At some point in the past, I printed out a quotation from Bryan Burrough wrote in the New York Times about the difference between writing fiction and non fiction. I don’t remember when I did it but it wound up buried under my current book project. I uncovered it and read it again.
I’m sharing it with you because I’d like to hear what you think about what Burroughs wrote.
“If one compares a book to a house, the primary difference between the novelist and the nonfiction author is that novelists can build the most glorious mansion with nothing but their minds. With apologies to writers like Tom Clancy and Tom Wolfe, who actively research their books, a novel, for the most part, is just a dream on a page. The non-fiction author, however, must build his house by tramping into the woods of society day after day, rooting through the underbrush for the right wood; then he must fell the trees, haul them back to his site and assemble his dwelling log by log, nail by nail, all the while keeping in mind that if one plank is out of place, someone will howl.
“Fiction is an art. Nonfiction is construction.”
I thought Burrough stated it quite well. Can you think of any other analogies?