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Writing nonfiction is more like sculpture, a matter of shaping the research into the finished thing. Novels are like paintings, specifically watercolors. Every stroke you put down you have to go with. Of course you can rewrite, but the original strokes are still there in the texture of the thing.
In fiction, when you paint yourself into a corner, you can write a pair of suction cups onto the bottoms of your shoes and walk up the wall and out the skylight and see the sun breaking through the clouds. In nonfiction, you don't have that luxury.
You can tell a more over-the-top incredible story if you use a nonfiction form.
I don't read for amusement, I read for enlightenment. I do a lot of reviewing, so I have a steady assignment of reading. I'm also a judge for the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, which gives awards to literature and nonfiction.
Joyce Carol Oates
I still believe nonfiction is the most important literature to come out of the second half of the 20th century.
I like nonfiction books about people with wretched lives.
What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material. And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatize it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn't know fully.
V. S. Naipaul
I am consumed, or I have been consumed, with these issues of motherhood and the way we act out societal expectations and roles. So both my nonfiction and my fiction have been pretty much exclusively about that.
I think the goal with any writing, but especially narrative nonfiction, is to put the blockade of putting your thoughts in this unnatural medium of print and then trying to reach through that and actually convey what's going on, what you think, and make people laugh and recognize themselves while doing it. Definitely the laughing thing.
I find interesting characters or lessons that resonate with people and sometimes I write about them in the sports pages, sometimes I write them in a column, sometimes in a novel, sometimes a play or sometimes in nonfiction. But at the core I always say to myself, 'Is there a story here? Is this something people want to read?'
I think Henry Miller has had huge influence not because he wrote about sex, but because the memoir or the nonfiction novel has become such a monumental force in American publishing, if not in literature.
My favourite all-time work of fiction: Lord of the Rings. My favourite all-time nonfiction book: Guns, Germs, and Steel. Ask me again next week, you'll get a different answer.
Orson Scott Card
Whenever you have two characters in a book, whether it's a novel or nonfiction, you run the risk that the reader is going to like one more than the other. They're going to read one chapter and say, 'I can't wait to get back to the other guy.'
In this time of the Internet and nonfiction, to be on an actual bookshelf in an actual bookstore is exciting in itself.
When I write nonfiction, it's always absolutely true. There will be no moment in my nonfiction where I have made something up and have to apologize to the bullying hostess of a talk show.
Nonfiction writers are the packhorses of literature. We're meant to carry the story. If we can make it up and down the mountain by a reliable if not scenic route, we have delivered. Technique is optional.
I don't think the potential for comics in nonfiction has been exploited nearly as much as it could be.
In nonfiction, you have that limitation, that constraint, of telling the truth.
I come from a little island with the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. I come from, really, nowhere, and for me, the fiction and the nonfiction, creative or otherwise, all come from the same place.
My platform has been to reach reluctant readers. And one of the best ways I found to motivate them is to connect them with reading that interests them, to expand the definition of reading to include humor, science fiction/fantasy, nonfiction, graphic novels, wordless books, audio books and comic books.
There is always a certain leap of faith that editors have made with their nonfiction writers. If the trust is broken, things can get very embarrassing for the writers and the publisher.
A. Scott Berg
I've seen a lot of the United States, having stayed in so many different cities and towns for work. It's such a strange and fascinating country, and instead of learning about it through a textbook, I would rather discover its history and traditions and institutions through fiction and nonfiction writers.
Nonfiction speaks to the head. Fiction speaks to the heart. Poetry speaks to the soul. It's the essence of beauty. The essence of pain. It pleases the eye and the ear.
I used to be a freelance journalist, so I had to write fast, but I always found writing nonfiction constraining. I like the freedom of fiction, where I get to invent everything, and tidy, conclusive endings are within my control.
Writing a nonfiction story is like cracking a safe. It seems impossible at the beginning, but once you're in, you're in.
A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
John F. Kennedy
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