and I look forward to reading your work in the coming days!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Boomer,

I'm in the process of converted most of my creative non fiction into fiction because I feel like I can better convey the truth of the event in a more entertaining way if I embellish more then standard non fiction would allow. The question is, where is that line drawn? Indeed, much fiction does have non fiction elements in it. True fiction gets to the heart of the matter. At least good fiction.


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RNMSN 4 years ago from Tucson, Az

:) i thought me hub about incense was the topper of all topper for comments of blazing worth but DUDE! this one has that one beat!

thank goodness too

now I for one found this hub to be the most succinct class or lecture or teaching of what constitutes creative fiction and I thank you/I for one wouldnt dare try and scale that mtn at any rate....LaBrashear and Will Starr just have gotten me to wet my toes in the fiction pool as it is!

but...I too always wants to learn about how to write different elements of writing and that is exctly what youve done! thank you!!


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Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

I agree with everything that you said about creative non-fiction which seeks to find the truthful essence of an event, character and dialog rather than recount dry facts.

Engaging the reader's emotions is also vital to making the reader care about any story, regardless of genre.

I believe that in the hands of a gifted writer fiction can actually contain more "truth" about human nature, a particular culture and/or events than a mere recounting of a series of truthful facts.

That is also why creative non-fiction (in my humble opinion) has an edge over non-fiction.

Great, thought-provoking hub. Voted up across the board except for funny and shared.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Alexander, you make some interesting points. I tend to think most fiction has elements of the truth in it, and creative non fiction has elements of fiction. The key word is "creative" The bulk of the story may be true, but if there's a few details that are not correct or that are enhanced, that's where the line is drawn. In my mind. Your version works too!


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Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

In Galaxy Quest, the leader of the aliens caught in the delusion of the TV show, is told that, "humans lie." That whole scene worked within its scope, but I find that an offensive way to describe acting. The same applies to fiction - we know what it is we are getting into, we know that it never happened and we settle in to read a story (this is not to say I am offended by your assertion - here you are making a good point!).

Since I am a literalist in many ways, I don't find it difficult to say that there IS a clear line. If there is any fiction in a non-fiction story, it is completely false - not to be trusted as truth. Merely because the author sets out at the beginning to give us a different perspective from reality by inserting fictitious facts to enhance his point. Truthfully, that point could never have the impact it then does without the conjured bits, and therefore the point is not as large as the author makes it out to be - which can drastically change how you feel and perceive the entire story.

But there's another angle to consider. Even if you write non-fiction, are you telling the truth? Where did you start your story? Where you begin and end your story can completely change how we perceive a character and his intent. An example from fiction: is Smiegel/Gollum a bad guy? Ultimately yes, but what if you met him when he had the ring stolen from him, when he was tortured for information or when he turned nice and assisted Frodo on his quest?

"Does it matter if the dog that bit you was a blue heeler or a German Shepherd?" Yes! It's the little details that sometimes come back to bite you in the butt.

"it's what happened and what you learned that is important." You got me there, if what you're trying to convey is how you felt when your father died, the piece of fruit doesn't matter unless you are trying to explain why you hate plums. But I would say that if you are going to name the fruit, make sure it's what YOU are certain it is, and if your memory is completely hazy, adding that you don't remember will add to the magnitude of the event - unless of course you have to resort to that all the time, in which case you might want to question if you have enough material to write about!

As you can tell, I am not a fan of creative non-fiction, perhaps I shouldn't be saying anything at all because of my bias :-)

In fact, I would like to write fictitious stories about events in the Bible and I am very uncertain if that is right to do, as I am afraid of changing people's perceptions on what it really says. The new movie about Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter I refuse to see - no one is going to learn very much of significance historically from that movie, and what they do learn, will be mixed in with ideas that Lincoln did this or had that (expert bow hunter maybe) which had nothing to do with reality. He was a quiet, strong and studious man and a politician, but now he also knows karate. I mean, it's possible right?

As much as I argue against the idea of creative non-fiction, this was an eye opening hub about the field, very well covered. Voted up, useful and interesting.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Funom, you're welcome. Thanks for reading!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Audrey. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I'm glad you found this useful!


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AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

This is just an excellent article Justin! I am a writer who likes to blur the lines between genre--I think many writers do--nice piece of writing Justin!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Garang... I appreciate your input and insights. Thanks for writing and good luck in your career in creative non fiction!

