Nonfiction Needs Personality Too


You might notice the lack of a Writer Wednesday at the start of today’s post. Fear not, we are still on topic. I understand that not everyone reads every post, so for more information, please see Monday’s posting. That having been gotten out of the way, let’s move on to the topic at hand.

Nonfiction books obviously exist to deliver facts. Regardless of the topic, that’s a basic expectation we have when reading nonfiction. Some do so solely for entertainment, such as with many biographies, but most are there to get across information. The success of such works can depend heavily on the quality of the information and how well it is expressed.

I’m not going to be talking about that. Well, that is to say I won’t talk about it more than I already have. Instead, the focus of today is to remind you that your non-fiction should have just as much personality as your fiction. If public schools have taught us one thing universally, it is that textbooks are dry and dull to read.

At best, a textbook takes a pile of facts and loosely strings them together with falsely excited statements. Genuine interest in the subject matter, unfettered by the endless censoring that happens with textbooks is a whole different thing. Put yourself or your subject into the work. Don’t just talk about things that happened or that are. Talk about their essence. Bring out what really makes them interesting.

Without some of your own personality tying the work together, it is just another forgettable textbook of facts. I can’t deny that facts themselves have value, but why wouldn’t you want to increase the overall value of the work by pouring life into it? Your work should always be uniquely you. It shouldn’t be something anyone could have written.

Before some of you laugh this off, consider some of the terrible nonfiction you’ve come across. Recall the sleep-inducing drone of words that takes the patience of a saint to sit through. Think of nearly every school textbook you ever read. They might have used ‘exciting words’, but there was absolutely nothing exciting about them. With those firmly in your mind, set forth to make your own work the exact opposite. Nothing grossly wordy, just something that a reader can see your personality shining through.

What are your thoughts?

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