Non-fiction or nonfiction is created, where the author assumes responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the events, people, or information presented within it. The subject of the book, either objectively or subjectively, deals with information, events, and people in a realistic way.
Although the narrative may or may not be accurate, the specific factual assertions and descriptions can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, the author will genuinely believe or claim the narrative’s content to be truthful at the time of their composition or, they convince their audience it is historically or empirically factual.
Nonfiction can also be literary criticism giving information and analysis on other works. And also informational text that deals with an actual, real-life subjects. This offers opinions or conjectures on facts and reality. This genre includes biographies, history, essays, speech, and narrative non fiction.
Common examples are expository, argumentative, functional and opinion pieces, essays on art or literature, memoirs, and journalism as well as historical, scientific, technical or economical narratives.
As a writer my favorite non-fiction book is On Writing by Stephen King. (No surprise there as he is my literary hero!)
Often written in narrative form an autobiography gives the history of a person’s life, written or told by that person.
The definition states:
“he or she gives a vivid description of his or her childhood in their autobiography” Sub sections are memoirs, life story, or personal history.
It differentiates from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing because it is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, rather than a diary entry, which although reflective moves through a series of moments in time. In other words an autobiography takes stock of the writers life by way of memory from the moment of the composition. A distinction on autobiography versus memoir is that a memoir is less focused on self and more on others.
The ‘life’ autobiography may focus on a subjective view of the person’s life, which in some cases can lead to misleading or incorrect information by way of the inability or unwillingness of the writer to recall memories accurately.
A ‘spiritual’ autobiography follows the writer’s journey towards God or other deity, which resulted from a conversion. It is a vehicle to endorse his or her new found religion.
A ‘fictional autobiography’ is a novel about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography in first-person and reflecting on both internal and external experiences of their character.
An I-Novel is a Japanese literary genre used to describe a confessional type literature where the events related correspond to the author’s life. In many cases it exposed the darker side of society or the author’s own dark side.
A memoir differs from an autobiography as it focuses on more intimate memoirs, feelings and emotions, rather than the ‘life and times’ of a writer in a typical autobiography. For example, memoirs about politicians or military leaders glorify their public exploits.
Have you written or are you thinking of writing your autobiography?
Whose autobiography have you read that you enjoyed?
I still vividly remember reading The Dairy of A Young Girl (Anne Frank) at school. It is such a powerful and emotive book. Of course, I have read ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King several times (or more!)
Horror is a genre of fiction, of which, the defining trait is to provoke a response; either emotional, psychological or physical, within readers that causes them to react with fear, dread, disgust, or is frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting and even startles it’s readers with the text.
Horror: Ancient Greece and Rome
This genre has ancient origins with roots in folklore and religious traditions, which focused on death, the afterlife, evil, the demonic and also a ‘thing’ embodied in the person. This manifested as stories of witchcraft, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts.
Horror: Medieval Era
Much of horror fiction derived itself from the cruelest faces in world history, particularly those who lived in the fifteenth-century. “Dracula” can be traced to the Prince of Wallachia Vlad III, whose alleged war crimes were published in German pamphlets in the late Fifteenth Century and resulted in stories of horrifying detail.
Gothic horror: 18th century
Slowly the horror genre became traditional Gothic literature. 18th century Gothic horror drew on sources of seminal and controversial elements of the supernatural instead of pure realism.
Horror: 19th century
After the Gothic tradition blossomed the genre became the horror literature we now know in the 19th century. Influential works and characters still continue to resonate, such as Brother’s Grimm and Hansel & Gretel (1812) and of course Frankenstein (1818) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. (1820)
Cheap periodicals became prolific at the turn of the century, leading to a boom in horror writing. Horror writers of the time included H.P. Lovecraft pioneering cosmic horror and M.R. James redefining the ghost story. Also the serial murderer became a recurring theme.
Contemporary horror fiction
As most of you know Stephen King is my hero and it is the best-known contemporary horror writer. His stories have delighted and frightened many of us for decades, from Carrie to Sleeping Beauties and all those tales in-between.
I have to admit as a prolific reader of Mr. King, I am wary of ever writing a horror story because I don’t think I can measure up to his expertise.
Do you write horror? What theme do you favor?
What horror writers/books have you read and ‘enjoyed’?
I have my writing retreat to look forward and it is getting tantalizingly close – 18th May. Here I can immerse myself completely with no distractions, unless I actually seek them out.
Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am thoroughly enjoying this story. The characters are well rounded, there is a connection/distance between the two main characters, which gives the narrative an undercurrent of possibilities.
Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn (because you all know by now I’m fascinated by this subject)
What are you reading?
I watched this movie, which had a great twist on the subject. I am always intrigued by the variations on the reincarnation theme.
“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”
“I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven.”
“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
As many of you know I am a great fan of Stephen King, so scary stories are part of my every day reading. However, there are a number of other novelists that might peak your interest (or not!)
This list is quite comprehensive. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/10411523/15-scary-books-to-terrify-you-this-Halloween.html
Which ones would you buy?
Have you read any of them? Care to share your thoughts?
It is interesting how different things scare different people. As a young single woman I identified with the poor rabid dog in Cujo but decades later as a mother, my fear was for the child. Perspective changes everything, even our fears.
After I had my children my recurrent nightmare was being buried in an avalanche with them – odd as at that time I lived in England so no fear of an avalanche at all. Now I live in Canada it would make more sense – but that’s dreams for you. As a young child my recurrent nightmare was being impaled on a rhinoceros’ horn and it running through a marquee full of people enjoying a party. (I was born in South Africa, so maybe this was a deeply subconscious fear). It took decades before I could even look at a rhino on the TV let alone in the flesh. Until, that is my daughter asked me to touch one. That broke the fear spell.
What are your fears? Do they carry over from childhood? Have they changed?