Creative license is important to remember. Sometimes exaggeration is better to make a story more interesting.


Garangwyn profile image

Garangwyn 4 years ago from Fresno, California

Good article. I too have to agree, however, with barbsbitsnpieces about the term "suspension of disbelief" as opposed to "lies". Saying that an author is "lying" to you is implying that he/she is deliberately intending to mislead you without your knowledge. However, when an author asks you to "suspend your disbelief," he/she is asking you to take a journey with your imagination into another world, another reality. This is not so different with creative non-fiction; it is just that the stories are more likely to be recognized as based on real events than those of the fiction genre.

In my opinion, however, they are all, to one degree or another, some form of reality; they have to be a form of reality to have been given form and voice to begin with.

As a creative non-fiction writer, one of my favorite quotes is that of Randall Wallace, who wrote the screen play and then novel for Braveheart, when he was criticized for taking creative license with some of the historical facts surrounding the story of William Wallace (no doubt a connection there!):

"I have never let the facts get in the way of a good story."


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Suzanne, John Dufresne wrote a book about writing fiction called the lie that tells the truth. I'm not the only one that uses this term and you're more then welcome to write your own hub refuting that term. I don't care. It got people's attention and got traffic to mty page... and provided useful information. I'm not sure why people get so hung up on semantics. If people can't read between the lines or recognize light satire,that's not my problem.

Thanks for stopping by and reading and commenting! Thanks also for the info on seabiscuit.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for the comment and the share Christy


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

barb, I haven't yet but I will when I have a free moment. It's very good!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks Raci!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Trish,t hanks for stopping by, you seem to have hit my point right on the head. Fiction and non fiction are very blurred. It's hard to write something 100% factually accurate, It's about the intent and the emotional truth! Thanks for reading and commenting!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Carlon, thank you. I'm glad I could teach you something :-) Thanks for reading and commenting


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justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

Sorry, the term "lie" is not appropriately applied to fiction and never will be.

PDX - if Seabiscuit hadn't been rescued and rehabilitated to be a racehorse, he would have gone to slaughter. People make the choices they can within their context.


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ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Wow I can see why you have so many comments on this hub! I think you explain the topic well and it is nicely formatted too. Packed with information. I vote up and share.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@PDXKaraokeGuy...Thank you for the link if you were able to "create" it!

I'm having much more trouble with links here all around than I am with writing Hubs and keeping track of comments!!

Nice to share with you!!!


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raciniwa 4 years ago from Naga City, Cebu

well, well, you have a heavy hub here Justine...


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 4 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi :)

I think that this hub contained some useful advice and information, but it was difficult for me to access it, because I was still thinking about all those 'lies'.

I don't call fiction 'lies', I call it 'fiction'. Yes it's invented, but it can expose, usefully, some important truths. Deliberate lies are something very different.

Actually, it is the creative non-fiction that is more likely to contain lies. You may say that it doesn't matter whether you were eating a plum or an orange ~ and it probably doesn't ~ but where does one draw the line?

Non-fiction should be fully truthful, because it is not fiction, but, often, it isn't truthful ~ because of the 'creative' aspect.

Don't get me wrong; I think that a really good historical novel ~ which is creative, but based on truth ~ can be very rewarding and educational. But, if the author becomes a bit too 'creative', then it does become 'lies', and can be very misleading. This sort of thing does happen, unfortunately, and it is wrong.

This is a very interesting and thought-provoking article :)


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Carlon Michelle 4 years ago from USA

There you go again getting all intelligent on me as well as entertaining. How dare you teach me a thing or two while I sip my morning coffee! Good grief, don't you have anything better to do? Well, even if you do, I am so happy you chose to write. Smile!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Barb, I'm glad my hub inspired you to write one! That's very exciting. Please link to it in my comment section and I will add it as a link in the hub itself. I'll head over to read it very soon!


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Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@PDXKaraokeGuy...This Hub inspired by 53rd Hub just posted entitled "The Amazing Truth About Fiction"!

Thanks for your sharing in this controversial subject which probably will never be otherwise, but it's fun to explore.


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Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

PDXKaraokeGuy...I have found Hubpages to be a unique place where writers can share opinions and have civil disagreement. And I respect your viewpoint, but I love the old fashioned "suspension of disbelief" idea.

