Fiction vs Nonfiction – outline
Where to get ideas for fiction or nonfiction (keep a notebook with ideas):
11. Newspaper articles, media stories, overheard comments
22. Assignments, interesting topics, world events, historical locations and people
33. People watching, research, ideas from others
44. Family stories, personal experiences, experiences of others, personal interests
Our imaginations are our biggest assets to use when searching for ideas.
Fiction (I use index cards, one for each character or detail):
1. Have general idea of story line.
2. Need names and characteristics (physical, emotional, mental), hobbies, likes, dislikes. Use more information than will be included in writing/work. Include relationships to other characters.
3. Need details for locations, events, etc.
4. IF using any facts, be sure they are correct – research. Yes, research is necessary for fiction.
Nonfiction (I also use index cards, one for each individual point):
1. Have thesis. This is the topic and points you’ll cover.
2. Research each and every point.
3. Have at least 3-4 support points for each main point, even if all aren’t used.
Fiction: Writers organize their material in one of several ways. Some use more than one.
1. Outlining (I agree with Tony Hillerman that outlining doesn’t work for everyone)
2. Mental “movie” of story before writing
3. Story boards
4. Plot/time lines
I use a combination of “movie” and plot/time lines. I also organize my index cards to help with time line.
1. Organize note cards in order of thesis.
2. Create outline, how detailed = writer’s preference (I use detailed outline)
a bad beginning means a book not read
Fiction: “grab” reader’s attention immediately.
1. Begin in the right place, with an inciting incident – something happens that indicates a story-worthy problem. The rest of the story contains the struggle to resolve problem(s).
2. Have the hook within the first sentences or paragraphs. Don’t bore the reader first.
3. Intrigue the reader and cause him to want to continue reading.
Nonfiction: Need an introduction that captures the attention of the reader and leads to the thesis.
1. A story/example
2. Statistics presented in an interesting/amazing way or give surprising fact(s)
3. Provide details leading to the thesis
1. Use correct grammar, mechanics, and structure.
2. Revise as you go (don’t search for errors but be aware and fix any you see).
3. Be sure information/story is presented interestingly, keep reader reading.
4. In fiction, “Show, don’t tell,” rather “show much more than tell.”
5. In nonfiction, be sure to keep on topic.
1. Plot (longer works also have more sub-plots)
6. Crisis / Climax
8. Conclusion (also for nonfiction)
9. Point of View
1. Introduction ending with thesis sentence
2. At least one or more paragraphs to support each point of the thesis
3. A strong conclusion
Fiction and Nonfiction Combination
1. Narrative Nonfiction or Creative Nonfiction
2. Combination by “fictionally” providing material, such as dialogue, that can’t be proven to happen as written, but which is restricted by facts.
3. Author creatively creates literature that is based mainly on fact, reported, but shapes the material so that it reads like fiction.
8 Cs of Good Writing
4. Correctness - includes research when needed
8. Character (fiction)