Non-fiction

Non-fiction

Overview
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

, account
Report
A report is a textual work made with the specific intention of relaying information or recounting certain events in a widely presentable form....

, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact
Fact
A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be shown to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts...

. This presentation may be accurate or not—that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question—however, it is generally assumed that authors of such accounts believe them to be truthful at the time of their composition or, at least, pose them to their audience as historical
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

ly or empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

ly true.
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Encyclopedia
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

, account
Report
A report is a textual work made with the specific intention of relaying information or recounting certain events in a widely presentable form....

, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact
Fact
A fact is something that has really occurred or is actually the case. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiability, that is whether it can be shown to correspond to experience. Standard reference works are often used to check facts...

. This presentation may be accurate or not—that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question—however, it is generally assumed that authors of such accounts believe them to be truthful at the time of their composition or, at least, pose them to their audience as historical
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

ly or empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

ly true. Note that reporting the beliefs of others in a non-fiction format is not necessarily an endorsement of the ultimate veracity of those beliefs, it is simply saying it is true that people believe them (for such topics as mythology
Mythology
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...

, religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

). Non-fiction can also be written about fiction
Fiction
Fiction is the form of any narrative or informative work that deals, in part or in whole, with information or events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary—that is, invented by the author. Although fiction describes a major branch of literary work, it may also refer to theatrical,...

, giving information about these other works.

Non-fiction is one of the two main divisions in writing, particularly used in libraries, the other form being fiction. However, non-fiction need not be written text necessarily, since pictures and film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 can also purport to present a factual account of a subject.

Major types of non-fiction


Essay
Essay
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...

s, journals, diaries, documentaries
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

, histories
Histories
Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to:* Histories , by Herodotus* The Histories, by Timaeus* The Histories , by Polybius* Histories , by Tacitus...

, scientific papers, photograph
Photograph
A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of...

s, biographies
Biography
A biography is a detailed description or account of someone's life. More than a list of basic facts , biography also portrays the subject's experience of those events...

, textbook
Textbook
A textbook or coursebook is a manual of instruction in any branch of study. Textbooks are produced according to the demands of educational institutions...

s, travel books, blueprint
Blueprint
A blueprint is a type of paper-based reproduction usually of a technical drawing, documenting an architecture or an engineering design. More generally, the term "blueprint" has come to be used to refer to any detailed plan....

s, technical documentation, user manuals
Technical writer
A technical writer is a professional writer who designs, creates, and maintains technical documentation...

, diagram
Diagram
A diagram is a two-dimensional geometric symbolic representation of information according to some visualization technique. Sometimes, the technique uses a three-dimensional visualization which is then projected onto the two-dimensional surface...

s and some journalism
Journalism
Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

 are all common examples of non-fiction works, and including information that the author knows to be untrue within any of these works is usually regarded as dishonest. Other works can legitimately be either fiction or non-fiction, such as journals of self-expression, letters, magazine
Magazine
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...

 articles, and other expressions of imagination. Although they are mostly either one or the other it is possible for there to be a blend of both. Some fiction may include non-fictional elements. Some non-fiction may include elements of unverified supposition, deduction
Deductive reasoning
Deductive reasoning, also called deductive logic, is reasoning which constructs or evaluates deductive arguments. Deductive arguments are attempts to show that a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises or hypothesis...

, or imagination
Imagination
Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability of forming mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses...

 for the purpose of smoothing out a narrative
Narrative
A narrative is a constructive format that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word derives from the Latin verb narrare, "to recount", and is related to the adjective gnarus, "knowing" or "skilled"...

, but the inclusion of open falsehoods would discredit it as a work of non-fiction.

Distinctions


The numerous literary and creative devices used within fiction are generally thought inappropriate for use in non-fiction. They are still present particularly in older works but they are often muted so as not to overshadow the information within the work. Simplicity, clarity and directness are some of the most important considerations when producing non-fiction. Audience is important in any artistic or descriptive endeavour but it is perhaps most important in non-fiction. In fiction, the writer believes that readers will make an effort to follow and interpret an indirectly or abstractly presented progression of theme, whereas the production of non-fiction has more to do with the direct provision of information. Understanding of the potential readers' use for the work and their existing knowledge of a subject are both fundamental for effective non-fiction. Despite the truth of non-fiction it is often necessary to persuade the reader to agree with the ideas and so a balanced, coherent and informed argument is a
so vital. Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 said, paraphrased: "The difference between fiction and nonfiction is that fiction must be absolutely believable." Nonfiction is something that is true. That are stories that are real or true.

Semi-fiction is fiction implementing a great deal of non-fiction, e.g. a fictional descriptions based on a true story
Based on a True Story
-Credits:*Max Bemis – background vocals on "Ready"*David Gold – viola*Mike Golla – guitar, percussion, celeste*Tom Gryskiewicz – drums, percussion*Taguchi Hiroka – violin*Amy Kimbal – violin*Benjy King – Hammond B3...

.

History


Cave painting
Cave painting
Cave paintings are paintings on cave walls and ceilings, and the term is used especially for those dating to prehistoric times. The earliest European cave paintings date to the Aurignacian, some 32,000 years ago. The purpose of the paleolithic cave paintings is not known...

s, from 32,000 years ago, are one of the oldest forms of human expression and could be either a record of what prehistoric man caught on hunting trips, i.e. non-fiction, or alternately a story expressing what they would like to catch on future occasions, i.e. fiction. If cave art is ambiguous on this matter then cuneiform
Cuneiform script
Cuneiform script )) is one of the earliest known forms of written expression. Emerging in Sumer around the 30th century BC, with predecessors reaching into the late 4th millennium , cuneiform writing began as a system of pictographs...

 inscriptions which hold the earliest writings seem to have been initially for non-fiction.

