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Fiction vs Nonfiction

Shashank Nakate Mar 12, 2020
There are mainly two types of writing; fiction and nonfiction. The following section gives the features and the basic differences between both these types of literary works.
The different types of artworks viz., literature, films, theatrical performances, and all other narratives can be broadly divided into two groups i.e., fiction and nonfiction. Fiction is a narrative which tells a story with imaginary characters and events. The foundation of fictional stories is based on imagination.
Nonfiction, on the other hand, deals with facts or real information. Authenticity of the facts presented by authors can be challenged by other people. Interestingly, literary works which review fictional narratives are categorized under nonfictional creations.
This is because, the real, true, or factual representation of the actual content in the work of fiction is presented to the audience.

Characteristics of Fiction Writing

One of the important elements of fiction writing is characterization. Roles of the characters in any fictional story is very important. Characters are presented before the readers through a description of their nature, behavior, and their role in the story.


Some different types of characters used in fictional works are explained here.
  • Protagonist: This character attains a central role in the fictional work.
  • Antagonist: As the name suggests, this is the character who opposes the protagonist.
  • Point-of-view Character: This character takes the audience through the story and explains the plot. He helps to uncover the different shades and features of a story as well as the characters included.


The plot is a framework of any fictional work. Actions and events are presented before the audience through the plot. Beginning, middle, and ending are the 3 components of any plot. An arc depicted with a zig-zag line is used to symbolize it. The zig-zag lines represent actions that rise and fall.


Climax is the component that holds the highest importance. It is marked by a sudden twist or alteration in the course of the story. Climax of a story is preceded by a rising action which builds the suspense or tension.

Nonfiction Writing and its Features

The different works of nonfiction include documentaries, journals, essays, scientific papers, histories, textbooks, biographies, technical documentations, travelogues, and press releases. The main characteristic of any nonfictional work is its clarity, simplicity, and directness. It deals with factual content, and therefore, has to be correct and accurate in terms of the data that is presented.
Writers who deal with this genre should have a thorough knowledge of the subject they are working on. Extensive research coupled with meticulous analysis of the factual information is extremely important. In the words of Mark Twain (paraphrased), The difference between fiction and nonfiction is that fiction must be absolutely believable.
Writers of both these genres need to be creative in their own, unique ways. In the fictional works, one has to create a completely new world of his own. Nonfictional creations on the other hand, incorporate a form of writing which gives an ordered and compact appearance to the hard facts.