Difference Between Non-fiction & Fiction Books

In writing, the piece is either fiction or non-fiction. It may be completely fiction, completely non-fiction or a mix of both, with some of the story being true with bits of fiction thrown in to increase its appeal. The simplest way to define fiction and non-fiction is that fiction is made up and non-fiction is true.

Facts or Fiction

Non-fiction stories or pieces of writing focus on events and ideas that have taken place, and nothing is made up. A piece of non-fiction writing could describe history, although in some instances facts may not be spot on. Writers of non-fiction do not want to fabricate the story. Fiction stories focus on imaginary events and stories, whether fantasy or a situation that could happen but has no actual truth.


The characters in non-fiction stories are real people, such as historical figures like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. Fiction characters go by a made up name and may be based on some truth or none at all, depending on the writer's discretion.


The purpose of writing a non-fiction piece is to inform the readers about an event or series of events that have happened. It may be written in a way that is more appealing to a reader to entice readers to learn about it, but all information is completely true. Fiction writers write primarily to entertain readers. They may also write a story based on facts but fabricate it to increase its appeal to readers, such as a book that is based on a true story.


Examples of some works of non-fiction are books in a variety of categories from biographies to home decorating, travel, home improvement, religion, music and of course, history. Works of fiction include classics such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens and "1984" by George Orwell.


Determining whether a story is fact or fiction is sometimes as simple as reading the description or prologue, while other times you may need to ask yourself a few questions. Consider when and where the story takes place and the main characters in the story. Ask yourself whether they are real people or not. Also determine what the main conflict in the story is and compare it to real life experiences with your friends or family.