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Nonfictional Prose Writing Types

Ruby writes from the Philippines. She teaches college courses including Speech and Theater Arts, etc. She enjoys reading and gardening.


What Is Nonfiction?

Nonfiction is any literary work that portrays real events and facts. In contrast, "Fiction" describes imaginative storytelling.
Nonfiction emphasizes realism. Both expository and narrative nonfiction educate readers about facts. These include Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Storytelling is creative nonfiction. Any book writing is creative writing because it challenges you to write expertly and compellingly while experimenting with form. While conventional nonfiction like textbooks, user manuals, etc. must follow a format and style, this is not true of all or even most nonfiction.
Nonfiction, in a nutshell, includes everything else. Although many nonfiction books give strongly opinionated comments on those real-life events, the material of nonfiction books is often based on actual occurrences.

Nonfiction's characteristics

In Nonfiction, an author uses nonfiction writing to enlighten readers or convey ideas by describing actual people, places, and events. Since nonfiction writing is fact-based, the information it contains is accurate and verifiable.
Text elements such as images, captions, diagrams, maps, glossaries, tables of contents, and cited sources are permitted in nonfiction writing.
There are several text structures that may be used to arrange nonfiction writing, including: The author discusses the events (cause) that lead to the main event in a cause and effect sentence (effect), The writer will offer a problem that needs to be solved, followed by one or more potential solutions. Sequential - the material is presented in sequence (the beginning, middle, and end). Descriptive writing uses specifics to aid the reader in visualizing the subject. When comparing and contrasting, the writer employs specifics to show how two or more subjects are similar or unlike.

List of Nonfictional Genres

Every author is aware that creating an outline before to writing establishes the structure of your novel. But before you can do that, you must decide who your target market is. The guiding idea you should start with is figuring out which nonfiction category your book best falls within.
For instance, your readership, word count, and formatting will all be very different from those of an academic book if you decide to write historical nonfiction. Success depends on knowing and choosing the ideal nonfiction genre.
Let's examine the most common nonfiction subgenres.

Autobiographies and biographies

Although the goal of both genres is to recount a life experience, biographies and autobiographies are distinct from one another. The author of an autobiography writes about and in it. In biographies, the author presents a different person's tale in the third person (while still remaining accurate and factual). In contrast to autobiographies, biographies may feature either a live or deceased subject. Two examples are, The First Filipino by León María Guerrero III a Filipino author and Long Walk to Freedom by African author Nelson Mandela.


Writing nonfiction about history often entails providing a narrative account of a historical event or period of time. It is the responsibility of the writers to frame how the material is presented; nonetheless, all of the information that is offered in history nonfiction works must be true, verifiable, and historically correct.
Midnight in Chernobyl, written by Adam Higginbotham, is an example of a popular historical nonfiction book. The nuclear disaster that occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine in April of 1986 is detailed in the work.


A memoir is a first-person description of real-life experiences and memories. Memoirs rely on personal experience, intimacy, and emotional reality. Memoir authors often play with their recollections and actual life to produce a wonderful tale. Memoirs aren't restricted by chronology or factual correctness.

Readers of a memoir are informed about major events in the author's life. Because they are both written from the same point of view, memoirs and autobiographies are occasionally mistaken for one another. The difference between the two is that memoirs can be written on a more condensed time period, such a single event or experience in the author's life. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is a good example. Growing Up Brown: Memoirs of a Filipino American by Peter Jamero is another. Examples of short memoirs.



Exploring subjects like the meaning of life, ethics, and a better knowledge of people are all part of philosophy nonfiction. Though ancient philosophers like Aristotle, Confucius, Plato, and Voltaire may initially spring to mind, contemporary authors are reshaping the field.
More than ever, authors are making their works easier to read and understand for a larger readership in the philosophy discipline.

Scholarly books

Academic books aim to train readers on a certain subject. The majority of Americans first come into contact with academic texts through required school textbooks that serve as the foundation for a full academic year. Adults who want to master a specific skill, like vehicle maintenance or music arrangement, also utilize academic literature.

Spirituality and Religion

The categories of religion and spirituality are as varied as the ideas themselves. Authors have the option of writing from personal experience or concentrating on educating readers about a certain profession. They might also be a subgenre, like self-help books, that support readers in their spiritual development.
This category can also include theology, which focuses on the systematic study of God and religion.

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Travel Articles

Nonfictional travel writing has a number of distinct subgenres of its own. Travel memoirs, in which the author talks about individual travel experiences, are sometimes referred to as travelogues. Another type of travel nonfiction is travel guides, which offer evaluations and information on various locations.
One of the most well-known trip memoirs, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, has been adapted into a highly praised motion picture.

Detailed instructions and user guides

The subgenre of guides and how-to manuals is similar to the self-help subgenre, but it focuses more narrowly on a particular skill or set of talents. Cookbooks, musical notations, directions for athletes, and how-to guides for home enthusiasts are some examples of these kind of publications.


Exercise and Health

No surprise there, but sales of nonfiction books on health and fitness soar in January. These books include everything from exercise plans and health-related guidelines to advice on how to reach specific health objectives.
Not a Diet Book: Lose Fat is one of the books in the health and fitness category. Gain Self-Assurance James Smith's Transform Your Life and Michael Matthews' The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation.

Family and Parenting

Parenting is really difficult, and since Supernanny isn't always on TV, the next best thing is to get some advice from professionals and those who have dealt with kids in the past. Parenting books with solid academic support offer helpful insights and guidance to help readers become better guardians and carers, covering topics such as understanding the psychology of young brains and identifying the ideal surroundings and ways to nurture them.

Hobbies and crafts

Before Google became the all-knowing tool that had the answers to all of our queries, people used craft books to instruct them on how to take up a new pastime. You name it, there is a book about everything: gardening, origami, crochet, calligraphy, etc. This days, readers are drawn to works like these not just because of the author's talent but also because of the skills. The tone and inner layout of a book typically reflect the author's personality. Authors are typically people with an online presence and expertise in their field.


Humor and analysis

These categories are types of creative nonfiction in which the author's point of view is used to extract analysis and reflection on actual occurrences. That point of view might be amusing, political, or merely contemplative at different moments. The fact that this subcategory is based on actual events, both recent and historical, prohibits it from falling into the fiction category.


The nonfiction genre of journalism is vast and includes a variety of mediums. Newspapers and magazines, as well as monthly journals, TV news programs, and other media, are the most frequently consumed forms of journalism. Journalism covers actual occurrences that frequently, but not always, are relevant to modern readers. Books are another type of journalism. This covers true crime literature and narrative nonfiction. Awards like the Pulitzer Prize and the Peabody and Polk awards can be given to the greatest journalism.


Self-Help and instruction

This is perhaps the most well-known non-fiction subgenre out there. A self-help book gives you advice and steps you may take to tackle personal difficulties, as the name of the genre suggests. Self-help books might be reflective—like an extended blog post—or they can be research-based. But keep in mind that while the latter sort may have a memoir-like feel to it, you must expressly warn the reader if you intend to write a self-help book.

Social sciences and politics

There has been an increase in both the reading and authoring of this type of book as a result of the continuous social and political unrest throughout the world. Some political and social science books rely more on anecdotal evidence, while others have the same level of in-depth study as academic studies. In each case, they often choose one particular aspect or societal institution to critically examine. The list beyond this can grow even more as you begin to understand deeper about Nonfiction genre.

© 2022 Ruby Campos

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