Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Writing nonfiction with fiction on my mind

"Your nonfiction is really good. Why don't you just keep writing that?"

This is a line I came across in a book I just finished reading: The Sell Your Novel Tool Kit by Elizabeth Lyon. This is something the author was asked in her critique group. It is, unfortunately, something I can relate to. I have been doing so well with nonfiction, but fiction is a whole 'nother story!

I interviewed Elizabeth some months ago for Write From Home. At the time, I was aware that she was VERY prolific with her writing -- particularly, the nonfiction writing. I visited her site and was amazed at just how prolific she has been. The amount of books she has had published just floored me. Yay, Elizabeth!

Here is her site:

One thing I noticed, though, was that the bulk of her book credits are NONFICTION books. In fact, all of the books listed on her site are nonfiction. This doesn't mean, however, that she can't write fiction. She has, and does. Actually, in her book, she talks about how she DID NOT give up on her novel. She saw it through until the end. But I do not see them listed on her site. Still, this doesn't make me think that Elizabeth will just stick with nonfiction books and shelf her novels. On the contrary, I have a feeling I will, indeed, be seeing novels written by Elizabeth published in the near future.

Because I have a feeling that, like me, she will definitely keep getting her fiction manuscripts out there. And work to get them published.

I have only one novel to my name. It was published by a co-op publisher -- something which, at the time, I was not aware was a bad thing. I was 19 and just one year into trying to get a manuscript published. Get myself that coveted "author" title. I didn't know it was bad to sign with a co-op and I was not as educated about researching publishers as I am now. I thought I finally "made" it and that my book had passed the tests. Little did I know that I was doing something considered "Very Bad" in the publishing industry. This has, unfortunately, continuously haunted me and maybe even hurt my writing career, but I will never give up. I want to reach that pinnacle of writing success. I want to get signed with an agent and have novels published by the big houses. That is my ultimate goal as a writer. My one dream. But, for now, I am writing nonfiction. And at the same time, I am still trying to get SOMEWHERE with my fiction.

I have come across so many nonfiction authors who bemoan their success with nonfiction and failures with fiction. One writer even talked about it on the Absolute Write Water Cooler, saying that with nonfiction, everybody wants it! But with fiction, it's rejection after rejection.

This, too, is my plight. I got started in writing with poetry then that lead to writing fiction. I wrote a million stories and novellas before entering the world of writing nonfiction. Fiction was my first love and today it continues to be something I am passionate about. I still love writing stories and, even though I'm getting rejections from agents from left to right, I will continue to write stories. It is a burning desire which cannot be denied. I guess you could say I am a "born storyteller." I just can't stop telling stories!

I know that it's good to make strides in the world of nonfiction writing, Publishing clips are good to have, regardless of whether those clips are fiction or nonfiction. Still, I'm not giving up on my dream of being a career novelist. This is my utmost desire as a writer. To have published novel after novel after novel.

But for now, I guess I have to settle for nonfiction books until I sign with an agent and finally make that dream of being a career novelist come true.



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