Why Should You Write Nonfiction?

More often then I’d care to admit, a new writer wants to know why I write nonfiction.  After all, it just isn’t as fun as fiction.

I smile and nod and let them have their say, because I know the truth.  Nothing else has the power to hook readers like really well-done nonfiction.  And I’m not just saying that because I write nonfiction.  I’ve seen nonfiction in action.

Every sat in the living room watching my son open his birthday presents.  We’re a book-y crowd so it wasn’t surprising that he opened a variety of books including How They Croaked: The Awful Endings of the Awfully Famous written by Georgia Bragg and illustrated by Kevin O’Malley.  He flipped through it while we all watched and then he reached out to put the book on the table.

“Can I see that?”

I don’t remember who spoke up first but before I could get my hands on it, some one was flipping through the book and reading bits of it out loud.  In fact, it made its way around the room as one person after another paged through it, stopping to read and then sharing what they had just read.  There were even some debates about the facts themselves.  “That’s not what I heard!”

Nothing else drew that kind of attention.  The book has a tabloid fascination with its promise of awful endings for famous people.  Bragg matches this topic with an irreverent style of writing.  Add to that O’Malley’s bold graphic novel style illustrations and you have a dramatic, slightly lurid story that no one wanted to put down until I brought out the cake.

That, my friends, is the power of top notch nonfiction.  You can read more about the creative nature of nonfiction in my post today at the Muffin.  There are also still openings in my WOW! class, Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults.


Are You Eligible for this SCBWI Award?

The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators On-The-Verge Emerging Voices Award is for an a writer or illustrator who is from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in American children’s literature.

This includes American Indian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander.

The award is for unpublished work and original work and the author or illustrator must be over 18, unpublished and unagented.

The deadline for submissions is November 15, 2013.  The winners will be announced December 15, 2013 and the award presented at the 2014 SCBWI Winter Conference in New York.  Two winners will receive an expense paid trip to the Winter Conference, a press release to publishers, a free one-year SCBWI membership and an SCBWI mentor, also for one year.

To find out more about this award, visit the On-the-Verge Emerging Voices award page on the SCBWI web site.