Types of Fiction and Nonfiction
Fiction and nonfiction are two notions that together represent every form of writing. One definition of fiction is that it is known to the reader as a work of the imagination while nonfiction is always based solely on fact, even if it contains a form of bias. Both fiction and nonfiction contain various types, many of which have given rise to subgenres.
Novels and Myths
A popular narrative form, a novel contains a story that is substantially derived from the imagination of the author. The novel has given birth to a myriad of subtypes, including romances, thrillers and horror stories. Historically speaking, the novel typically presents a more realistic portrayal of life than myths, but fantastical elements are commonplace in some novel genres, such as science fiction. Myths tend to be shorter stories that aim to explain natural phenomena, such as death or the weather, in a nonscientific way. These tales date back to the limited understanding ancient people had of the world and feature extraordinary deeds and gods, thus classifying myths as fiction.
Created to be performed in some capacity, performance fiction is, like a novel, a work featuring characters and situations that are not necessarily factual in nature. This type of fiction provides lines of dialogue as well as visual indications for staging the performance so individuals can tell the story. This type of fiction is represented by movies, television programs and theater and radio plays, which combine a visual setting and physical performance with the script to tell a story.
Fiction isn't necessarily written down, and some stories are presented in an oral form. These include spoken ballads, folktales, songs and even fairy tales told to young children by their parents. Many pieces of oral fiction were created centuries ago and have since been passed through generations through repeated telling. Fiction in an oral tradition is often fluid and mutable, with details of the story changing depending on the teller. Oral stories, therefore, count as fiction even if they are based around real events.
Media texts include radio broadcasts, television news bulletins and newspaper articles, all of which will be written to accommodate the specific audience the authors aim to reach. Media texts are a form of nonfiction because they are intended to convey facts. Media texts may attempt to persuade the reader in some way, and few are created without a bias of some description. Media texts claim to be factually accurate, but readers must beware that inaccuracy and even deliberate exclusions may warp the finished product.
Advertisements are another type of nonfiction that have been sculpted to appeal to and influence a certain audience and are often intended to persuade people to buy a product or use a specific service. Adverts are hardly without bias, but, because misleading consumers is viewed as bad practice, adverts must draw on facts, thus classifying them as a type of nonfiction.
Reference books aim to detail known facts about a particular subject, whether flora and fauna, scientific processes or noteworthy individuals, which makes reference works a type of nonfiction. While some reference texts limit themselves to simply outline the important information, the authors of others may ditch a straightforward style in favor of a more emotionally involving read.
Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.