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Elements of Nonfiction

Nonfiction writing based on real people,


places and events

Two broad categories of Nonfiction


1. Informative nonfiction
a. written to provide factual
information
b. main purpose to inform
c. includes: science and history
texts, encyclopedias, pamphlets,
brochures, telephone books, maps,
atlases, and most of the articles in
magazines and newspapers.
2. Literary nonfiction
a. written to be read and
experienced in much the same
way you experience fiction.
b. Different from fiction in that real
people take the place of fictional
characters, and the settings and
plots are not imaginary
c. Includes:
autobiography the true story of a
persons life, told by that person.
- almost always told in first-
person point of view
- usually book length because it
covers a long period of the
writers life.
- Short autobiographical
writings include: journals,
diaries, and memoirs.
Biographies the true story of a
persons life told by someone else.
- the biographer interviews the
subject if possible and also
researches the subjects life
- contains many of the same
elements as fiction (character,
setting, plot, conflict).
Essays a short piece of nonfiction
writing that deals with one subject.
- often found in newspapers and
magazines.
- The writer might share an
opinion, try to entertain or
persuade the reader, or simply
describe an incident that has
special significance.
- Informal essays, or personal
essays, explain how the author
feels about a subject.
- Formal essays are serious and
scholarly and are rarely found
in literature textbooks.

Strategies for Reading


Nonfiction
1. preview the selection. Look at the
title, pictures, diagrams, subtitles,
and any words or terms in
boldfaced or italic type. All of
these will give you an idea of what
the selection is about.
2. figure out the organization If
the work is a biography or
autobiography, the organization
is probably chronological (in the
order in which things happen).
3. Separate facts and opinions
4. Question as you read. Ask
yourself Why did things happen
the way they did? How did the
people in the literary work feel?
What is the writers opinion? Do
you share the writers opinion, or
do you have different ideas on the
subject?
5. During your reading, stop now and
then and try to predict what will
come next.
6. As you read, build on your
understanding. Add new
information to what you have
already learned and see if your
ideas and opinions change.
7. Continually evaluate what you
read. Evaluation should be an
ongoing process. Remember that
evaluation means more than saying
a selection is good or bad. Form
opinions about people, events, and
ideas that are presented. Decide
whether or not you like the way the
information is presented.