Questions tagged [non-fiction]

Non-fiction is a form of prose writing that factually describes real events and people, sometimes offering additional commentary. This tag should be used for any questions relating to non-fiction, including non-fiction formatting and technique, non-fiction critiques, and the publishing of non-fiction.

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39 votes
6 answers
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Writing first programming book

I was recently asked if I was interested in writing a book for a pretty reputable publisher, which of course I accepted. I am not a writer by trade, I am a software developer with some technical ...
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

When *should* I use passive voice?

Is there ever a good time to use passive voice in nonfiction?
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6 votes
3 answers
12k views

Do I need permission from people I am writing about if I am writing about a true story that was reported in the media?

I am writing a factual book, that will [hopefully] primarily detail real events that have happened in the past, that are related to the subject of the book. The real events have all been reported in ...
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16 votes
5 answers
89k views

Where can I find sales numbers for books?

I'm a writer, working on a non-fiction book proposal. Finding public, free sales numbers for comparable titles is nearly impossible. BookScan is a subscriber service run by Nielsen. "Above the ...
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11 votes
6 answers
4k views

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life?

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life? Mainly, I have experienced events that I would like to share with the world. These events are somewhat disturbing ...
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Citing speech and interviews in biographies

I am currently writing a biography of a band, and have a question regarding citing quotes, such as from interviews. Is it necessary to cite everything a person (for example a band member or manager) ...
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2 votes
1 answer
291 views

How do you determine whether you know enough to write on a topic?

I guess that title sounds very abstract and "meta." But it points to a real issue that has interfered with my desire to get published and paid as a writer. For background, I have been a writer in ...
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50 votes
9 answers
8k views

The art of clickbait captions

We all have seen at least one of these clickbaits (or some variation thereof): "single mom discovers the meaning of life with a simple trick" or "billionaires don't want you to know this ...
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31 votes
10 answers
1k views

How can one make technical issues more accessible to a non-technical audience?

Most of what I write is non-fiction -- technical books, blog posts on open source topics, political stuff, etc. Lately, I find that some of the topics I am trying to present are much more technical ...
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39 votes
5 answers
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How to write a nice frame challenge?

When answering questions on Stack Exchange, some of us challenge the assumptions of the author. These frame challenges can often be quite popular answers. This popularity, however, can simply be a ...
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8 votes
3 answers
537 views

How to find the right literary agent in the USA?

I want to publish an English language book in the USA as a foreigner. Someone told me that the USA is mainly interested in American subjects, so anything else is quite hard to sell. Besides the fact ...
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13 votes
9 answers
2k views

How to expand my vocabulary? [duplicate]

I wanted to write something for a long time. But what I think is, in writing the choice of words plays a very significant role. From where I can learn this thing? I think I don't have enough words in ...
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9 votes
3 answers
388 views

What to include in agreement with a Ghost Writer. .

I am exploring engaging a Ghost writer to partner with me on the development of a non-fiction (well, mostly) business book. What are the critical elements of the agreement that need to be included?
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4 votes
4 answers
1k views

Strunk and White vs "Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace" by Williams and Colomb

I'd like to improve my writing and have been considering getting either The Elements of Style by Strunk and White or Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Williams and Colomb. What are their ...
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15 votes
5 answers
4k views

How do you come up with non-fiction story ideas?

My biggest problem is that I'm often at a dearth of ideas. I can target a publication or radio show or whatnot once I've got it, but I'm just not good at coming up with them. Tips?
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  • 488
10 votes
9 answers
961 views

Are 'how-to write fiction' books full of it?

I built and sold a business during my first decade of adulthood. During that period, I read a lot of business books published by the popular press. However, I didn't begin to succeed until I ...
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  • 211
10 votes
17 answers
5k views

Does a technical writer need a technical background?

Does a technical writer need a technical background?
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6 votes
2 answers
368 views

How do you write a fiction or non-fiction query letter to an editor?

What do you put in the letter? What if you have no experience, or only very limited experience. Should you write about yourself in the third or first person when explaining your experience?
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  • 1,726
5 votes
2 answers
571 views

Correct order for Thesis Front Matter

What is the correct order of the following pages comprising a doctoral thesis: Title, Abstract, Colophon, Copyright, Dedication, Preface, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of ...
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  • 261
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Tips on engaging the audience in the first chapter?

What are some tips you would recommend to immediately attract a reader, or make the story interesting enough to continue reading? I want to know if there are any specific techniques or ways that you ...
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  • 1,638
3 votes
4 answers
514 views

Is a dramatization of a true story classified as fiction or nonfiction?

I am writing a short story which is a dramatization of a true story. When I classify it, should I tag it as fiction or nonfiction?
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2 votes
3 answers
341 views

Critique: Make excerpt more visual/flow better

I have this excerpt I'm not sure is fluid and visual enough: Peter came out of the café rubbing his tummy. The chipmunk had a smile on the face and seemed content. Not too far behind him was ...
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7 votes
2 answers
438 views

How can I get my non-fiction book reviewed by professional reviewers?

I had my book reviewed by people who are interested in the topic of the book. Now I am interested in reviews by professional book reviewers. What is the appropriate way - directly approaching ...
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  • 253
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

What permissions do I need to write a non-fiction book based on personal interviews?

I am writing a non-fiction book based on recorded interviews with several people. I have recorded verbal consent to be interviewed for the book from each person. One of the interviewees has since ...
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  • 61
4 votes
1 answer
254 views

What is the process for publishing academic papers?

While studying in my first term as EPIR student I had to prepare several papers. I gave those to my family and friends, to read and comment upon. I was surprised when they advised me to publish them. ...
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  • 143
4 votes
4 answers
391 views

What is the most effective way to transition from one paragraph to the next?

I desire to know how to transition smoothly from one paragraph to another in the body text, but there are a number of ways to do it and I don't know which is best. For instance, I could place the ...
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3 votes
4 answers
140 views

How to write a memorial plaque?

I've been tasked with drafting the text for a memorial plaque dedicated to group X. Group X was big, diverse, and had several hundred years of rich history. Amount of space I have is 2-3 sentences. I ...
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2 votes
1 answer
113 views

Novelizing non-fiction, is it worth it?

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 ...
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1 vote
5 answers
257 views

technical subjects - non-fiction vs fiction

This is a question I tried to ask in Novelizing non-fiction, is it worth it? But was un-clear and maybe too generic. Let’s say I am a scuba diving expert and I could write a non-fiction book about ...
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