Non-fiction is a form of prose writing that factually describes real events and people, sometimes offering additional commentary. This tag should be used for any questions relating to non-fiction, including non-fiction formatting and technique, non-fiction critiques, and the publishing of non-...

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How are citations formatted in serious non-fiction (proposals)?

Just to be clear, I'm not talking about scholarly work of the sort that might be published by a university press. I'm talking about work by people like Goodwin, McCullough, or Larson. These kinds of ...
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2answers
376 views

Are TOC and appendix part of total word count for books?

Do table of contents, appendix, and chapter titles count toward the total word count for a book? For example, if a book is 50,000 words, what is not included in the count? This is for a nonfiction ...
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3answers
169 views

How can people doing technical, archane work be portrayed interestingly?

I'd like to write the biography of an important, underrated scientist who performed a really important experiment. He persevered for many years, became ill (and recovered) along the way, and ...
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3answers
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How can I write anonymously (based on true experiences)?

I want to use an experience I had which is pretty unbelievable but true. The majority of the story will be completely true. It's not over yet so I want to use an ending which is NOT true yet works ...
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1answer
839 views

How short is “short monograph”?

I've seen several references to some "short monograph on subject X". But how short is that? Is there a standard length to use as a reference? I realize that this depends on page size and font, so I ...
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What permissions do I need to write a non-fiction book based on personal interviews?

I am writing a non-fiction book based on recorded interviews with several people. I have recorded verbal consent to be interviewed for the book from each person. One of the interviewees has since ...
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179 views

What permissions do I need for nonfiction travelogue?

I am writing (and self publishing) a non-fiction travelogue about a cross country roadtrip. I have already obtained permission from the person I traveled with, and there are no other main characters ...
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1answer
208 views

Tools for exploring and analysing document structure?

I'm currently writing a thesis. Just the introduction is 25 pages/8000 words. The whole document will probably be 70 pages or so. With a document this large, and on such a complex topic, it can be ...
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2answers
348 views

How can I get book my non-fiction book reviewed by professional reviewers?

I had my book reviewed by people who are interested in the topic of the book. Now interested in reviews by professional book reviewers. What is the appropriate way - directly approaching potential ...
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2answers
171 views

Should I use different pen names for different audiences (non-fiction)?

I am working on three separate works for three different audiences. All are non-fiction. One is for children ages eight to twelve, another is for teens ages fourteen to twenty, and the third is for ...
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944 views

When do I need to obtain permission to photograph and write about a business, work of art, or person?

I am preparing a book which will include lots of short passages, on a variety of subjects, many of which are related to a single area in a city. Each passage will also have a photograph, which I ...
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329 views

Software for instructional book

I saw this question on software for fiction writers. I'm wondering if there is software out there for non-fiction/instructional/research writing? Seems like yWriter and Scrivener focus on organizing ...
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1answer
99 views

Advice on choice of epigram

I am writing a paper on Internet censorship in China and was considering starting it with a thought provoking epigram to draw the reader. The title of the paper in question is: China's Internet ...
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1answer
198 views

Where can I find exercises to help me develop fictional writing techniques useful in narrative nonfiction?

I usually write explanatory nonfiction, but now I am interested in something more narrative--think Erik Larson or Rebecca Skloot, for example. I write clearly, and understand basic ideas about ...
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1answer
192 views

How much should I reveal about my book idea to a publishing house representative?

I am a faculty member at a small liberal arts college and a colleague and I are working on a textbook that is still basically in outline stage. The idea is not completely novel but there are not a ...
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5answers
606 views

Paragraph flow, verb inversion and last sentence tone

The paragraph below is a conclusion for an essay. I have three problems with the paragraph that I would like to review with you. This experience showed me that ignoring an interpersonal conflict ...
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3answers
25k views

Minimum (realistic) word count of non-fiction book

What is a reasonable estimate for the minimum length, in word count, for a non-fiction book? I'd guesstimate that non-fiction books "generally" (yes, this is very rough) run perhaps 150-450 pages, ...
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2answers
164 views

All persons fictitious - where to place it?

I've got an all persons fictitious disclaimer similar to the one mentioned at All persons fictitious disclaimer — ideas regarding modification? but where should I place it? Bear in mind, this is a ...
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2answers
590 views

Citing speech and interviews in biographies

I am currently writing a biography of a band, and have a question regarding citing quotes, such as from interviews. Is it necessary to cite everything a person (for example a band member or manager) ...
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3answers
977 views

Do you need to get author's permission to quote him in a non-fiction book?

I have a non-fiction book idea that would frequently use quotes/reviews from a specific author. Would I need to get that author's permission to quote him/her, and to base the entire book on these ...
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1answer
728 views

Length of non-fiction article and what to do about it

I have been working on a non-fiction (mostly biographical) article that currently is about 9,000 words and I have perhaps 30% more to go, so perhaps the final article would be 12-14k words or so. I ...
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5answers
1k views

Is it good style to use latin phrases in english scientific literature?

I don't know how much and deep actually school kids in the US get in touch with Latin. In Europe you can choose it on many high schools and the use of it common in mainstream media. For some areas of ...
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374 views

Correct order for Thesis Front Matter

What is the correct order of the following pages comprising a doctoral thesis: Title, Abstract, Colophon, Copyright, Dedication, Preface, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, List of Tables, List of ...
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2answers
509 views

Is there a typical structure for non-fiction popular science books? If so, what is it?

