It’s akin to asking ‘Which came first – the chicken or the egg?”
I came across two divergent viewpoints in the last month.
One creative writer said that writing non-fiction is very easy because it comes naturally to her. While writing fiction takes some amount of time to ideate the plot, conduct research, flesh out the characters, and boil it all down to a satisfying conclusion.
On the other end of the spectrum, a Corporate Communications professional dismissed fiction writing, belittling all such works as a mushy blob of goop.
I don’t agree with either. It’s like comparing apples to oranges honestly.
For The Cause Of Non-Fiction
Non-fiction writing is not easy. It looks deceptively easy, but it’s not. A lot of novice writers find it easy because they can read a lot of diverse views from books, off the internet, and other sources. They generally tend to get carried away by a singular linear point of view, weigh in their two cents, and think that they are done. But, therein lies the problem.
Most non-fiction writing is anything but original and balanced. Most of the non-fiction articles, be it opinion posts, reviews, and likes are like half-baked potatoes, spiced with fancy vocabulary, and excessive verbiage.
Ultimately, it ends up being lapped up by a minority group who adheres to that philosophy or puked out by the opposing group and the balanced centrists.
For The Love Of Fiction
Fiction writing is not easy. It’s not rocket science either.
But, you need a lot of patience and have the gumption to sit through several drafts of work to come up with something spectacular.
Fiction writing is not for the faint-hearted. More so, if you are planning to venture into writing full-fledged novels. You need the patience and commitment to pull through the entire project. If you have the access and money to hire a good editor, you’re in luck as you can save time there because editing is another back-breaking job.
The great thing about fiction is that you can be as bizarre as you desire. And you’ll still be worthy of respect. In fact, the more outrageous, the more respect you command. You can let your imagination loose and fly over unexplored territories. Unlike non-fiction writing where you need to make whole sense, or you’re rubbished as a pseudointellectual.
The Reality Check
If you think that it’s easier to venture into non-fiction writing, then it’s time to do a quick reality check. You need to be extremely cautious when you write non-fiction. It’s an over-saturated market that’s filled with expert thought-leaders, change-makers, achievers, and more. The non-fiction genre is where the big bucks are. So, you have to conduct proper research, and your thoughts have to be original, ground-breaking, and create value to the readers.
Fiction is a much smaller market with low growth or audience. Not everyone has the talent, business acumen, patience, and access to/money for a high-quality publishing house to come up with spectacular fictional work.
Mediocrity is hailed and floods both the markets in the current times.
The Final Say
Both non-fiction and fiction writing have their worthy merits and challenges. And, neither of the two categories can be dismissed as being ‘too easy’ or some mushy gibberish by either camps.
For me, the challenging part is to switch my state of mind, mood, and style to be true to a particular category, and its genre.
But you know what I find even more challenging than the two of late?
But let’s keep that for another day — another article.