Sunday, June 1, 2014

My 5 Nonfiction Mistakes

Seems like every blog I read lately has a top 5 or 10 or 20 of something. Or a list of 5 or 10, do’s or don’ts.  I am not an exception, I occasionally post lists, and you know what, I like them. Today I have another – My top five list for things to avoid in writing nonfiction.

For those who have read my posts for a while, you already know, I have two fiction books ready for publication but keep putting it off. Now I have a nonfiction almost ready. I am not without publication experience, having many short stories and a large amount of nonfiction in print. But when it came to publishing my books – I keep skipping out. Now I have a goal, publish all three of my books and two collections of short stories in the next year. Wish me luck!

And now that list

Five Things To Avoid When Writing Nonfiction.

1.    When using footnotes or endnotes, like I did, make a memo of the source as you note it. Do not do what I did, add the endnote number and hope you can remember where it came from later. Yes, I had to go back and find them all – again.

2.   Outline before you start – I use just a list of chapter titles to keep me on track. Writing fiction with, stream of consciousness, can work, not so with nonfiction.

3.   It is often better to quote than to paraphrase. Gets to the point better.

4.   Photos work and are needed in nonfiction, they are unnecessary and cumbersome in fiction

5.   When you start writing, quit researching and write. If you need to fact check more, save it for the first edit.
Built By the CCC and the Inspiration for My Nonfiction Work

These are the things that held me back and slowed me down. If I do another nonfiction, and I have one in planning, I will at least avoid these five mistakes.


Oscar Case said...

I wish you luck and hope you can overcome these mistakes in the future.

Maryannwrites said...

Having done nine nonfiction books before my first novel was published, I can attest to the importance of your 5 points. I do like that you make a distinction between writing fiction and nonfiction when it comes to the importance of outlining. It is a very different process. In nonfiction it's more about organizing material around a main topic, and fiction is more spontaneous creating. At least that is the way it works for me.

Neil A. Waring said...

Thanks for the comments. I love writing and just as much love learning about writing.