7 Great Tips on How to Write Nonfiction

Tips on How to Teach Students to Write Nonfiction

Is it possible that nonfiction writing could have characteristics to its fiction counterpart? Their goals could be different with the former seeking to educate while the latter mainly for entertainment. However, as much as nonfiction writing is for scholarly purposes, some things could be implemented to help it attract as many readers as fiction writing.

To hook your audience, below are some of the tips you could use when crafting compelling nonfiction essays:

Tell a Memorable Story

Since the dawn of time, man has always had a fascination with stories. The main reason behind this is that stories are more memorable as compared to concepts, formulas or abstract rules. Based on this idea, it is prudent to have your essay tainted with bits of examples, comparisons, and experiences. Such brings out the effect of making your article more relatable. 

An example of the implementation of this concept could be in the place of reporting that “A spinach diet is healthy,” you could bring out the message via a short story. In this context, a story talking about runners who have had their performances improved by intake of a lot of spinach could suffice. In a nutshell, it only takes about two additional sentences to make your words have more impact on the reader.

Bait Your Audience

Great fiction stories have a knack for grabbing you straight from the start and maintain this grip until their conclusion. Why not incorporate the same principle for your nonfiction? If your cause and effect essay is meant for an online audience, it faces intense competition from thousands of different writings for the attention of readers. 

Readers have the option of choosing from these instantly and furthermore, for free. On the other hand, they could simply close their browsers and instead watch television. In this world of multimedia dominance, attention is among the most priceless of commodities.

When embarking on your journey of writing an essay, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • Does the first sentence urge the reader to take a look at the second?
  • Does the second spark some curiosity to move on to the third?
If not, some of these tips could help in rectifying that. The first one is starting off with a personal or even a historical story. An interesting story that has suspense will keep the reader hooked to your post and in no time find themselves already halfway through it before realizing it. 

Another way to start off your essay is by asking a question which moves the audience. This enables the readers to feel like you’ve put yourself in their shoes thus making them identify with both yourself and the essay.

Use Emotional Language

One of the most disastrous characters of nonfiction essays is their overly common and factual nature. They tend to incorporate a myriad of complexly structured sentences coupled with foreign words in a bid to qualify them as an expert like and more valid than their contemporaries. To write a successful nonfiction piece, it is vital that you use language that has more personality by lacing it with imagery and emotion. In addition to that, use of metaphors is also a great way of adding some spice to your broth.

In place of writing fluctuations of double-digit percentages, you should try bringing in a roller-coaster ride with numerous up and down moments. It’s also better to have nouns that are less abstract due to the superiority of languages that can be touched physically over those that can`t. 

Words that can be palpated have the effect of attracting the reader more because he does not only read them but also experiences them.

Say It Simply

In nonfictional writing, you should note that complicated wording is likely to frustrate your readers. If you have content that could be overwhelming, the best thing is not to encrypt it. Cutting it down into smaller and more digestible bites goes a long way in providing value for your readers. 

The way to achieve this is by packing your content into shorter sentences and vocabulary that can be understood easily. The reader should also have the ideas that you’ve broken into their last detail, and all these put into short paragraphs. Impress with your story or content rather than the wording, while at the same time, ensuring that your idea comes across.

Surprise the Reader

One of the most attractive elements that good fiction has is the ability to throw in surprising twists. On the other hand, nonfiction pieces have a sense of predictability hence making them come off as dull to readers. You can bring in the same idea when writing your nonfiction essay to help you maintain an aura of fun and attention from your readers.

One of the ways this can be achieved is by throwing in a question when least expected. This keeps the readers on their toes, and the effect could be taken a notch higher by answering the same question in a way that they least expected. 

Another way that this could be done is by making a statement and then following it up with points that come off as contradictions. This will surprise the readers and make them interested to find out your explanation and the manner in which you end up reconciling your points.

There Is Power in Omitting Some Details of What You Describe

The things that you exclude in your descriptions when writing nonfiction essays have equal importance as what you jot down. The reason behind this is that omission has the power to evoke a response of filling in the tiny details from the reader all by themselves. 

It is worth noting that while reading, your audience forms pictures out of your words. The things that you allude to in your writing but don't entirely describe come into play by engaging the reader`s mind to form something similar to what you’ve described. In the long run, this helps your nonfiction essays to take grab a hold of your readers’ attention.

Read Material from Great Writers

Lastly, the best way to incorporate diverse techniques of nonfictional writing is by getting a first-hand encounter with how nonfictional masterpieces look like. The more frequent you get with such material, the more their styles, stories and flow of language gets embedded into your subconscious. Before long, you will find yourself with the kind of mastery that makes your pieces the admiration of anyone that reads them.


Nonfiction writing is one of the fields in the literature that one can achieve great heights of success in. The methods highlighted above are some of the stepping stones that could be used to help in kicking off in this particular craft. Once implemented, they could assure you a mode of writing that meets the needs of nonfiction readers, in that, it will both educate and entertain!
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