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There are a few lifestyle subjects where I feel I need to write non-fiction books.

The problem is that in these fields, most of what is published is 101 intro manuals, while my takes to the field are mostly for advanced practitioners.

If I do write them as non-fiction, I probably would have to include 101 basics, before delving into the specialized notions.

Also, I am not sure that an explanatory text, perorating a theoretical lecture, is the best medium for convey my contribution on these subjects.

I though that maybe it would be better to show instead of telling by having a character who is a practitioner of these subjects. The protagonist would reach these “advanced” notions, or realizations, through the dramatization of the story.

The goal is of course to reach the most people, so specialized non-fiction or dramatized novel?

  • Can you give us an idea of topics. – S. Mitchell Jun 21 '15 at 20:04
  • lifestyle, such as specialized new-age subjects, obviously a highly technical field would not be eligible for novelization – Reed Jun 21 '15 at 20:09
  • I own a Java programing manual which interweaves narrative with examples code and tables of technical data. Highly technical can have elements of novel. – S. Mitchell Jun 21 '15 at 21:05
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My favorite example of presenting a very technical subject in an informal manner is Designing an Authentication System: a Dialogue in Four Scenes. When you read it you will be able to see that there is no limit on how technical a subject you can cover in light prose, and that in some cases it is better than formal styles. So we know it can be done, the question remains, which is the better way? Would a formal style convey the information better? Which would be more likely to be read? You are assuming that a novelization would be easier to read and therefore more popular, and I would tend to agree with you, but I have no evidence to support that point of view. On the other hand it appears that you are also assuming that the novelization would not be as effective at conveying information. I would strongly disagree with that position. There however would be three drawbacks to what you are proposing:

  • You must know your subject matter backwards and forwards. If there are more than fifteen people in the world that know the subject better than you there is a good chance you are going to flop.
  • You must be an excellent writer. I cannot think of three published fiction writers that I know to be able to do it. There is only one that I know to be capable.
  • You Will have to increase your writing time estimates.

If you can do it, It will be worth doing, but not easy.

  • 1
    That's a great answer and I appreciate the link to the MIT story. – raddevus Jun 22 '15 at 20:31

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