Taking inspiration for fiction from non-fiction

A little stuck in your novel? Looking for a great idea for a short story? Just want to stir up some creative juices?

Look no further than non-fiction.

-History books and biographies, obviously, are full of amazing, horrifying, or interesting stories that can provide inspiration for fiction.

-Good psychology books can help create or flesh out your characters.

-Science books provide ideas and what-ifs for science fiction, modern day thrillers, etc.

-What if one of your characters is a specialist in something? Or wants to do something you know little about? You'll need to do research. And all those research books are writing fodder.

-My favorites, however, are books about animals—their adaptations, instincts, specialized skills, etc.

My highest-paid fiction sale and the story I'm working on now both grew from seeds of truth I found in animal books. And if you're into science fiction, consider all the bio-mimicry options out there.

So, what sorts of non-fiction books do you take inspiration from? I'd love to hear in the comments.

Melinda Brasher's newest book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget, is a guide for people want to explore the beauty of Alaska from the water but who also like to save money for the next adventure.  If you have Amazon Prime, read for free! Or visit her website at cruisingalaskaonabudget.wordpress.com 


Karen Cioffi said...

Melinda, this is such a helpful idea. I'm a staff writer for an online reading comprehension site and was recently asked to start turning some of their nonfiction pieces into fiction stories. Ideas ready to use. It saves thought and time!

The same thing can be used to create your own fiction stories from just about any nonfiction topic.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Good advice, Melinda.And the book looks lovely. Congrats. :-)

Why Writers Need to Become Time Aware

By W. Terry Whalin   @terrywhalin As a writer, I want to increase my writing and ability to publish (in any format). I’m basically saying I ...