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kousa
10-03-2009, 06:46 AM
The book I am completing is non-fiction, but includes two chapters that are fiction and one chapter that is part fiction. What method is available to alert the reader of the fiction parts of the book? Or is it necessary to alert the reader, if the fiction parts are presented only to add humor to the otherwise serious topics?

Thanks in advance.

angeliz2k
10-03-2009, 01:03 PM
This seems like an odd method. I've never seen books that mix fiction and nonfiction, as in parts are fiction and parts are nonfiction. How could you sell that? If you want people to read it, where would it go in the bookstore?

Why is it you want to throw in those three fiction chapters? Are you sure that's necessary or even desirable? I would encourage you to choose fiction or nonfiction.

My doubts aside, you would have to alert the reader very clearly, probably with a different style of chapter heading and something that says (for instance") "Very Important Person speaks . . . " (this would particularly work if the fiction were in first person).

benbradley
10-03-2009, 05:07 PM
There's Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" in which there is "fictional" parts in which he has a conversation with a version of himself living 100 years in the future. The "non-fiction" parts of the book are all exposition, and the "fiction" parts are dialogue. He even introduces it as a fictional dialogue between himself from the current time and "Ramona" from 100 years in the future. (Some may see the whole book as fiction, but that's a topic for another thread)

What exactly is "part fiction?" Is it that some parts of the chapter are fiction and some are not?

alleycat
10-03-2009, 05:16 PM
I have seen this done.

One example that comes to mind is Seedtime on the Cumberland, a book about the early settlement of Tennessee and Kentucky. There is a chapter of a fictional story about a pioneer family crossing a raging creek, or something like that; the rest of the book is a factual account of pioneer life.

You might even stretch the definition a bit and say Life on the Mississippi is nonfiction and fiction, since Twain includes part of Huckleberry Finn in the book.

lkp
10-04-2009, 06:55 AM
I was thinking that this would really annoy me, but when I read the examples others gave, I realized that if I were reading a non-fiction book that had a few chapters that were essentially presented as short stories, illustrating the non-fiction parts, that might work well.

I am confused by a chapter that is part fiction, however. I think that's like being a little bit pregnant. Put it this way, 80% of my novel is based on real people and real incidents, but the 20% that is not makes it 100% fiction.

kousa
10-04-2009, 07:47 PM
How could you sell that? If you want people to read it, where would it go in the bookstore?

Why is it you want to throw in those three fiction chapters? Are you sure that's necessary or even desirable? I would encourage you to choose fiction or nonfiction.
===============================

It could go into both fiction and non-fiction sections of the bookstores.

Including the fiction because it adds much to the book. All of it is humorous.

kousa
10-04-2009, 07:56 PM
There's Ray Kurzweil's "The Age of Spiritual Machines" in which there is "fictional" parts in which he has a conversation with a version of himself living 100 years in the future. The "non-fiction" parts of the book are all exposition, and the "fiction" parts are dialogue. He even introduces it as a fictional dialogue between himself from the current time and "Ramona" from 100 years in the future. (Some may see the whole book as fiction, but that's a topic for another thread)

What exactly is "part fiction?" Is it that some parts of the chapter are fiction and some are not?

=========================

Two chapters are all fiction and part of one chapter is fiction.

Steam&Ink
10-16-2009, 03:28 PM
Hi kousa, welcome to AW.

I don't think you have given enough information here to get more than general advice just yet. Can you please more specific about:

- what the book is about,
- what function the fiction parts will serve (i.e will they, like the example benbradley gave above, illustrate the information in a short-story way?)
- what the fiction parts will be like (i.e will they be dialogue between two people, or several small vignettes, or an ongoing story over the 2.5 chapters?)
- and any other information you can furnish.

I'm sure once you have given a bit more info there will be several people who are able to give you specific advice.
People at AW are really helpful and friendly, so I'm sure you'll enjoy your time here.

Doogs
10-16-2009, 09:20 PM
Not sure I'd call it fiction, per se, but Norman Cantor's Civilization of the Middle Ages includes an interesting break in the historical narrative where it follows a fictional monk (I believe...it's been ten years since I've read it) on a walking tour of Europe in the year 1000. It really broke with the usual comings and goings of kings and armies and warlords and provided a pretty nifty ground-eye perspective of what was going on.

As I said, not exactly fiction, but a departure from typical non-fiction as well. Maybe worth taking a look at.

Libbie
10-19-2009, 06:30 PM
William Kalush did this in "The Secret Life of Houdini." Personally, I hated it. I found the structure to be really distracting and although the author differentiated the "factual" bits (I use that word in the most liberal sense, given the content of the book) from the fictional bits with a scene break and a noticeable change in narrative structure, it soon became so confusing to follow what was going on that I gave up reading less than halfway through. The confusion could also be attributed to the way Kalush skipped around chronologically, seemingly without purpose.

Anyway, here is a published work that has done what you're describing. You might want to check it out to see one version.