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When does narrative non-fiction become fiction.

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Tim Bennett

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Any ideas out there on the narrative non-fiction genre and how much artistic licence the writer has?
 
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K.J. Simmill

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That's a toughie.

I would imagine you would have a fair bit of artistic licence as it is told from the perception of the person narrating, how that person perceives something could be magical, for instance a child watching a magician saw a lady in half would perceive things differently to an adult, and their imagination would add details. Or if it is a story told by a war veteran, their experiences would temper things too, someone watching a bombing would view it in a completely different light to someone who first hand saw them falling from the sky above. What an observer could see as a dozen bombs, may seem like hundreds to those in the firing lines.

I am not sure if this helps at all, it is just how I view it. I don't write in narrative so I have no real experience.
 

Katie-Ellen

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Two classic examples come to mind, of non-fiction narratives exercising huge artistic licence, such that the veracity of the narrative has been questioned. All the same, fibs and embroidery or not, they are both considered truly great books and have certainly succeeded in haunting me, particularly Promise At Dawn. If there are lies, they are serving some greater truths.

Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary.

Also, see movie.

And

The Story of San Michele, by Axel Munthe.
 
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Tim Bennett

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That's a toughie.

I would imagine you would have a fair bit of artistic licence as it is told from the perception of the person narrating, how that person perceives something could be magical, for instance a child watching a magician saw a lady in half would perceive things differently to an adult, and their imagination would add details. Or if it is a story told by a war veteran, their experiences would temper things too, someone watching a bombing would view it in a completely different light to someone who first hand saw them falling from the sky above. What an observer could see as a dozen bombs, may seem like hundreds to those in the firing lines.

I am not sure if this helps at all, it is just how I view it. I don't write in narrative so I have no real experience.
Thanks K.J. That does help. I don't write in narrative, but my draft MS is currently a fiction title, it's based on my own life experience though, so I'm feeling the calling to step out from behind the main character and take full ownership.
 
T

Tim Bennett

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Two classic examples come to mind, of non-fiction narratives exercising huge artistic licence, such that the veracity of the narrative has been questioned. All the same, fibs and embroidery or not, they are both considered truly great books and have certainly succeeded in haunting me, particularly Promise At Dawn. If there are lies, they are serving some greater truths.

Promise at Dawn by Romain Gary.

Also, see movie.

And

The Story of San Michele, by Axel Munthe.
Thanks Katie-Ellen, as always you're response is really helpful. Thanks so much for the examples too.
 
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