Smooth Sailing

Smoothing the Transition to Fiction

If you’re trying to make the leap from prescriptive nonfiction to fiction, the biggest change may be the need to write, you know, a story. A story with scenes and characters and dialogue and a plot.

If your story’s a good one, the plot may be no sweat and the characters may well take care of themselves—the key is letting them evolve. But you need to sew it all together scene by scene, and that’s not always a natural adjustment for the nonfiction writer.

Chart Your Course for Publication

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’
then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
—Vincent Van Gogh

“You can’t write. What are you going to write about?” George Costanza’s mother squawked at him in one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes. Her middle-aged son had just announced that he and his friend Jerry had signed a contract with NBC for a sitcom, and that was as much support as she could muster.

Pages