Seabiscuit: AAL is one of the best reads there is in sports. The reason is that it is the story of three men who came from oddly different backgrounds and meet because of Seabiscuit coming into their lives. An owner, a trainer, and a jockey change each other and the horse. They all lived a championship example.

And what Seabiscuit meant to Depression Age America -- overcoming tremendous odds to become a winner -- is a timeless message.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Barb,

I appreciate your thoughtful comment and terrific example. I like the word "lie" specifically because that's exactly what fiction is. I am mindful of the negative connotations and welcome disagreement. Is seabiscuit, btw, worth reading? I never saw the film and I have a moral problem with using animals in sport, so, the film never appealed to me.


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Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@PDXKaraokeGuy...This Hub is extremely readable and unveils interesting concepts in the writing of fiction. But calling fiction a lie, even in jest, or with tongue in cheek, brings about an ugliness that rather destroys the fascination and appeal fiction genres create.

Originally, fiction was viewed and explained as telling tales that prompt the reader into a "suspension of disbelief" (not lies). This "suspension" allows the reader to engage in the tale as if it were so, and that is the real beauty and appeal of fiction -- getting a reader to feel that way.

Creative license in creative non-fiction writing also has a "suspension" element. In "Seabisbuit: An American Legend", the racehorse War Admiral, America's fourth ever Triple Crown winner, is referred to as 18 hands high as Seabiscuit's connections scout out Seabiscuit's prospects of beating War Admiral in a match race. War Admiral was actually Seabiscuit's size, around 15.4 hands high. But the exaggeration of War Admiral's size in that scene added so much to the drama ("suspension of disbelief") of the idea of the two horses meeting in a match race and Seabiscuit's meager chances to win. (Seabiscuit did, indeed, triumph in the real-life match race!)

Rather than referring to fiction genres and creative license in creative non-fiction works as lies, the old-fashioned term "suspension of disbelief" may better serve the "imaginary literary work" (as mentioned in this column by DFiduccia) as a decriptive phrase.

Just say'n. Your Hub was very well done, despite the controversy over fictional lying. Professors are great at getting into their students' heads, too!!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much, Cyndi. I live to help, and, so, I'm glad this did. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thank you, Andrea, for taking the time to read and comment. I'm glad you found this interesting!


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cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Oh, I have SO been wanting to get a moment to read this - thank you so much for sharing this!! Believe it or not, you have given me lots of ideas because I always actually felt challenged to write fiction, but I could always tell a true story. Really, I can base fiction on real events and then smudge them. I can write NON-fiction and relish in the details. YES! Thanks for this!!


Andrea333 profile image

Andrea333 4 years ago

This was so informative and fun to read. Thanks PDX. Voted up and useful.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so much, Pickles. My pleasure!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

DFidducia.... you are correct. I revised it and added it. Revision is a vital part of writing.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

xstatic I did ad the the third paragraph... but I didn't think it was necc. in the first place. I gave my readers credit for understanding my point. Guess not everyone did.

glad you did and I'm glad you took the time to read and comment! I'll make it over to see you soon... just swamped with school. Barely have time to return comments on my own hubs.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks so mush, htodd


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Gypsy, I actually find the opposite is true. For me, fiction flows, but I labor over my non fiction. these tips were as much for me as they were for anyone else in the same boat!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Kimmie,

so nice to see you. I think the only disclaimer needed is the one that says "fiction" or "non-fiction". It's fun sometimes when the line is blurred!

Happy Mother's Day


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picklesandrufus 4 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

Very well written and informative hub. Thanks for taking the time to write it.Vote up


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DFiduccia 4 years ago from Las Vegas

The third paragraph was not part of the original hub.


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

You did cover the "lie" aspect thoroughly in your Hub it seems to me. Good Grief...Great work on an interesting subject.


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htodd 4 years ago from United States

Thanks a lot ....nice explanation about non fiction


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Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and interesting. Fiction I believe is the hardest to write because you have to make it believable when there is no truth in it. You offer some good thoughts and facts. Thanks for sharing and passing this on.


Sunnie Day 4 years ago

Great hub Justin. It is funny..I have never been one to tell made up stories or tell stories for that matter until I started write and boy oh boy when I write a fiction story..I am living in another world and it is quite fun as anything goes. You broke down the difference very well. Thank you! I guess it is a compliment when someone thinks your fiction is real but then it can make me feel bad too so maybe a disclaimer is a good thing sometimes..I am not sure what do you think?

Take care..

