Why is there such a negative connotation surrounding nonfiction? Why are our initial reactions that the subjects are dry, not interesting? Why should we read them? The most popular genres in the library are fiction, sci-fi or fantasy. Don’t get me wrong, those books are fun to read, but the pleasure you get out of reading them is fleeting. They will not prepare you for life. After all, isn't that why we read, to gain perspective?
Not all nonfiction is boring. In fact, if written well, it can be described as creative, fluid and beautiful. There is so much more to nonfiction than people realize. The word creative has been criticized when used to describe nonfiction texts, because people believe that being creative means that you have to pretend or exaggerate or make up facts. This is completely incorrect. It is possible to be honest and straightforward and brilliant and creative at the same time.
Creative doesn’t mean inventing what didn’t happen, reporting and describing what wasn’t there. It doesn’t mean that the writer has a license to lie. The basic rule is clear. This is the promise that the writer makes to the reader. The reality can be as complicated as fantasy. Fiction has to come from somewhere; it is just an exaggeration of the truth: “You can’t make this stuff up!”
When we begin to realize that there is just as much creativity that goes into writing nonfiction as there is in fiction, we can truly appreciate it. Take memoirs for instance. It takes dedication and skill to compress one's life into a few hundred pages. It requires craft and patience, while being completely truthful. Many authors are afraid of confessing their pain and the secrets, because their story is not necessarily what the audience wants to hear. But today's generation needs to hear about its past and learn from it.
Today, the memoir phenomena continues to rage in full force. Celebrities, politicians, athletes are making their private lives public. Both victims and heroes are sharing their truth. And readers love these books, yet rarely classify them as nonfiction. The literature of reality is helping to connect the nation and the world in a meaningful and intimate way.
The truth is not boring. Our history is not boring. Our future is not boring. How do people expect to change the world unless they know where we came from, what has already been done and what is still left to do? In order to deal with reality, we need to be experts in all things real.
Lets join the nonfiction revolution.