Types of Fiction and Non-Fiction in Literature
Most people divide fiction and nonfiction in two plain categories where they put fiction into the interesting catchy side and nonfiction into the boring simple literature, but in fact, there’s more to them than just that. There are many types of fiction and non-fiction that when put together constitute every other form of writing. Simply put, fiction is a work crafted purely of imagination while nonfiction is based on facts. These notions of writing further divide into many subtypes and have now given rise to a vast expanse of subgenres.
Fiction versus Nonfiction: Understanding Different Types of Fiction and Non-Fiction
What are the basic differences between fiction and nonfiction that make them so distinct, despite the similarity in their sound, and what are the types they represent? To get a better understanding of the types of fiction and nonfiction, let’s go over their basic concept one more time.
Fiction: Definition and Examples
We know that fiction refers to the “type of literature created from the writer’s imagination.”
Fiction can be defined as:
Fiction is a genre that revolves around the things that don’t exist or happen in reality.
Fiction is writing based on its author’s creativity and the imagination that he/she possesses.
Some popular fiction genres are:
- Science fiction
- Crime thrillers and
Examples of Popular Fiction
A number of writers have written many popular reads on fiction, some classic examples of which are:
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee
Nonfiction: Definition and Examples
We know that nonfiction refers to the “type of literature based solely on facts.”
Nonfiction can be defined as:
Nonfiction is a category of literature that deals with reality where the author’s creativity is in the writing style instead of the story itself.
Some popular nonfiction categories are:
- True crime and
Examples of Popular Nonfiction
A number of writers have written many popular non-fiction reads, some examples of which are:
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
- The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Types of Fiction With Examples
As astounding and attention grabbing as fiction is, it gets complicated the more we delve into its many flavors, for it is a category of literature that further delves into many types. Enlisted below are some of the many types of fiction:
It is a very short but expressive piece of writing that involves more meaning than the plot.
Example: In Our Time by Ernest Hemingway
A very short piece of fiction which is under a hundred words.
Example: The Larder Thief
A concise fictional story that is generally written in verse form or prose and usually feature animals, legendary creatures, myths or legends that have been assigned human qualities. These are mostly children’s stories as they almost always contain a moral.
Example: The Tortoise and The Hare by Aesop
A parable is different from a fable in that it uses humans to convey a message of spiritual importance or moral.
Example: The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Aesop
5. Short Story
A short story differs from a novel in that it can be read in one sitting, has a narrator and feature either one moment of time or a few events that are linked and give a single effect.
Example: The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant
6. Long Short Story
A story that stands somewhere between a short story and a novel is referred to as a long short story. It is a bit more complex than a short story because it can have more than one person’s point of view but links related chain of events.
Example: To Build a Fire by Jack London
7. Flash Fiction
A story that is under a thousand words but contains characters and plots is a flash fiction.
Example: Chapter V by Ernest Hemingway
8. Micro Fiction
It is similar to a flash fiction but it only contains 300 words or less.
Example: Sticks by George Saunders
A novelette highlights a short novel that is light or sentimental in its reading.
Example: Of Mice and Men by John Steinback
Even though novellas are not restricted to any number of words, but their length lies somewhere between that of a short story and a novel. It often focuses on one focal point and one plot going on at the time, with mostly one or two main characters whose journey we follow throughout the story and see how they develop according to their circumstances.
Example: Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
A novel consists of many subplots going on simultaneously along with the main plot and is longer than a novel, often consisting of 50,000 words or more.
Example: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A saga tells the tale of a series of events and uses more than one person’s point of view. The story is usually divided into two or more parts that depict the main plot and characters and develop with each book.
Example: The Twilight Saga
Myths are related to the stories about the ancient people and their world and are nonscientific in nature. They are often short stories that do not explain much about the phenomenon occurring in them and feature extraordinarily powerful creatures and gods that are mostly based on imagination.
Example: Paradise Lost by John Milton
14. Performance Fiction
It is a type of fiction that is written to be performed by characters in situations that are not true in nature. It is like a novel and features stories based on the writer’s imagination, except that it is performed by people to tell the story.
Example: F.R.I.E.N.D.S Tv Show
15. Oral Tradition
Fiction that is presented in the form of voice rather than being written down is called oral fiction. It features songs, folktales, ballads and fairy tales in some cases.
Types of Non-Fiction With Examples
Most people (me included) are often so inclined towards fictional reads that they regard non-fiction as boring or maybe they have preconceived non-fiction as a dry read and so they chose fiction all their lives, closing the drapes over the non-fiction world. The thing is, non-fiction is not boring or a dull read, it’s just that we are not familiar with the types of it and have only restricted non-fiction to biographies and textbooks. Allow me to introduce you to the world of creative non-fiction which comes with a hell of a lot of surprises and is as colorful and wonderfully written as fiction books, except that the plots and turn of events are based on facts.
Knowing about these types of non-fiction will help you in your writings if you are familiar with the exact genre and type.
1. Personal Narratives
An essay that retells the tale of an experience that the writer has had the pleasure to experience is called a personal narrative. It is a form of creative writing and includes dialogue, characterization and imagery, ending with a moral that can teach something to the readers.
Example: Goodbye to All That by Joan Didion
2. Personal Essays
Written in the first form to describe a single event witnessed or experienced by the author, personal essays are more like short stories. They can be emotional to religious to a mere recalling of the memories.
Example: Teaching a Stone to Talky by Annie Dilliard
Memoirs and personals essays are somewhat similar in that they both retell the tales of personal experiences of the author, but they have subtle differences. Generally longer in length, a memoir includes the author’s description of a particular time in his or her life and its significance. A memoir also uses the elements of creative writing.
Example: Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Autobiographies narrate the story of the author’s whole lifespan from birth to childhood to the present and highlight their journey’s most crucial experiences and their feelings and circumstances and thoughts behind their actions while going through those incidents. A main difference between memoirs and autobiographies is that autobiographies follow a more chronological order while memoirs narrate incidents in episodes.
Example: The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
Similar to autobiographies, biographies are books that are based on incidents from one person’s life, except that they are written by someone else. They are written after a lot of research based on facts and investigations and must be thorough and extensive as they are based on the lives of other people.
Example: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
6. Expository Writing
A type of non-fiction that teaches the readers about something, giving them basic information about a topic and providing them with facts is called expository writing.
Example: Pamphlets, textbooks, manuals etc.
7. Feature Stories
Stories that circulate around a topic related to a specific culture or a place and are explained from a third person’s point of view can be regarded as feature stories. These stories usually appear in magazines, journals or newspapers and can include coverage of events, quotes and photos related to the topic.
Example: Feature Stories on The Atlantic
A very common type of non-fiction that is very trendy these days are How-to tutorials. These are often drawn from personal experience and give helpful tips and tricks about something or some problem at hand.
Example: How to write if you are in depression
9. Media Texts
Intended to deliver facts, media texts are written to help a specific audience through radio broadcasts, news bulletins or articles.
Written in a way that persuades the people to go and buy a product or avail a service, adverts influence a large audience and are more often than not, biased, but they still depict facts somewhat as misleading the customers can lead to drastic effects against the company providers. So, adverts are also categorized as non-fiction.
As an aspiring writer and a passionate reader, it is crucial that you expand your horizon and be fearless when it comes to exploring different types of fiction and non-fiction. Broadening your perspective can not only make you realize that some things are not as uninteresting as you regarded them but can also help you evolve. Afterall, growth comes from being bold and taking risks.