The poster of the question has clarified that the context was fiction, adding the tag; so my original assumption was not wrong and this question is not relevant.

I wrote this answer assuming that the question was in the context of fiction. However, after re-reading the question and noticing that it was not tagged fiction, I suspect the question is for non-fiction writing (likely biographical; "I am writing about a female person." should have been a sufficient clue-by-four).

While some of the concepts in my answer would apply to non-fiction, the examples are quite explicitly geared toward fiction. I am somewhat tempted to produce a second answer from a non-fiction standpoint, probably mostly to farm reputation but writing a second answer would be simpler than trying to integrate a non-fiction perspective into the existing answer.

Even prepending the non-fiction content to the existing answer and using second-level headers to separate the non-fiction and fiction sections would involve some rewriting of the existing text. Doing a thorough rewrite with intermingling of fiction and non-fiction would be very involved, and I doubt I have the motivation to attempt such. Such might also be a weaker answer to a specifically non-fiction question (forcing readers to read irrelevant content).

I really like some of my examples and think some of the explanation is good, so fully deleting such would be crushing. However, the content is clearly geared toward writing fiction, and it seems that the person asking the question may well be writing non-fiction.

Writing a second near-duplicate question tagged just to post the existing answer so that it could be deleted from a question about non-fiction seems questionable (though less so than having two answers, one less appropriately concerning fiction).

I seek advice on how I should proceed. (I might start working on a non-fiction version of my answer before anyone responds to this question, but I intend to wait before posting anything more on the question I answered.)

  • 1
    I think the question is unclear about whether it's fiction or non-fiction; I've asked the OP to clarify. May 4, 2014 at 4:45

1 Answer 1


The answer depends on whether the question's author clarifies the question. For now, I'd recommend leaving things as they are.

If this turns out to be a question about non-fiction

...then I think that your answer would need a little pruning. But if it remains unclear, you could simply add some notes. For example:

  • The section "Changing an action to a thought" could be noted as a technique for fiction only.

  • The section "Use filler material" was written for a situation where the author can generate things out of whole cloth. But non-fiction can also introduce additional strands of narrative to vary the pacing, intersperse the sections with quotes and commentary on the events being portrayed, etc.

If this ends up being about academic writing or tech writing

...then your answer will be slightly less relevant. Perhaps you could edit it down to the sections on grammar and wording, and save the rest of your text. In the future, you could (say) apply it to a question about gender-based wording in fiction, or even recycle it into a blog post - or both.

  • You were right that it might have been in the context of fiction (since it was).
    – user5232
    May 5, 2014 at 15:57

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