Discuss: Writing Non-Fiction


On this blog, we talk mostly about fiction writing. But I know many fiction authors who can stray over to the non-fiction side of the pond from time to time. Recently I’ve been thinking about writing a few short non-fiction pieces to submit to some of my favorite blogs. So I thought I would focus on non-fiction for this week’s discussion post.

Just as with fiction, there are many different directions you could take non-fiction in. Creative non-fiction can include stories about your own life in the style of someone like David Sedaris. I took an entire class on creative non-fiction in college and I really liked the pieces that I created there.

If you’d rather not write about yourself, you could take non-fiction in more of a research direction. Find an issue that you’re passionate about, research it thoroughly, and then write an opinion piece or a piece that examines your findings in a theoretical way.

You could also write a straight opinion piece about something that’s going on in the world today. What makes you happy? What makes you sad? What kind of opinion do you want to express? Where do you think your opinion would fit into the existing discussion?

Once you have your piece written, you should search for the perfect publication where you can submit your work–either online or in print. You should find a publication that fits the tone of the piece that you wrote, as well as the content. Sure, your content may be news-based, but you should find a news-related publication that takes the same tone that you took. Oftentimes, websites will have a submissions page that explains what their tone is and what types of pieces they typically accept. That’s where you should look to determine which publication suits your work best.

All that’s left to do, of course, is to submit and hope for the best. Make sure that you submit your work in the way that the publication has specified, taking care to follow any email-related directions such as subject line.

Have you ever been inspired to try your hand at non-fiction? What is a publication you’d like to submit to? Share your thoughts in the comments!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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