Is there an accepted or suggested structure for writing non-fiction (specifically, popular science) books? As an example of the type of book I mean, there's Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational: a ...
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3answers
322 views

What makes for interesting travel writing/blogging?

I wanted to hear a few words about travel writing. What qualities make for the most engrossing stories, especially for readers who are just sort of gauging their interest? I've read a number of ...
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108 views

Does this convey that I recommend the anthology I'm reviewing?

Here's a snipped-up version of a review of an anthology I wrote a while back (full original review here). Most of the stories were pretty good, a few were superb, and there were a few poor ones. For ...
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525 views

Can I use “We” to refer to me and the reader?

I am writing my thesis and in many cases I want to take the reader through an example. For example: Besides the advanced composition rules, it is also important to have a set of basic rules to ...
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646 views

Is an overview clearer when outlined with bullet points, or when written in paragraphs?

I am writing a short piece for a technical audience. In essence I have three main points, each with sub-points. A few of the sub-points themselves have sub-points. I cannot help but find it clearer ...
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4answers
731 views

Which goes first: summary, background or justification?

I am trying to write a long expository piece and cannot figure out which information should come first. Here are three candidates: A summary/abstract lists the main points, without necessarily ...
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6answers
484 views

Does this feel like natural English?

Although I'm pretty confident in my English, I'm not a native English speaker. I need to write a short introduction for a symposium; I'd like to know if you think this paragraph feels like 'natural' ...
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6answers
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How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life?

How do I avoid legal repercussions for writing a story based on events in my life? Mainly, I have experienced events that I would like to share with the world. These events are somewhat disturbing ...
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10answers
301 views

An alternative to saying 'users' when describing features

I'm creating some copy describing new web-app features for a number of different audiences (users, managers of sections of the site, owners of sub-sites which use our platform etc.). I'm finding ...
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3answers
734 views

When *should* I use passive voice?

Is there ever a good time to use passive voice in nonfiction?
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Common words to avoid when writing formally

I am rather useless at writing formal English and sometimes find that I can come across informal with my choice of words. So I wondered what common words and phrases should be avoided when writing an ...
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What are effective ways of working with a nonfiction editor?

How do you defend the integrity of your work while maintaining a cooperative and friendly rapport? Specifically, how can one work with an editor who is perhaps a bit overzealous?
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3answers
336 views

Please help me polish this paragraph.

I'm learning English as a foreign language. In one of my writings, one paragraph goes: But it's not saying we just indulge ourselves and turn into wild beasts. We train our brain hard so that we ...
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2answers
185 views

Is there a legitimate step by step guide to getting your book published?

I want to write on a computer topic which isn't covered by many existing books out there. What is the process of getting your book published?
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3answers
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When is it acceptable to use the first person (“I”, “we”) in technical reports?

When is it acceptable to use the first person ("I", "we") in technical reports?
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13answers
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Does a technical writer need a technical background?

Does a technical writer need a technical background?
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607 views

What are the key skills for a new technical writer?

For those that are just starting out, what are key skills they should have or learn to be a good technical writer?
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1answer
337 views

How long can I expect to wait between accepting an offer and signing?

I accepted an offer from a publisher recently on a non-fiction title. It's my first book and naturally I'm excited. My agent negotiated a good deal since which time the publisher has not been in touch....
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8answers
3k views

Good Outlining Solutions For OSX?

I write technical non-fiction and find that I cannot write well without first constructing a detailed (10-20 page) outline. Are there any good outlining solutions for OSX? Apps? Templates in Microsoft ...
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3answers
251 views

Writing a math exercise book

I am in the process of compiling a collection of exercises in Linear Algebra, (freshman course). This is mainly just a series of examples, with a short theoretical introduction to each chapter with a ...
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6answers
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Writing first programming book

I was recently asked if I was interested in writing a book for a pretty reputable publisher, which of course I accepted. I am not a writer by trade, I am a software developer with some technical ...
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5answers
398 views

Using uncommon abbreviations

Something which I see all the time in (popular) science writing is the use of abbreviations to indicate concepts. For (a made up) example: So when we're dealing with Anachronistic Meta Mechanics (...
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7answers
1k views

Verb tense for technical document titles

I'm writing a technical manual about creating database systems, and wondered what is the best verb tense for title names. My ideas are: Continuous (-ing) form: (e.g. "Creating a Cluster", "Creating ...
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Where can I find sales numbers for books?

I'm a writer, working on a non-fiction book proposal. Finding public, free sales numbers for comparable titles is nearly impossible. BookScan is a subscriber service run by Nielsen. "Above the ...
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4answers
988 views

Strunk and White vs “Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace” by Williams and Colomb

I'd like to improve my writing and have been considering getting either The Elements of Style by Strunk and White or Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Williams and Colomb. What are their ...
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2answers
874 views

How do I find good interview subjects?

I have an idea for a series of science articles, but I don't have a strong background in the particular field. What's a good way to identify experts who I could interview to shore up the details and ...
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3k views

How do you come up with non-fiction story ideas?

My biggest problem is that I'm often at a dearth of ideas. I can target a publication or radio show or whatnot once I've got it, but I'm just not good at coming up with them. Tips?