Differences Between Fiction And Nonfiction Writing?

What’s The Main Difference Between Fiction And Nonfiction Writing?

The Guardsman 3 - Kindle Cover
The Guardsman 3 – Kindle Cover

There are several differences between fiction and nonfiction writing.  Fiction and nonfiction are two distinct categories of writing that serve different purposes and use different narrative techniques.

What Is Fiction?

Fiction is literature that is a story told from the writer’s imagination.  These fiction stories are not grounded in real-life events but are created by the writer.  Fiction can include novels, short stories, poems, plays, and movies.  Fiction is often used to entertain, educate, or explore social and political issues.

The key to fiction is that the author creates the majority of the story, though it may take place during real situations and events.  In the case of historical fiction, for example, the times or events might have been real but the author is inserting their own character who never existed into those situations to tell the story.

What Is Non-Fiction?

Decade In Daylight Cover
Decade In Daylight Cover

Nonfiction is literature that is based on real people, events, or information.  These works can include biographies, autobiographies, essays, articles, and textbooks.  Nonfiction is often used to inform, educate, or persuade readers.

Nonfiction stories can be told in historical events for example, but those are relayed through the lived and researched experiences of real people.

Examples Of Differences Between Fiction And Nonfiction Writing Found Here:

Included here are six examples, three of each, reflecting the differences between fiction and nonfiction writing.

Difference Examples In Our Fiction:

Fiction is Doug Franklin‘s preferred writing format.  It is just more fun and cathartic.  The writing experience is free and as long as we are bounded by consistent realities in the world we create, the stories are believable and we are creating a world all our own!


The Guardsman is set in a completely fictional world.  Many centuries from the present, with different weapons and a multitude of changed trapping.  But people still suffer many of the same problems.

Razormouth WIP Hardcopy Cover
Razormouth WIP Hardcopy Cover

To ground the story in reality it needs to touch those day-to-day issues that normal people deal with in their lives, like making the rent, dealing with bugs in the house, and the occasional gunfight while sneaking after baddies while working as a private detective.


Razormouth is a book with the first section completed but has just not made it to print yet.

The story is about swords & shields, dragons & treasure, adventure & hardship while keeping the human elements in place.  The crux of the story is the struggle between destiny and free will.

It also explores the dynamics of three main characters who all basically hate each other!  The warrior hunts the dragon and the farmer, the dragon hunts the warriors and farmers, while the farmers fear and loathe both the other.

But no more without spoilers!

The Travel Agent:

The Travel Agent was a book I started writing a long time ago, long before the Arab Spring and the messy revolutions that followed.  This shorter story is about things getting rough in the Arab world for American tourists and they need a special kind of hero to extract their tour group.

Travel Agent Cover
Travel Agent Cover

As an Iraq war veteran, Doug Franklin is intimately familiar with the trials people face as both residents and while traveling in the Middle East.  There are cultural and religious imperatives that are vastly different from the Western world.  At the time of writing, we were watching way too much Burn Notice, and the spy theme was hot and heavy on the mind.

Long before the war erupted in Syria this story was finished.  Unfortunately, we delayed publication and this novella started to read more and more like a potential NON-Fiction, which was absolutely NOT the intent!

Difference Examples In Our NonFiction:

There are a few of these books in the catalog.  But they are typically not as much fun to write as creating a brand new world from nothing but imagination.

There are many authors who prefer historical and purely educational work. The process of organizing and categorizing the facts required to accurately present information is just not as much fun as the fiction alternative to Doug Franklin.

Decade in Daylight:

Decade in Daylight was a business biography.  It was both factual and written to inform better than we could ever describe in words because each page carried a full-color results-based historical success picture set.

Because it was a visual product, showing the before and after results of the work was critical.  So after the business passed its decade in Houston, we thought it would be fun to memorialize many of the most successful jobs.

Interestingly, in the process of informing potential customers about the results after the book was published, using the pictures, people kept asking for the book!  Decade in Daylight did such a good job informing potential customers about results that suddenly we were equipping our sales representative with the books and letting customers inform themselves on their own!

Anatomy Coloring Book:

The purpose of this book was to help our pre-med student prepare for biology class where she was required to start learning all of the bones in the body.

The Anatomy Coloring book was developed with the help of Doctor AJ Vazquez.  We had to do a lot of research, back & forth work, and careful proofing to prevent errors.  The book is clearly factual and designed to inform and allow the repetitive practice, of learning the subject of human skeletal anatomy.

The end product is very nice!  It is extremely informative and I actually learned a good deal about the skeletal system while working on the project.

777 Common Spanish Phrases:

This book is straight facts, written to inform, it is literally the most common words and phrases from my Spanish study list.  The whole point is to inform and make a better result at the end of reading.  Even the process of writing informed and factually developed my grasp of Spanish.

Widely Known Fiction vs Nonfiction Examples:

Fiction Examples:

Novels: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Short Stories: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

Poems: “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe, “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost

Plays: “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams

Movies: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Star Wars,” “The Godfather”

Nonfiction Examples:

Biographies: “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin,” “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson, “Marie Curie” by Françoise Giroud

Autobiographies: “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller, “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah, “Bossypants” by Tina Fey

Essays: “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf, “Why I Write” by George Orwell, “I Have No Name” by Ijeoma Oluo

Articles: “The Atlantic,” “The New Yorker,” “The New York Times”

Textbooks: “Biology” by Campbell Reece, “Physics for Scientists and Engineers” by Serway and Jewett, “Principles of Economics” by N. Gregory Mankiw

What’s The Main Difference Between Fiction And Nonfiction When Writing An Essay?

