I have a piece of non-fiction to write that I'll be doing by telling a story. It's somewhere between a news report, op-ed, and historical lesson, but told as a short story.

In this story there are no good guys, nobody who fell from grace, and nobody to save the day. It's just a bunch of bad guys doing a bunch of bad guy stuff. The story also spans several years including today, so there isn't a protagonist or central character to see through the eyes of.

I'm having trouble finding is what genre or style this would be classified if it were being told as a fictitious story. It isn't a dilemma, maybe it's a tragedy, but is there some classification that better fits what I've described?

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    Does the piece sympathise with these "Bad Guys," and is anyone attempting to stop these bad guys? May 31 '20 at 9:33
  • The piece does not sympathise with them, and any editorializations away from the timeline of events that the piece is built around will certainly be negative. As for anyone trying to stop them, there have been a handful of efforts over the years that weren't effective and quickly ran out of steam. May 31 '20 at 14:19
  • Do you mean no heroes or no protagonists? Fiction in general almost has to have a protagonist in order to have a viewpoint to follow or drive the narrative forward. However, those protagonists don't have to be heroic, and can be outright evil. Breaking Bad and Death Note are good examples of works that have villainous protagonists and no good people even in the supporting cast except for extremely minor characters. It wouldn't really be a genre or literary form of its own, just "a story where there are no characters who are decent people". It's a trope choice not a genre/style choice. May 31 '20 at 20:49
  • As an addendum, TvTropes typically calls this Black and Grey Morality or Evil Versus Evil May 31 '20 at 20:51
  • Both, really... There are definitely no heroes and I don't think there's a protagonist either. The case could be made that the last bad guy the story works up to is the protagonist, or even that I or the reader is the protagonist, but that's kind of a stretch. You're probably right about it being a trope choice; I was just hoping that Shakespeare or somebody way back when had written something similar that had a proper name. Jun 1 '20 at 5:24

This is slice of life, a storytelling technique that depicts a period of time without a conventional narrative or plotline, and potentially without an identifiable protagonist. It's relatively uncommon in fiction, but relatively common in documentaries, although those are often really a series of little mini-stories, each with their own protagonist.

At the cinema, Robert Altman and Richard Linklater are two directors often associated with slice-of-life style fiction movies.

You might call your work "slice-of-life, crime-documentary storytelling."

  • This sounds like the best fit. Interestingly enough, I'm a big Richard Linklaer fan, but never knew of the 'slice of life' genre... I just thought he made really interesting off-kilter movies. Thanks for the help! Aug 25 '20 at 13:45

Is it similar to "And then there are none"?

And Then There Are None is classified under:

  • Mystery

  • Crime

  • Psychological thriller

  • Horror

I think your book might fit under one of these (except mystery).

  • The piece details many crimes, so that's the obvious choice. What I'm trying to find out is if there is a more academic term or name for a story that has no heroes that was developed by the historical greats of western literature... and there may not be. May 31 '20 at 14:34

I believe the term you're looking for may be 'Creative Non-Fiction'.

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