Fact and Fiction

Posted: December 30, 2007 in Nomenclature, Writing

The reason why stories work is that they reveal us to ourselves. Even science fiction is about human nature and the problems that arise from it, though technology is significantly featured and aliens are used as proxies. Fiction and nonfiction may therefore be interchangeable entities, since they both tell stories about human nature and what happens to humans. Both types of writing fit into a structured, stylized, closed form with a beginning, middle, end and, most importantly, a viewpoint that automatically makes them subjective accounts. Fiction and nonfiction both bear the weight of structural impositions that shape their content through word choice, omission of information, and other aspects of point of view, which is also a result of editing. There simply is no way to be purely objective as a human storyteller because storytelling insists on having a perspective that makes the teller an editor who manipulates facts, emphasizing some over others, to fit a form that has embedded themes. Therefore, is there really such a thing as nonfiction? It’s merely fiction with more verifiable details.

  1. grasshopperkm says:

    Stories impress me as fiction. But not all fiction involves a story: sometimes fiction takes a random form, i.e, stream-of-consciousness or changing atmosphere. Some fiction relies mostly on mood or character.

    An essay presented as a person’s honest opinion satisfies my idea of nonfiction. And, public events reported with concurring witnesses: don’t most people accept these as facts?

  2. obie1993 says:

    “Therefore, is there really such a thing as nonfiction?”

    that depends on which dimension you’re existing on.

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