Autumn Barraclough explained to me that her favorite type of nonfiction to write was a research paper because you just string facts together and her favorite type to read was nonfiction writing told from the subject’s point of view. A couple of examples she gave me were Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I asked her whether she prefers reading or writing non-fiction better and she told me she enjoyed reading it. She said that it was less work, more enjoyable, and that she learns more from reading it than writing it, which I found interesting. Usually when you do the research for something, you learn a lot... but I guess this isn’t the case with this one. Autumn has written a lot of research papers, as we all have, and she has started an autobiography that she hopes she doesn’t get to finish any time soon. Her most memorable piece of work was her IRP for Chemistry because she “worked her butt off”. She told me that at first her teacher gave her a B and she argued her way up to an A. I noticed that just because someone preferred non-fiction writing to fiction writing doesn’t mean they like it, so this was an important question to ask. Her response was that, for fun, she writes a journal. She also told me that when the assignment is mandatory she tends to push herself harder and she begins to like the task more and more as she goes along. Normally when she hears a prompt she has ideas that pop into her head. She uses that to determine what resources would be beneficial to her topic. Finally, I asked her if she had ever taken a journalism class, and she answered no, but that she was really interested in doing so. Some of her friends have; and she says that she is just “spewing with information”. (Check out her blog, Let's smell rainbows together.)
Lexi Maycock preferred fiction, quite emphatically, so I asked her to elaborate on that. Her favorite genres are romance, historical fiction, psychological thrillers, and murder tales. What interested me was that even though these are her favorites, that doesn’t mean her writing is personally affected by them. She prefers writing to reading. She says that it’s much easier. She can write anytime but she has to plan for a time to go to the library or the book store. She shared that she likes to write futuristic and dystopian stories. She has some ideas about a steam punk-pirate-vampire fantasy that she wants to work on (I have to say I'm excited about it). Her favorite book is Entwined by Heather Dixon and her favorite series are the Percy Jackson and the Harry Potter series. She says that when she writes, she draws inspiration from dreams she has and from the real world. She often bases characters off of actual people and events. She plans on becoming an author and publishing books, so you never know when it might be you she’s writing about in her future best seller. She confesses that her writing process doesn’t involve much writing, she runs plots through her head over and over until she feels it’s in the best condition to be put on paper, and sometimes that can be a long time. I asked her if she has ever taken a creative writing course, and she said no but plans on it next year. She really enjoys doing this in any circumstance, mandatory or voluntary, and I am really looking forward to seeing where it takes her next. (Check out her blog, Text with Lex.)
My experience with these two things have been both fun and difficult. I can’t necessarily pick one or the other. I noticed that there were many differences between the two. You have a lot more freedom with fiction writing than you do with the other, but nonfiction is more structured. The writing processes are a lot different as well, with different ways to go about doing it. The writing process for nonfiction involves research and tight parameters and the process for fiction writing involves a lot self induced research and it is a lot less structured. I find it really interesting that even if the person writes fiction and often, they still face a lot of problems. There is a bunch of self criticism and self block, which are the main reasons why someone has trouble with this type of writing. I think that the main problem with people and their nonfiction writing is that there are a lot of negative connotations that come with it. I know that when I think of nonfiction, I am immediately discouraged because our society has made it a boring school assignment. You just have to ignore all of these things and try it for yourself. "Open-mindedness is the key to success, young grasshopper."