The main difference between fiction and nonfiction essays lies in their purpose, content, and structure.


Fiction essays: Aim to entertain, engage, and evoke emotions in readers through imaginative storytelling. They often explore human experiences, social issues, or moral dilemmas.

Nonfiction essays: Primarily intend to inform, educate, or persuade readers about a particular topic or issue. They present factual information, research findings, or personal experiences to support their arguments or viewpoints.


Fiction essays: Employ creative license and imagination to craft characters, events, and settings. They may incorporate elements of fantasy, science fiction, or magical realism.

Nonfiction essays: Adhere to factual accuracy and objectivity. They draw upon verifiable sources, such as historical records, scientific research, or personal anecdotes, to substantiate their claims.


Fiction essays: Often follow a narrative structure similar to short stories, with a plot, characters, and a central conflict. They may utilize literary devices like symbolism, metaphor, and foreshadowing to enhance the storytelling experience.

Nonfiction essays: Typically adopt a more formal and analytical structure, presenting arguments and evidence in a logical and organized manner. They may use subheadings, bullet points, and citations to enhance clarity and credibility.

7 Critical Differences Between Fiction And Nonfiction Writing:

Here are seven critical differences between fiction and nonfiction:


1.) Fiction is primarily intended to entertain, engage, and evoke emotions in readers, while nonfiction aims to inform, educate, or persuade them.


2.) Fiction utilizes imagination and creativity to craft characters, events, and settings, often incorporating elements of fantasy, science fiction, or magical realism. Nonfiction, on the other hand, adheres to factual accuracy and objectivity, relying on verifiable sources and evidence.


3.) Fiction often follows a narrative structure with a plot, characters, and a central conflict, employing literary devices like symbolism, metaphor, and foreshadowing to enhance the storytelling experience. Nonfiction typically adopts a more formal and analytical structure, presenting arguments and evidence in a logical and organized manner, often using subheadings, bullet points, and citations to enhance clarity and credibility.

Tone and Style:

4.) Fiction writing tends to be more creative and expressive, utilizing vivid imagery, figurative language, and emotional appeals to connect with readers on a personal level. Nonfiction writing, in contrast, is more objective and factual, employing a neutral tone and clear, concise language to convey information and support arguments.


5.) Fiction is not bound by the constraints of reality, allowing authors to explore hypothetical scenarios, create fantastical worlds, and delve into the depths of human imagination. Nonfiction, on the other hand, is grounded in verifiable truths, drawing upon historical records, scientific research, and personal experiences to substantiate its claims.

Audience Appeal:

6.) Fiction appeals to readers who seek to be transported into captivating stories, explore emotional landscapes, and engage with the human experience through the lens of imagination. Nonfiction attracts readers who are eager to learn new information, expand their knowledge base, and gain insights into various subjects and perspectives.

Role of Author:

7.) In fiction, the author takes on the role of a storyteller, crafting characters, weaving plots, and shaping the narrative to evoke specific emotions and convey underlying themes. In nonfiction, the author assumes the role of an expert or informed individual, presenting factual information, analyzing data, and offering conclusions or recommendations based on their expertise.

Regarding The Differences Between Fiction And Nonfiction Writing, Which Statement Is Most Accurate?

Fiction is imaginative and creative, while nonfiction is objective and factual.

This statement captures the essence of the two genres: fiction draws upon the author’s imagination to create stories and characters, while nonfiction is grounded in verifiable facts and aims to inform or educate readers.

Here’s a breakdown of the statement:

Imaginative and creative: Fiction writers have the freedom to explore any scenario or concept they can envision, crafting characters, settings, and plots that transcend the boundaries of reality. They can introduce fantastical elements, delve into the depths of human emotion, and challenge societal norms through their storytelling.

Objective and factual: Nonfiction writers are constrained by accuracy and objectivity. Their works must adhere to verifiable facts, research findings, or personal experiences that can be substantiated. They present information in a clear, concise, and unbiased manner, avoiding personal opinions or speculative claims.

This distinction between imagination and objectivity is the fundamental difference between fiction and nonfiction. Fiction allows for limitless exploration of the human experience, while nonfiction provides a window into the world as it is, offering insights into various subjects and perspectives.

Essence Of The Difference:

The other statements, while containing some truth, do not fully capture the essence of the distinction between fiction and nonfiction:

Fiction is about emotions and personal experiences, while nonfiction is about facts and information.  Fiction draws on emotions and personal experiences to connect with readers.  But, it is not limited to these themes.  Fiction can also explore philosophical questions, social issues, and historical events, employing imagination to convey its messages.  Nonfiction can also incorporate personal anecdotes, reflections, and emotional appeals to engage readers.  Those appeals must always be grounded in verifiable facts.

Fiction stories entertain.

Nonfiction informs.

Entertainment is a common purpose of fiction, it is not the only one.  Fiction can also serve to educate, persuade, or simply spark curiosity and imagination.  Nonfiction, while primarily aimed at informing, can also entertain through its storytelling elements and the author’s personal touch.


In conclusion, the most accurate statement that captures the essence of the difference between fiction and nonfiction writing is that fiction is imaginative and creative, while nonfiction is objective and factual. This distinction highlights the unique strengths and purposes of each genre, showcasing their ability to engage, inform, and inspire readers in diverse ways.

Doug F

Dad. Little green Army guy. Over-thinker. All I want out of life is an honest week's pay for an honest day's work!

Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: