What should I write – fiction or non-fiction?

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Everyone says fiction, of course, because those are the famous authors we know about, the J.K.Rowlings and the Stephen Kings of this world.  They are the superstars of authoring.

But, mega-bestsellers like Harry Potter are rare, unrepresentative of the bulk of fiction work out there. There’s a lot of dross, especially (sad to say) in the self-published market (though there is also some super-awesome work, too.)

Of course, there is always literary non-fiction which is almost a crossover point for both.

For most people who feel they have a book in them, it is a tale to tell, a story, something stuck in their imagination. Others want to write about things they know, like being a junior doctor, a drug addict, a stripper or a barrister (hopefully, not all four at once). Which is it to be for you?

Storytelling – Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

How to find out …

Vivid imagination? Fiction may be for you. You can mess about with time, introduce aliens, and kill people off.

Like things to be right, factual, love researching? Non-fiction is your best bet.

Like both of the above? Try the factual scope of non-fiction with the creativity of fiction, a bit more ‘what if?’

Image by www_slon_pics from Pixabay


To get going, try a short piece of writing, say less than 500 words, perhaps about your childhood, or about the life of someone you know.

a. Write it as a fiction story.

b. Write it as a life-story.

c. Write it as creative non-fiction (using literary styles and techniques to create factually accurate accounts).

You will probably find one works better for you than the others, which should give you a massive clue.

Just a little more detail, please, to make it a story … Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Quiz yourself …

Yes, it could be a timewaster but I found these 2 quizzes remarkably accurate in finding where your writing skills belong, so give them a try.

First this short quiz. My result probably shows I’m keen on editing (which I knew) But the advice given does not work for me. I cannot write without amending spelling/grammar/errors as I go along. For most people, who are less pedantic about such things, writing first, editing after is sound advice. Start right brain, tap into left-brain later.

You got: The Rewriter

You think too much about editing while you’re writing, and sometimes you’ll give up on stories. Then you come back to them later and rewrite them. One solution is to write without worrying about spelling, grammar, etc. Put away your day’s work. The next day, continue the story on a fresh sheet of paper or in a new document so you won’t have to look at the mistakes you made the previous day. Save the editing for after the story is done!

Then I tried this one with this result: Article Writer

Article writing is a profession that opens you up to incredible opportunities for learning. Each assignment requires at least a little research, and some require a lot. Whatever the amount, being an article writer will take you places you never even knew existed, whether you’re writing for a fun site of listicles or something more serious, like an online world-news magazine. The great part is that you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re sharing that information with the world and spreading enlightenment!

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

You do not have to write a best-selling novel to be a writer.

Fact: non-fiction generally sells more, but somehow it feels less romantic than sitting in your garret thinking up twists and turns for some torrid (or maybe turgid) tale. However, if you are in it to make money, then real-life is the way to go.