I’ve been talking about creativity in non-fiction writing recently and here we have the next in my interview series on the subject. Today we’re chatting with Sandy Appleyard, a Canadian writer who has made the move from non-fiction to fiction and has some interesting things to say about the processes involved in both.
Hello, Sandy, and thanks for joining in the discussion. Tell me a bit about yourself first, please …
I’m a Canadian multi-genre author and I’ve written both fiction and non-fiction. My writing began with non-fiction and then I moved to fiction. Recently I self-published another non-fiction but then right after another fiction…I seem to be flip-flopping! Writing non-fiction for me was inspired by the need to share personal life stories. Afterward, since I’ve read so many fiction titles I wanted to take a stab at it myself.
How did you start writing, and which came first, fiction or non-fiction?
Writing started out for me as a way to memorialize my father, who died of alcoholism back in 1992. Then, after several years of battling a back deformity, I decided to write an inspirational memoir about Scoliosis. Finally, I ran out of personal material, and after voraciously reading fiction all my life, it occurred to me to give writing romantic suspense a try. I’ve been hooked ever since.
I recently blogged about finding that writing non-fiction was still “creative”. Do you agree, or is only fiction writing truly creative?
Writing fiction and non-fiction, for me, is very different. With non-fiction, while it is still creative writing, the creativity is more in eloquently stating your feelings/beliefs so your readers understand the situation that you were in. This exercise was certainly helpful when switching to fiction because it enabled me to write in that same fashion so readers could understand how the characters felt.
I’ve heard it said that memoir should be considered as “creative non-fiction” – do you agree with that description? How do you think writing memoir differ from writing fiction on the one hand and non-fiction on the other?
With fiction as opposed to non-fiction, you need to add other things like suspense, love scenes, etc., and a big factor-it’s all made up! Writers, myself included, often use our life experiences when writing fiction so we know what situations are like first hand. If we don’t have the experience in our back pocket to reference, that’s what research is for!
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