Friday, May 04, 2007


I don’t know how anyone writes nonfiction. Or why they’d want to. I finished the first draft of a piece for a magazine yesterday. It’s true that I don’t feel like writing anything now, but this had to be done as I had agreed.

I don’t think writing nonfiction is fun. I also don’t think writing fiction is fun, although it has its moments. It doesn’t feel like there is anything creative about nonfiction. Things are pulled from here and there and, in this case, from my memory.

It’s much more like filling in a puzzle to me. I suppose I should like puzzles considering what I usually write. But I knew the end of this puzzle and I didn’t have to invent characters. I didn’t have to invent anything and I think that’s why writing nonfiction leaves me cold.

This is a first for me. I hope the editors will be happy with my effort. I can’t help worrying that they’re going to reject it.

I have to believe that if they do reject it it’s because the piece is lousy. And then I should be grateful that it won’t be read by anyone else. Shouldn’t I? Will my ego allow me to view it this way?

I doubt it.


Jess said...

I agree, and nonfiction is where I got my start. Now, I teach basic nonfiction writing online for a regional university. When I wrote profiles for a chamber of commerce magazine, I kept getting a little too creative ... creative NF? ... kept going round and round with the editor. Yep, for me, NF has its moments but not many of them.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You must be harder on yourself than anyone I know. Maybe being your own harshest critic serves a purpose, but I hope you have someone to tell you what a great writer you are. If not, I am right now.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Thank you, Patti. I don't think this particular example is being hard on myself. Some people would say the same about having to write a piece of fiction. I'm simply not a nonfiction writer.

Do I come across as a total neurotic?

Sly said...

Sandra I don't think you come off as a total neurotic but rather as an individual who knows herself.
I'm just the opposite from you I write nonfiction the best. I'm not sure if it's that I'm not a creative enough writer but I seem to get lost along the way and can't find my way back to a scene in fiction.

I can do fiction if it's poetry but I don't seem to be able to do book length fiction. Some of my poems are pretty long though kind of like small stories. Not that I'm comparing myself to him but rather in the nature of Hayden Carruth and his The Sleeping Beauty has great story and reflects also a lot of how I see the world, particularly stanza 66 and 67.

My fiction tends to loll around in drawers and then pops up one day and wants to be out in the light.

I don't think the world is going to run out of fiction writers any time soon so I'm not terrilby worried about it. :-)

Weasel1 said...

Writing nonfiction is too easy. I can blaze away and spill my guts and write nonfiction all day. The hard
part is to write fiction which involves vivid imagination, character development and unreal discipline. I'm only now able to write fiction.
I think that nonfiction is boring and fiction is so much more exciting because so much more can happen.

I'm currently writing a movie script. I wrote a 450 page children's book and I'm working on several novels but concentrating on just one right now. My friends all egg me on to write daily.

Blake Southwood

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Writing daily is key to success.

Jess said...

I hope you'll let us know about the article, Sandra. Heard anything yet?