Writing nonfiction proposes a unique challenge to writers: you need to inform your readers about your topic while also telling a story to keep them interested. Before you begin writing your book, keep these important elements in mind:
Figure out your goal. Your nonfiction novel needs to have a purpose. Before you even begin writing, you need to know what it is you want your readers to take away after putting your book down. What are the most important aspects of your topic? What new information or knowledge should readers have after they’ve read your book from cover to cover?
Be able to explain why you would be the best person to write about your topic. How is your perspective unique or different from anyone else who may write or has already written about this topic? What could you offer to readers that another author could not? Having an original angle will pique readers’ interest and allow those who are already acquainted with the topic to learn something new from your book.
If there are others who have written books on the same topic, how will your book be different? Some nonfiction topics are overdone; therefore, it may not be wise or necessary to write yet another book on a subject that’s already been covered ad nauseam. Be sure you have read all of the published material on your topic. If you cannot possibly read it all, maybe there is already too much out there.
Before you begin writing, lay out your basic structure. What is the best way to organize your ideas so that it is easy for your readers to follow and understand? This will also help you decide what to include in your book and what to leave out.
Be sure your readers learn something from your book. If someone were to pick up your book knowing nothing about the topic, they should be able to completely explain it by the end. For readers familiar with the subject matter, they should be able to answer the question: “What did you learn about the topic from reading this book?”
Keep it simple! Make sure your ideas are very clear and concise. Do not use subject-oriented terms and concepts without properly explaining them. Don’t assume your readers are already familiar with your concepts, because chances are many of them are not. You want to allow readers who may know nothing about your topic to learn through reading your book.
NOTE: This post was written by Kristyn Fetterman.
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