Narrative nonfiction writers combine characteristics of narration such as story, tempo, and point of view with nonfiction genres such as the personal essay or memoir. This form of writing can be difficult to define because it depends on how much control you have over the content.
There are two types of narrative nonfiction: fact-based and creative. Fact-based narratives are based on actual events that are documented by one or more sources. Creative narratives are based on facts but also include elements of fiction such as imagined characters, made-up stories, and fantasy scenarios.
Fact-based narratives are usually written in third person while creative narratives tend to be in first person. Third person allows for a wider range of perspectives and scenes to be included while first person often focuses on a single viewpoint. Narratives that combine both factual and fictional elements use these different techniques to provide additional information about the subject.
Fact-based narratives are usually longer than creative narratives because there is more room for documentation of details that aren't important to the story but may help readers understand the subject better. For example, a writer might document public records such as court documents or land deeds with no expectation that this information will influence the overall story but rather for its own merit.
Narrative nonfiction blends aspects of narrative fiction with nonfiction by depicting true-life tales and events via techniques such as plot, pace, characterization, and point of view. The author's use of these elements creates a cohesive whole that is an abstract representation of the subject presented.
Other types of nonfiction include:
Biography uses facts to explain how people like Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and others have changed history through their actions. Biographies are written in the first person, often by well-known figures, and contain an introduction by the author followed by chapters detailing important events in the life of the figure being biographed.
Autobiography focuses on the writer's own experiences during which they attempt to understand what causes us to act out certain behaviors and why we do the things we do. Autobiographies are written in the first person by individuals who have experienced something noteworthy and seek to explain it themselves as well as possible. Common topics included are childhood memories, personal relationships, travels, and other experiences that can be distilled into a meaningful story.
Memoirs are stories about one's own life written by the person who lived it. Memoirs can be based on actual events or simply consist of recollections by the writer.
A tale must be told through narrative writing. Fiction is made-up literature that is not based on true occurrences. Nonfiction is based on true occurrences and may include narrative writing. Characters, story, conflict, place, and point of view are all aspects of narrative composition.
Fiction writers have the freedom to create new characters, locations, and situations that don't exist in reality. This allows fiction writers to offer their readers an experience they cannot get in real life. For example, a writer could describe a character who is blind from birth as opposed to describing an actual person with a disability. This would be impossible because blindness is a permanent condition and can never be born again.
Narrative nonfiction is a subset of nonfiction that uses stories to explain things that cannot be explained otherwise. The story might focus on an event that helped shape how someone thinks or acts. It could also look at different perspectives on an issue by showing what different people think about it. For example, one story could discuss why some people believe that God wants them to pray for others while another story could explain how science views prayer as meaningless noise during neurophysiological processes.
Narrative essays are essays that use stories to explain things that cannot be explained otherwise.
Concerning Narrative Nonfiction
Nonfiction writing, which covers any writing based on true occurrences, comprises a wide range of writing. Literary nonfiction, in this sense, reads like fiction and has story elements such as characters, location, and plot. Personal journals, diaries, memoirs, letters, and essays are forms of literary nonfiction. Political autobiographies, history books, and biographies are other examples.
Literary nonfiction can be difficult to distinguish from fiction because both use language to create images in the mind of the reader. However, literary nonfiction tends to follow a structure that is recognizable as real life while fiction often does not. For example, literary nonfiction usually includes descriptions of settings and events that form a context for the narrative, whereas fiction often uses symbols or metaphors for this purpose.
Also, literary nonfiction tends to focus on one specific event or period in history and explore its implications for future generations, whereas fiction often focuses on various events or periods throughout time and/or multiple characters.
Literary nonfiction is defined as "a written account of facts or incidents, especially those relating to history or science, presented in a manner intended to impart information and educate the reader". Factual writing will generally include some type of analysis or interpretation of these events. The term is broad and can include anything from newspaper articles to scholarly books.
A character is anything that exists in the imagination of the writer or speaker. Characters include people, animals, objects, ideas, etc.
A story is a sequence of events that have some connection with each other. While any event can be a part of a story, most stories follow a plot defined by a typical structure that includes: 1 a beginning, 2 a middle, and 3 an end.
A conflict exists between two characters or groups of characters who want something different from one another. The conflict may be internal, such as a struggle within oneself, or it may be external, such as a fight for survival. Either way, there must be a cause for the conflict to exist; otherwise, it would not be meaningful to the story.
Place refers to the situation where the story takes place. This could be a real-life location or it could be a fantasy world. How you describe this location will affect how readers perceive it. If you use too many specific details about a place, then your audience may think that you know everything about it.