As everyone knows I write both in the fiction stream and the non-fiction stream. As the Inkers can attest to, my non-fiction is taking up a lot of my time, as deadlines must be met. But still I was thinking, which in this case isn’t a bad thing, that perhaps fiction is more fun to most people because they use their imagination and with non-fiction it ( to quote from a movie) “Just the Facts”
Or is it?
Here I’ll give you a small example:
Johann was her first love, and as Anna tells everyone, no other man could be as perfect to her as he was. She never refers to herself as his widow but as his wife. There is no doubt she will love him until the day she dies. Anna doesn’t really want to discuss about her memories of him. They aren’t unpleasant, but the underline the crucial fact that he is no longer near her. He was the only man she loved, but now as she has aged she finds it difficult to recount their life together. Sitting down, she stares at the faded black and white photographs of their wedding and with the one with the two children he was lucky to have known. The letters he wrote to her long ago have been lost. All her family has are her failing memories of his life. She married him at seventeen, and lost him to the war before she turned twenty-five. She never remarried and now Anna tells their story because her grandchildren and great grandchildren must know his story. She feels an persuasive need to complete the family tree before she leaves this world, so gazing into the distance, as if longing to hear his voice once more, she begins to impart her knowledge of the man she adores.
Now for the record this comes from the first chapter of my first draft of my upcoming book. Okay I admit, it can use a bit of work, you know the ending almost right? It sort of plods along, and well, not very interesting.
Here’s another version of the same beginning: This is from another edit:
A sniper sits in a tree, waiting waiting. He is prepared for the next target. His clothing the perfect white that matches the snow on the tree. He smiles… his next target. Always another target not human, never humans to think that would be his undoing. The plume of smoke from a train peeks through the hills. They are coming. He gets his gun into position so that the gleam of movement won’t reveal him to the enemy. Then he waits. The train stops in front of his hiding place, a perfect target jumps out, landing in the white snow. He pulls the trigger. The sound of the gun exploding the peace and then…. the target looks at him his gentle face squinting in the sun looking around to find the location of the noise.
See the difference you want to read it? As reader you’d want to read more find out more about the target. I’ve changed nothing really all the facts are correct, I’ve moved somethings to the beginning, and int eh process made it stronger.
It is how you write in non-fiction not what you write that makes the reading boring.
My Question for you today is this: Are there non-fiction books that capture your imagination more so than fiction? If so what are they and why?