Monday, September 20, 2010

Writing 101 - Writing Non-Fiction

Writing Non- Fiction

Non Fiction is different; it is more difficult on some level because you as the writer don't want to regurgitate something that has already been written. Take the time to research your story, talk to others, and find out all you can about whatever it is you are writing about. It is very important to make sure you have facts and that you can back up those facts with your research. Always put your resources in the back of the book, especially if you do direct quotes. This is very important if you quote from newspaper, other books, or other articles. You never want to get slammed for stealing someone else's work. You have to give the original speaker credit for that quote. If you are using Microsoft 2007 it has a great program that will post those resources as you put them in the book.

Find a way to write the story different from what every other writer has done.  This can be a challenge especially if several people have already written different books on the subject you are writing about. True crime is one of the hardest to write about if you are not part of that life. I was fortunate; my husband is retired
from the State Attorney's office in the 19 judicial circuit and all of our friends are in that life and with my background in criminal justice and bounty hunting I speak the language.

When you decide to write non-fiction, surround yourself with people who are proficient in that particular subject, don't be shy about picking their brain. Once you show you are serious and credible they may be more than willing to talk with you. When I first contact retired FBI Agent Roy Hazelwood, he wouldn't give me any information until he found out that I already had one book out and was serious about writing the story. Now, I count him as a very good friend.

Don't be in a hurry to write the story. It took me over a year to research and write Silent Scream. When I wrote Silent Scream there was a lot of information I didn't put in the book. The reason is simple, the book would have been too heavy to carry let alone read. Take the most important pieces and put it in your story.
But make it interesting. The object is to tell your real life story with meaning and depth without being boring with the facts. Weave those facts into the story.

If you interject your own opinion make sure that you make that statement in the book. Make sure that you put your resources at the end of your book, any newspaper articles, books, interviews, any resource where you obtained your material. This is very important.

Non- fiction is tricky in that in most cases you must have permission to use real names, it must be in writing. This protects you from the potential lawsuit.

Next Topic is Editing & Proofing,  Friday,  September 24, 2010.

Please post your questions in the comment section :).

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