• Anna-Roisin Ullman-Smith

When Adult fiction sits on the cusp on non-fiction

Updated: Feb 10


Sometimes when reading a piece of adult fiction I catch myself thinking; 'wow, they really researched this one' and not always in a good way.

We all know the importance of reading and researching before you write a novel, no matter when it is based. It would not make any sense at all to write a novel based in Victorian England if you knew nothing of the era, but then again when a novelist researches too much the lines between fiction and non-fiction become blurred.

Quite often I avoid adult fiction for this singular fact. Although I appreciate being able to learn real life, usable, information from the relaxing past-time of a good book, I do not dive into fiction to learn, but to escape.

In this sense, YA novels hold a greater skill in creative writing, with their authors by far more capable of wielding real facts to their stories advantage, and knowing when to throw out the rule book of real life. Whereas Adult fiction novelists are, more often then not, inspired to write because of something real, a historical story, legend, myth, religion or modern life, meaning that the separation between the fact and the fiction is harder to make.

It is painful to read any fictional novel that has been over researched, the pages and chapters explaining the science or history behind something are often dry and precarious. Only on occasion do you find a piece of heavily researched literature that reads like fiction, such as the case of the Discovery Of Witches trilogy by Deborah Harkness, which accomplishes to weave historical fact into a wonderfully crafted piece of fiction and myth, leaving the reader both educated and curious as to the truths within the fiction.

These however are what I like to call 'grey' books, novels which leave you both informed but unsure of the levels of truth and fiction throughout the storyline, and often leaving me on Google piecing together the facts and separating the fiction.

'Grey' books such as these however are a rare find, and often sit on the fine balance between too much fact and too much fiction, one that tips easily and can be seen tipping throughout in various chapters of any 'grey' storyline.

#TheDiscoveryofWitches #DeborahHarkness #AdultFiction #YANovels

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