Sunnie


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Suzanne, I'm aware of the negative connotations. Fiction forces us to accept an unreality, a world that is use, events that didn't happen and characters that don't exist as real... at least while we're reading. as you said, it's a tall tale and a tall tale is a type of lie, albeit, a harmless one. I appreciate your objection to that word, I just hope you understand why I chose to use it. (For once, I wasn't actually trying to be controversial).

Thanks for reading and commenting!


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

There seems to have been some confusion regarding my "lies" statement. I have added clarification in the body of the article in the first section. Thank you!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

Sorry, but the word LIE does have negative connotations, and fiction is NOT a lie. It may be a "tall-tale", but it is not a lie:

lie1 ? ?[lahy] Show IPA noun, verb, lied, ly·ing.

noun

1.

a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood.

2.

something intended or serving to convey a false impression; imposture: His flashy car was a lie that deceived no one.

3.

an inaccurate or false statement.

4.

the charge or accusation of lying: He flung the lie back at his accusers.

verb (used without object)

5.

to speak falsely or utter untruth knowingly, as with intent to deceive.

6.

to express what is false; convey a false impression.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/lie


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks for telling me what I already know, DFiccuia. I'm aware of what the disclaimers in novels say.

Fiction may not be misleading (and Lord knows, fiction is what I read the most) but, it does project a reality that is not real, which makes it a lie. It's a glorious, terrific, entertaining lie but the world of fiction is a world of lies. We accept these lies going in and we know they're lies. I know lies has a negative connotation to it, but I in no way intended that.


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks again sparklea


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

thanks xstatic for the share. I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine who was afraid to write a work because he didn't want to name names and offend anyone. MY professor said, if you're afraid to write it, I'm afraid to read it. Use pseudonyms or nick names if you want. No harm in that, but, i would encourage your wife to write it using real names. She can always change them later.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Suzanne, I'm afraid you missed my point or at least failing to see the big picture. The statement that fiction is a lie is tongue in cheek, and an homage to one of my professors. I love fiction (it's what I read and write the most), and especially Stephen King. But, fiction is a lie. It's not the truth. I'm not saying it like it's a bad thing. He's not misleading anyone.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Thanks Ann I'm sure it will.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

You're welcome, Sparklea. I'm glad you found this useful, and I'm glad you are already used to revising. Revision is so important!


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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon Author

Vellur, thank you


DFiduccia profile image

DFiduccia 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Fiction novels clearly state that all characters and events in the book are fictitious, which means that the author and publisher know the work is imaginary. A lie is a statement or account, which purports to mislead others into believing something untrue. Therefore, a fiction novel is a stated imaginary literary work and not a lie.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

I LOVE this hub, and you made some excellent points. I LOVE first person non-fiction, and that is usually what I write, and I so appreciate your advice. I totally agree with what you said, and I do write, rewrite, slice, dice, edit, and if I don't like it I don't publish it or submit it to an editor. Voted up, useful, and interesting. THANK YOU. Blessings, Sparklea :)


xstatic profile image

xstatic 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

Up all the way on this one! Great advice and some clarification of that sort of mysterious genre. Who would have ever thought that there would be so many memoirs published and read! My wife wants to write one about her life as a Dept of Defense teacher in Turkey, where she spent nine years teaching children of US Air Force personnel. She lived among the Turkish people and has many wonderful stories to tell. I suggested she make it a work creative non-fiction is she is concerned about naming names, etc. I will refer her to this Hub. Shared as well!


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 4 years ago from Texas

Stephen King doesn't "lie". Stephen King writes fiction. He never claims it is anything but fiction. Fiction is an acceptable genre. Why on earth would you call it a "lie"?


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 4 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

This hub has a lot of information. I hope it helps me.

Voted up.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 4 years ago from Upstate New York

PDXKaraokeGuy: You are one of my favorite writers, your advice is phenomenal. I feel like you are sitting with me having coffee and having a true, genuine conversation about writing. I LOVE first person non-fiction! I do alot of writing, editing, re-writing, slicing and dicing. I've learned that if I don't like what I write, no one else will either. This hub is loaded with terrific points and great gems of advice. THANK YOU for helping this writer. Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting. Blessings Sparklea :)


Vellur profile image

Vellur 4 years ago from Dubai

You did a fantstic job of explaining non-fiction. Read and enjoyed the read. Learned a lot as usual. Voted up.

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