Nonfiction is the broadest category of literature. Autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, letters, essays, speeches, and news articles are just a few of the many types of nonfiction writing. All of these forms of prose concern real, rather than imaginary, subjects. Nonfiction writers in particular know the importance of being clear. In addition, they understand that what they write must be of interest, or no one will want to read what they have to say. Even though nonfiction is about real people and real events, nonfiction writing can also be creative. Writing About Oneself An autobiography is the story of a person’s life written by that person. Autobiographies are presented from the firstperson point of view and may be based entirely on the writer’s memory. A memoir is also about the person who has written it, but a memoir usually focuses on one experience or period in the person’s life. Writing About Another A biography is the story of a person’s life written by someone other than that person. In addition to recounting the events of the subject’s life, most biographers explore the person’s reactions to those events and the effects they had on his or her personality. Formal and Informal Essays An essay is a relatively short piece of nonfiction in which the writer explores a single topic from his or her own perspective. Essays can be formal or informal. The most common type of informal essay is the personal essay, in which the writer’s purpose is to entertain or share personal experiences with the reader. Formal essays are more serious in tone. They include the expository (or explanatory) essay and the persuasive essay Writing to Persuade Persuasion refers to a type of speech or writing that tries to influence the thoughts and actions of an audience. Every persuasive text contains an argument, or a statement of a problem and supporting reasons and evidence. Effective arguments are organized using logic, or sound reasoning. Why do people tell stories about real-life events? Identify some reasons why people write about their lives, the lives of others, and the world around them. My aunt tells stories about her life. She makes every event amusing. She often tells stories we’ve heard before, but they’re never boring. We beg her to tell stories about our childhoods, and she never refuses. Guide to Reading Nonfiction ● When reading nonfiction, first determine what type of work you are reading. ● Try to identify the author’s purpose. Is he or she writing to inform, to entertain, or to persuade? ● If the author’s purpose is to inform, look for a thesis statement and support for the thesis. Guide to Reading Nonfiction ● If the author’s purpose is to entertain, look for literary elements, such as figurative language, dialogue, or suspense. ● If the author’s purpose is to persuade, determine whether the author is presenting an argument, emotional appeals, or a combination of both. Elements of Nonfiction ● Nonfiction is writing about real people and real events. ● An autobiography tells the story of the writer’s own life. ● A biography tells the story of another person’s life. ● An essay is a short work of nonfiction on a single topic. An essay can be formal or informal. Elements of Nonfiction ● Personal essays are meant primarily to entertain. Expository essays are intended to explain, inform, or persuade. ● Persuasive writing is intended to change the way people act and think. All persuasive essays and speeches contain arguments that persuade through logic, reason, emotional appeal, and evidence.