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Difference Between Fiction and Nonfiction

Fiction vs Nonfiction

We go to a book store and find books classified as fiction and non fiction. Every year we see Nobel Prize being awarded in fiction as well as non fiction categories. Sometimes it becomes confusing but if you pay attention, the differentiation of literary works into fiction and non fiction would easily become crystal clear. Have you heard of the word Sci-Fi? Did you watch Avatar, the latest blockbuster from James Cameron? If yes, then you know what fiction is. Sci-Fi means science fiction. A book that talks of creatures or characters that are not real but fictitious, made up through imagination of the author is a work of fiction. On the other hand, a book that contains all real events, or talks about real people is a work that is known as non-fiction.

Ever got a chance to read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll? Even though it is a fiction book written nearly 150 years ago, you would feel that you are reading about a real world and the characters that the author talks about look life like. This is the beauty of fiction. Writers make use of their fertile imagination to arouse curiosity that is not possible in non fiction and create characters that look real and one gets immersed in a fiction book. The stupendous success of Harry Potter books is a testimony to the ability of the writer to make fiction look more real than reality.

It is easy to say that fiction is a creation of author’s fertile mind but if one looks around all the fiction written over the last hundred years, one would feel that apart from stories with outlandish characters, nearly all are full of human emotions like romance, hatred, revenge and endeavors that we get to see in real life. In fact, it becomes hard sometimes to decide if fiction is a reflection of what is happening in our society or life gets inspired by fiction.

Non fiction is on the other hand, works that contain facts and figures from the real world. They also contain images of real people who are either alive or lived sometime ago. All autobiographies, journals, history books, textbooks, user manuals etc are examples of non fiction. It is clear then that writers of non fiction cannot use their imagination and merely use their ability to present information in an interesting manner to make non fiction good enough to make people read them.

While one can use his imagination to come to any conclusion in the case of fiction, non fiction has nothing left for imagination as it presents facts and information that is already known to many.

In brief:

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

• Literary works are classified into fiction and non fiction

• Anything that is not real comes within the category of fiction whereas non fiction contains facts and information about real world and its people

• Fiction is all about author’s flight of imagination whereas a non fiction author can at best present facts in an interesting manner

• Some of the most popular literary works belong to fiction category


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