This is a guest post by my friend and writing colleague, Jo Parfitt. I’ve recently read her new book and loved it so much I wanted to let my readers know about a book full of Sunshine!
Same, but different
As an author, I know how hard it is to write a book. I know the heady feeling of excitement that is experienced when I first get my ‘brilliant idea’ and I recognize the thrill of producing those first few pages. I also know the familiar thud of despair when I near the finish line, usually about 95 per cent of the way through and suddenly lose all my confidence. Despite my latest book, Sunshine Soup, being my 28th book, I have discovered that things often do not get any better and that even though I crossed genres, much stays the same.
This was my first foray into fiction. I knew that fiction was way too much like hard work and so I focused, instead, on writing non-fiction – articles, how to books, cookbooks and guides, even a volume of poetry. Like the child who leaves his spinach on his plate, I saved the worst til last, knowing that it would ultimately be better for me.
And so I crossed genres. I defected to the other side. Along the way I discovered that writing fiction was every bit as hard as I had thought it might be and while my finished product was totally different from my earlier books, fact and fiction had much in common.
Comparing fact and fiction
- Both fiction and non-fiction need to be compelling. The reader needs to be persuaded to keep turning pages. Fiction does this with plot, pace and character. Non-fiction uses interesting examples, case studies and stories that illustrate the point you are trying to make.
- Just as a novel needs to have a plot and a definite order in which events occur, non-fiction needs to have carefully crafted chapters that appear in a logical order, each building on the one that went before. I believe that fact and fiction both benefit from being written to a formula.
- The author’s expertise should lend authority and authenticity to the book, either because of his experience or because
- of in depth research.
- Both fiction and non-fiction authors should know their reader. If their reader may not have English as a first language then the vocabulary and sentence construction should be easy to follow, not simplistic, but clear.
- Whether you write fiction or non-fiction your book should still adhere to at least one of the following:
- It should inspire
- It should inform
- It should support
- It should entertain
Writing is writing as far as I am concerned. And while the rules and methods are similar across genres, some forms of writing are simply much easier to produce than others, while others, owing to the blood, sweat and tears that are required, are way more satisfying.
Jo Parfitt – author of Sunshine Soup, nourishing the global soul. Out now. Price £8.47 and available on Amazon. Find out more at www.joparfitt.com, www.summertimepublishing.com and www.expatbookshop.com