Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fiction vs. Non-fiction

When I embellish a devotional so much that
I shock myself and have to delete whole scenes,
I wonder if I’m a fiction writer after all.

I’ll let you decide.

Please read the following scenes and tell me which you think is a portion of one of my non-fiction stories, and which is a fictional scene I wrote off the cuff from a writing prompt.

1. A smile curved Holly’s lips, but her eyes remained impassive as she bent over the invoice she was totaling. “It won’t help to justify myself; Blaze will find out in the end what sort of person Ryan really is. If I badmouth him to Blaze or the customers, it will only make me look petty and immature. I’m just going to do my job and let God handle things in His time. He told me in Exodus 14 that He’d fight for me if I kept my peace.” Her voice sounded confident , but did I detect a tear trying to escape the corner of one eye as she cranked the radio up a notch?

2. When I came out of the anesthesia two days after the double amputation, I blinked at the sight of my fiancée, Lori, and my brother, Darrell. “Where’s Ray?” I mumbled. “Is he okay?” Lori stroked my forehead with a tender hand, avoiding my gaze. “Just rest, Honey. Ray will be okay. Don’t worry about him.” Darrell left the room, his shoulders heaving with sobs. I knew that was my answer.

I don’t know what this little exercise may prove, unless I discover that fiction is not as daunting as I’ve always believed!

I’ll tell you which is which after I think all the votes are in, so you may want to check back in a day or two to see if you got it right.

In which genre do you write? Does the thought of writing in other genres intimidate you?


  1. Oh this was hard, but I'm going to say that number 1 was fiction. I have no idea, but that is my guess!

    I've never written non-fiction, other than an article or two for a church bulletin. I'm more into escapism. :)

  2. Number two is sad enough that I think it might be real.
    I love my genre of romance! I'd like to write in other subgenres but the only one that really intimidates me would be sci-fi/fantasy. Waaaaaay too many details there. lol

  3. I think the first one is true although both become "real" as I read them and that is a sign of excellent writing. :-) I write strictly non-fiction and the idea of writing fiction scares me! Maybe someday.... Keep writing! You are doing so well. Blessings Clella

  4. Both are equally compelling and believable. Obviously you can do either WELL! I felt stronger emotions with number 2. :O)

  5. I will say one is the prompt and two is the story you wrote.

    I liked both :)

  6. Hi Jen -

    I have an unfair advantage on this one, so I'll pass. :)


  7. I think #1 is your writing and 2 is the prompt. Both are well written!

  8. Yes--you can write fiction!!:)) Both could be in a book:))
    I personally and I've told you this before, have struggled with all the fiction rules. If it weren't for them, I could do it!

  9. Jen:
    Both are good. I believe #1 is your writing and #2 is what you did from a prompt.

  10. Yes, I definitely think you could write fiction if God has planted that seed in your heart. I think #2is fiction, just due to the subject matter. I look forward to hearing the answer!

  11. Definitely. I like to stick with women's fiction. :0)

  12. Okay.

    #1 is a prompt based on a situation from my own life--I am Holly.

    #2 is a true story I ghost wrote eight years ago, and recently was published in the Guideposts anthology From Tragedy to Triumph.

    Thanks for all who played my game; I appreciate your encouragement!

    Love you,

  13. I didn't get a chance to guess, but I would have guessed wrong. You did so well, no one was sure which was which. Good job.

  14. I am too spacy today to make a choice but will say this:

    Your nonfiction packs enough oomph to BE fiction. That's what I love about it.

    Of course my fave? No contest.

  15. I didn't get back here in time to record my guess, but I'm feeling sassy now because I would have been right. ;)

    I write both and don't really have a favourite. I've had magazine articles published over the past ten years, so tend to think I'm probably better at writing non-fiction, but I sure do love dabbling in make-believe worlds.

    Blessings to you,

  16. Jeanette,
    I'm coming to this late (September!). I am answering without having read the other comments or your answer.

    I would guess #1 is fiction and #2 is non-fiction. Why? #2 seemed tighter, less description and more flow of the story.

    Now, I'll check and see what you said.


Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.