Saturday, 15 May 2010

Writing non-fiction

I have an article to write. Nothing grand or important, just a fun 600 word feature which requires a little research and a modicum of thought, and needs to be fact-filled and entertaining.

Unlike a work of fiction, I find with a feature that I cannot rush to the computer and start writing. Writing non-fiction is an entirely different process. I find I have to mull it over and let it take shape in my head. I need to decide on my starting point and the place where I am going to end it, which must pack some sort of punch.

I generally think of the end of a work of fiction too, before I start. With a full-length novel, I need to write myself a tentative synopsis and have a vague idea of where my characters are heading. With a short story, I need to be able to sum it up in a few words, e.g. couple are on holiday and guy gets killed in a para-gliding accident, but did someone tamper with his kit?

An article, though, needs to be far more precise. I need to have the whole form of it in my head before I can start to write. I have to have created the substance, the point, the flow, the argument. So I have spent today photographing clothes I'm getting rid of for eBay whilst mulling over my feature. I'm still not quite there but by tomorrow it should have taken shape and this would be the ideal day to write it, while it's fresh and hot, but unfortunately - wouldn't you know it? - I've got to go out for the day. Monday is interrupted by a painful trip to the chiropractor, so no typing on Monday. Tuesday will have to be the day. I'll just have to hope Mr G's friends with all the children don't decide to come round. Roll on my own house where I can work undisturbed (I hope!).

1 comment:

Jacula said...

We should get together - I've got lots of beginnings and no endings. We could take it in turns to write the middle bits.:-)