How To Tell The Difference Between Fiction And Non-Fiction Books

Difference Between Fiction And Non-Fiction Books

This article is unique in the sense that it elaborates in detail on the difference between fiction and non-fiction books. For the common man, it’s somehow difficult to tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction. In fact, fiction is considered from the plot generation to settings and characters based on the concept and imagination, on the other hand, nonfiction refers to fact and factual stories focused on actual events and people. However, there is a thin line to differentiate between these two genres.

What is the Major Difference Between Nonfiction and Fiction Books?

Before going into the details, it is important to differentiate these two terms. Nonfiction is a formal field of study and usually includes:

  • Journalism
  • Research
  • Education
  • Psychology

Some of these sub-fields might overlap with some of the other non-fiction fields, while others might be quite distinct. Fiction is a formal genre of writing based on imagination. It doesn’t necessarily require research, reporting, or education. Other genres of fiction might use elements of fiction like romance, crime, mystery, or horror to engage readers, but usually, in the context of these other genres of fiction, which are all subject-matter specific, they would be considered fiction.

Who are some writers that have blurred the line between fiction and nonfiction?

A writer who blends fiction and nonfiction is John Steinbeck. As The Huffington Post noted, Steinbeck was known as a master of nonfiction, making lengthy biographical notes on his subjects for his nonfiction books, such as Tom Sawyer and Travels with Charley.

He is considered unique, however, in his writings which blend fiction and nonfiction, biography and autobiography. In all Steinbeck’s novels, biography and autobiography exist in the same universe.

There’s another writer who has had an enormous influence on the world of books. Famed historian Charles Darwin wrote The Origin of Species, arguably the first science book ever published. For that work, Darwin earned a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine, according to The Telegraph.

What are some books that blur the line between fiction and nonfiction?

Nonfiction books focus on facts and events in human history or society that can provide readers with great insights into how the world works. They’re usually intended for a lay audience, not for professional writers. They contain factual information, with minimal commentary.

Fiction, on the other hand, can include character and setting development, plot, and often, action and dialogue. For example, one of Stephenie Meyer’s The Host’s four sections is about historical figures from the Trojan War, including a “vampire, a man-beast, a beautiful angel, and a brave female warrior.

How do I tell the difference between fiction and nonfiction books?

There are some major differences between fiction and nonfiction books.

Nonfiction books often have factual stories about facts. This type of story includes nonfiction versions of well-known historical events, literature, news, or people. Although fictional books can be nonfiction, they may not focus on fact-based stories.

Fiction books, on the other hand, are fiction—they are made up of stories told through the author’s mind, with fictional characters interacting with their real counterparts. They can also incorporate real-life historical characters into a fictional setting.

Unlike fiction, nonfiction books usually tell stories from a specific point of view. Unlike actual events, nonfiction books typically have no characters, settings, or plot.


Fiction writers don’t necessarily make up the facts, but rather, they use real stories to enhance the plot and the impact that they want readers to feel. Non-fiction writers often refer to their own experiences in their works, but the way they write about them often varies depending on how they want their audience to view them.

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