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Impact of fiction vs non-fiction

This is probably obvious to most people but as I was making a list of 15 books with the most impact on me the other day and while I was making the list I noticed that most of the books I was listing were fiction. That seemed odd to me since most of the books I read are non-fiction. Then I began wondering why that is the way it is. I think it’s that non-fiction usually gets integrated into the readers knowledge, filling in gaps in knowledge, but rarely offers something that changes how you view things. Fiction can go in directions you don’t expect and as such it can really hit you.

6 Responses to “Impact of fiction vs non-fiction”

  1. 1
    yvonne Says:

    I think there’s an emotional element to most fiction that’s not as frequently present in non-fiction. Humans love a good story with an emotional tie, so if your non-fiction is something like Helen Keller you can tap into that but if it’s Java programming or How to Grow More Vegetables, not so much. Maybe something like quantum physics if you hadn’t been otherwise exposed but then that would map with your idea of things that change your perspective.

  2. 2
    Douglas Says:

    I was going to mention the emotional impact and that most authors try for that but it wasn’t coming out right. I think you said what I was thinking about fiction better than what I was floundering with.

  3. 3
    Chris Warren Says:

    Hi Doug

    Yes, I think Yvonne is right, but I’d take it a stage further. The thing with fiction and particularly genres such as fantasy, adventure, SF, etc. is that the reader not only has the opportunity to engage in emotion, but can also identify with the characters in a way that allows them to ‘escape’ everyday life – and we all like to do that sometimes.

    I recently had my first fiction book published, Randolph’s Challenge Book One-The Pendulum Swings (it’s the first book in a fantasy trilogy). I’ve been published with non-fiction before (HR Mangement). Certainly the reaction I get from my readers of Randolph’s Challenge is very different from that I got from ‘Personnel Administration Manual’. The impact on them is at a personal level rather than a day-to-day work orientated level.

    Chris Warren
    Author and Freelance Writer
    Randolph’s Challenge Book One-The Pendulum Swings

  4. 4
    Douglas Says:

    Hi Chris,

    It’s true that readers can identify with characters for an escape but I don’t think that’s what creates a memorable book. Thinking about it I don’t think I really identified with any characters in the books I found memorable. I think what happens in the cases of those books is I get drawn in and start hoping for a character. Like being an advocate with no voice in the story. Perhaps it’s something about the struggles they go through and the obstacles they encounter that makes them memorable.

    Congratulations on getting published!

  5. 5
    Mohammed Fusselman Says:

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  6. 6
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