Is It Truth or Fiction?

Q. I’m sorry to bother you, but I would like to ask you a question. I have just finished writing a book about [true events in the U.S. in] 1948. The facts are accurate; however, I did use fiction to fill in between the actual events. How do I determine whether this is fiction or nonfiction?
        – Scott

A. It’s fiction.  If anything anywhere is made up, it has to be fiction.  This gets complicated, though.  If you’re making some parts up and calling it fiction, then it gets dangerous to have lots of real people and names thrown in there, because you could get sued because you’re including them in a story that is not 100% true.
       My advice?  Do however much research it takes to piece together these parts you have to make up.  Figure out what happened and make the entire story nonfiction.  Writing it as “narrative nonfiction” allows your readers to experience this journey as it unfolds, like a novel would.  Narrative nonfiction is a bit “hot” right now, so this is your best bet.

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One thought on “Is It Truth or Fiction?

  1. JohnO

    "How do I determine whether this is fiction or nonfiction?"

    Gadzooks, that’s a disturbing question. But maybe it augurs a trend to marketing books on a sliding "truthiness" scale — that way my realistic fiction might be able to steal a few sales from those parvenus over in narrative nonfiction.

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