One example is the difference in how research and personal experience influence your writing. In fiction (especially science fiction), you’re suspending reality, so you have to make sure that the worlds and characters you create are plausible in reality. In non-fiction, you can use direct information and share personal experience as long as you’re discerning enough to protect identities of people involved in the situations you describe. You have to reach the reader through your characters, whether it’s ones you create in your own little world, or the way you present yourself and your experiences. It seems that would be more difficult in fiction, but in fact I believe it’s easier because readers are more willing to identify with a fictional character than with you. After all, we have people around us every day, and we have to discern what we pay attention to. A fictional character is a representation, while you, as the writer, reality. There is no interpretation there, and some people take interpretation better. But then again, it stands to reason that people will read what speaks to them, so perhaps I’m merely expanding my audience.
Another difference is the structure of the writing. For example, Metamorphosis – Book Two of The Earthside Trilogy and Joy on the Journey are roughly the same length, at about 51,000 words. But Metamorphosis has 52 chapters, and Joy has 20 chapters. They cover different territory, and as such are structured differently. Metamorphosis is a story that moves. In fact, it’s continuation of the story from Progenitor and a bridge to Emergence, so the situations and characters progress to fill out a larger story. Joy, while a follow up to Battleground Earth, stands on it’s own, and presents the information chapter by chapter. There is continuity throughout the chapters and even from the previous book, but each chapter is structured to stand on it’s own because it focuses on a particular topic.
The last thing I’ve noticed is that I do enjoy writing inspirational non-fiction. I suspected that I’d return to the genre someday, and while I’m still primarily a scifi and mystery/suspense writer, I’d like to get back in the inspirational genre. Fiction and non-fiction are different worlds, and I definitely need to do some research on how to write and market non-fiction if I plan to expand to a three-genre writer. That’s ok. I enjoy learning, and look forward to rediscovering non-fiction writing, and how I fit into it.
That’s all today. I hope you have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.