Part of the process of being a self-published author is deciding how to categorize your book on the various sales platforms (Amazon or Kobo for example). I was looking through the different categories this past weekend and had to re-think my approach.
I decided on two categories. What I didn’t realize right away was that one category was in fiction and the other one in non-fiction. The categories themselves made sense to me. One category was in nature and the other in dinosaurs. Something like that anyway, I don’t remember honestly. My writing is often based in the real-world and could easily be classified as a coming of age story, but there are elements of fiction. The characters dream about far away times and places and the stories are driven by them finding things like fossils that, while real, are only found in specific places around the world. I wanted a way to give the reader the experience of being in another time without having to get there through some inexplicable magic or special power.
When I hit the submit button to select my two categories the website said that a mix of fiction and non-fiction is not allowed. I was forced to choose one, so I chose fiction. I laughed at first, but that got me thinking about the interplay of these two worlds. Are they really mutually exclusive? I guess I had not really thought of them in that way. Of course there’s fiction that’s not based on the real world. Many readers, including myself, enjoy the fictional worlds that authors create.
That said, I tend to think of the real world as a starting point. It’s a foundation which all other things are built on. I don’t know about you, but my mind is constantly wandering from the real world into the what if this happens world? For me, non-fiction sparks my imagination. It provides a window into the unknown where we’re free to explore, to dream. For me, this is where creativity happens. The non-fiction world and the fictional world are intertwined.
For me, that’s what makes a good story. Or, should I say, that’s what makes good fiction.