What is Fiction and Non-Fiction

Have you ever wondered what is meant by fiction and non-fiction? If you have, then you are one of those who want to have a clear idea about the two terms. This is mainly because whenever we want to buy a new book, we get to choose one from either fiction or non-fiction categories. Also, even when we read about new books release, we find that they also belong to one of these two categories. What makes a fiction different from a non-fiction? To understand this we have to see what a fiction is and what a non-fiction is. This article will help you understand what each of the terms, fiction and non-fiction, stand for.

What is Fiction

Fiction is the creation of pure imagination. That means when a writer is using his fertile imagination to concoct some kind of a story then that falls under fiction. Most of the dramas, novels, and short stories fall under the category of fiction. That is because these stories were built around non-existent people who went through non-existent situations. For example, take Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. The book is about a story that takes place in a land called Middle Earth. In this Middle Earth, there are different races such as elves, dwarfs, humans, wizards, goblins, hobbits, and orcs. There are wars. The story is about the journey to destroy a cursed ring to put an end to the evil in the Middle Earth. There is no magic in the real world. There is no immortality in this real world we live in. So, the whole story about this journey where magic, different races, different lands can be seen is a huge work of the imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien. Despite the fact that it is a creation of pure imagination, Lord of the Rings is still appreciated as a work of brilliance. It is so popular that even three movies were produced. Those movies even won a number of awards including Oscar awards. Some other examples for fiction are Harry Potter, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights. The world of fiction is vast. It is also embraced more by readers.

What is Fiction and Non-Fiction 01

Though fiction deals with imagination and talk about imaginary characters, the topic and problems that are discussed in the work of fiction are related to the real world. For example, the battle between good and evil exists in the real world, though it is not decided by the war between human, elves, and orcs. Also, in Harry Potter, the story speaks about the plight of an orphan boy. Him having magical powers makes it fiction. However, the difficulties he faces growing up without the love of his parents, the tortures of his cousin are all very realistic incidents. Therefore, though fiction is a creation of imagination it deals with real problems too.

What is Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction is the opposite of fiction as is suggested by the prefix ‘non.’ Non-fiction is those that speak about true events and true people. Generally, journals, newspapers, researches, biographies, different types of essay written under various topics fall under the category of non-fiction. As you can see, these types of writing deals with facts, numbers, and what we can actually see and prove. Non-fiction focuses on the social problems or what is going on in the world. For example, take the book ‘The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature’ by Steven Pinker. In that book, the author is saying that the psychological adaptations the humans face during the process of evolution significantly shapes human nature. So, in this book, he is not speaking about a created world, but about the humans who actually live in the real world. He uses facts and arguments to prove his point.

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Steven Pinker


Normally, books are divided into two main categories as fiction and non-fiction. Fiction is the creation of pure imagination. It speaks about the incidents and people who are not real. Novels, dramas and short stories fall under this category. Non-fiction is the writing that speaks about true people and true incidents. Newspapers, journals, biographies are some of the writing that fall under non-fiction. However, the basic themes discussed in fiction are based on the real world. Both fiction and non-fiction produce notable work.


Images Courtesy:

  1. One ring by Jorge Arimany (CC BY-SA 3.0)
  2. Steven Pinker by Adrignola (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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