Writing a Nonfiction BookWrite a non-fiction book
Jane Gardiner on the authoring of non-fiction | Literature
Many of the regulations for authoring non-fiction books are the same as for authoring literature ("Put one world after another", February 20). They must prevent exclamations and stereotypes (like the plague), they should use advisers as if they were rationalized and they should recall that in reality - where non-fiction authors are - humans say things or possibly argument or sometimes persist.
Nonfiction authors have many benefits over novelists: the deepest being, as Richard Holmes said when he wrote his autobiography of the writer Shelley: "At least I always have the man. It was an intimate story, I felt thankful every single working-day that I always had the decades, and even on poor paperwork, there was something I could devote my spare minute to find out that I was fairly sure I could use it.
Another advantage is research - and that takes us to where the being goes somewhere else, because it takes month, if not years, in a library, archive or archive office to write non-fiction literature, to read a newspaper, always on this stupid intermediate film. "But at least the authors of non-fiction are not usually encouraged "to carry their research lightly," although everyone should try, as should more authors of novels.
A further benefit is that in the worse case one can take solace in the thought that even if a readership finds his textbook dull or thinks that it is poorly spelled, he has at least learnt something from it. So if these are some benefits of being a non-fiction author, what are the downsides?
The majority of authors are sitting tense hours after hours over their laptop computers, but when non-fiction authors get up from their desktops, it is often to go to a library and get so loaded with so many textbooks that they feel pain in the muscle that they didn't know they had it. And then there is the amount of cash you can afford on AbeBooks, or the increase in the number of titles that can be lent from the London library, from the legal 10 to a limit of 40, to alleviate the uncertainty that a long out of stock or a fake and lost memory will give you just the enlightening quote that brings an entire section to life.
It' s the source that captivates a non-fiction writer: if something didn't go wrong, you can't say it happened. The majority of the reader is confused when a novelist accepts an almightiness and says to them what someone thought when he cannot know it. In part, Dame Antonia Fraser created her private investigator Jemima Shore so that she could spend time in the outdoors with Harold Pinter and still write without the bookshelves and shaky mountains of papers around her, as she did in the production of her historic biography.
Literature fairs and bookstore shows are a tougher job for the non-fiction author: the public is expecting a true lecture, an excuse - perhaps even a PowerPoint lecture. Not only can you just browse a few pages of beautiful essays from your latest novel like a belletrist can. However, perhaps the true assassin is that while literature is literally reinterpreted and revisited over the course of a generation - even hundreds of years - non-fiction, with a few rare exception, quickly becomes obsolete and outmoded.
Of course, some authors go beyond the boundaries: sometimes authors of novels turn to non-fiction and sometimes not. There are no limits to my inquisitiveness and I don't want to invent personalities and visualize things; I want to find out what is there and try to put it down as fluently and convincingly as if it were a work of fantasy.