Sia McKye started it with "We can take a 'fact' of science, history, politics, religion, life in general, and weave a story around it with fictional characters" and Lynda Lehmann added, "unimaginative people out there who don't really like to peer out of the hole of their own subjectivity" while Helen Ginger took that a step further with "Why do people think fiction is based on a true story? Don't they realize writers have imaginations?"
The Muse added another side to the discussion, "Don't they realize that a lot of fiction is based on fact?" Kathy McIntosh mentioned, "the insights they could gain by some time with the masters of fiction." Swubird admitted that he read mostly non-fiction but, "Fiction and nonfiction are like like mom and dad. We need both to get the whole perspective." And Caryn Caldwell ended the discussion with "As for readers of nonfiction, I've had a few of them tell me snootily, 'When I read, I want to *learn* something.'"
All these excellent comments made me realize that really we can't have one form without the other. We're born to be story tellers. So we tell stories. All of us. All the time. Whether there's a facts underneath the fiction or whether there's fictional elements within a true story doesn't matter. It's all tales. Think about it. Even the most straightforward piece of nonfiction is structured with a beginning, middle and end. It's how we think, how we order our world.
And who can say what is truth and what is not? This is at the crux of a lot of the non-fiction argument, some people believing that somehow if something can't be proven to have happened, it's a harmful, evil, filthy lie. But except for a scientific fact (and some dispute those) what can be proven? Ask eyewitnesses of an event and everyone will have seen something different. Ask a sibling about memories of an event and be amazed at the difference.
Of course there's an aspect to fiction that can make it much harder to write. It has to be reasonable and logical enough to be believed. To draw the reader into the fiction world. This is not true of non-fiction, read Swubird's excellent and fun, fun blog for examples of hilarious and fascinating non-fiction.
Thanks to all the excellent bloggers who commented on my last post that led to this post.
So, what do write when you write? Fiction? Non? A mix? And if a mix, which is your fav?