Much of the non-fiction produced throughout history is of a mundane and everyday variety such as records and legal documents which were only ever seen by a few and are of little interest except to the historian. The non-fiction that transcends its original time tends to be viewed as either exceptionally well made or perfectly embodying the ideas, manners and attitudes of the time it was produced, even if it was not actually created as history.

At any one time in history there is the body of non-fiction work which represents the currently accepted truths of the period. Although these non-fiction works may be contradictory they form a corpus that is regularly being altered with better explanations of ideas or with new facts. A good example of this are the non-fiction scientific books and papers which explain the science of the day but are then superseded by better representations. Textbooks for explaining and teaching the current state of scientific and historical knowledge are regularly updated and manuals for operating new technology are also produced.

Specific types of non-fiction


  • Almanac
    Almanac
    An almanac is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, and tide tables, containing tabular information in a particular field or fields often arranged according to the calendar etc...

  • Autobiography
    Autobiography
    An autobiography is a book about the life of a person, written by that person.-Origin of the term:...

  • Biography
    Biography
    A biography is a detailed description or account of someone's life. More than a list of basic facts , biography also portrays the subject's experience of those events...

  • Blueprint
    Blueprint
    A blueprint is a type of paper-based reproduction usually of a technical drawing, documenting an architecture or an engineering design. More generally, the term "blueprint" has come to be used to refer to any detailed plan....

  • Book report
  • Creative nonfiction
    Creative nonfiction
    Creative nonfiction is a genre of writing that uses literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate narratives. Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism, which is also rooted in accurate fact, but is not primarily written in service...

  • Design document
    Design document
    A software design document is a written description of a software product, that a software designer writes in order to give a software development team an overall guidance of the architecture of the software project. An SDD usually accompanies an architecture diagram with pointers to detailed...

  • Diagram
    Diagram
    A diagram is a two-dimensional geometric symbolic representation of information according to some visualization technique. Sometimes, the technique uses a three-dimensional visualization which is then projected onto the two-dimensional surface...

  • Diary
    Diary
    A diary is a record with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. A personal diary may include a person's experiences, and/or thoughts or feelings, including comment on current events outside the writer's direct experience. Someone...

  • Dictionary
    Dictionary
    A dictionary is a collection of words in one or more specific languages, often listed alphabetically, with usage information, definitions, etymologies, phonetics, pronunciations, and other information; or a book of words in one language with their equivalents in another, also known as a lexicon...

  • Nonfiction films (e.g. documentaries)
  • Encyclopedia
    Encyclopedia
    An encyclopedia is a type of reference work, a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge....

  • Essay
    Essay
    An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...

  • Guides and manuals
    User guide
    A user guide or user's guide, also commonly known as a manual, is a technical communication document intended to give assistance to people using a particular system...

  • Handbook
    Handbook
    A handbook is a type of reference work, or other collection of instructions, that is intended to provide ready reference .A handbook is sometimes referred to as a vade mecum or pocket reference that is intended to be carried at all times.Handbooks may deal with any topic, and are generally...

  • History
    History
    History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

  • Journal (disambiguation)
    Journal (disambiguation)
    Journal may refer to:* a written medium, for instance:** an academic journal** a diary** a literary magazine, a periodical devoted to literature** a daily newspaper** a scientific journal...

  • Journalism
    Journalism
    Journalism is the practice of investigation and reporting of events, issues and trends to a broad audience in a timely fashion. Though there are many variations of journalism, the ideal is to inform the intended audience. Along with covering organizations and institutions such as government and...

  • Letter
  • Literary criticism
    Literary criticism
    Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

  • Memoir
    Memoir
    A memoir , is a literary genre, forming a subclass of autobiography – although the terms 'memoir' and 'autobiography' are almost interchangeable. Memoir is autobiographical writing, but not all autobiographical writing follows the criteria for memoir set out below...

  • Natural history
    Natural history
    Natural history is the scientific research of plants or animals, leaning more towards observational rather than experimental methods of study, and encompasses more research published in magazines than in academic journals. Grouped among the natural sciences, natural history is the systematic study...

  • Philosophy
    Philosophy
    Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

  • Photograph
    Photograph
    A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of...

  • Research paper
    Research paper
    Research paper may refer to:* Academic paper , which is published in academic journals and contains original research results or reviews existing results* Term paper, written by high school or college students...

  • Science book
    Science book
    A science book is a work of nonfiction, usually written by a scientist, researcher, or professor like Stephen Hawking , or sometimes by a non-scientist such as Bill Bryson...

  • Scientific paper
  • Statute
    Statute
    A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

  • Textbook
    Textbook
    A textbook or coursebook is a manual of instruction in any branch of study. Textbooks are produced according to the demands of educational institutions...

  • Travelogue
    Travel literature
    Travel literature is travel writing of literary value. Travel literature typically records the experiences of an author touring a place for the pleasure of travel. An individual work is sometimes called a travelogue or itinerary. Travel literature may be cross-cultural or transnational in focus, or...



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