What Are the Types of Nonfiction?

Nonfiction literature generally fits into one of four types determined by the writer's intent: narrative tells a story; expository provides information; descriptive produces evocative images in the reader's mind; and persuasive attempts to change the audience's mind. These aren't mutually exclusive since nonfiction often uses elements from several types.

Nonfiction can be creative or non-creative as long as it is factual prose literature. Narrative nonfiction, including biographies and autobiographies, memoirs, travelogues and some forms of journalism, often employs an assortment of creative devices and styles.

Strictly expository nonfiction, such as a peer-reviewed report in a science journal, frequently shuns creative elements in favor of ensuring factual accuracy and audience understanding.

Although predominantly persuasive, a political speech regularly dips its toes into each type of nonfiction. Political candidates choose to share some information that supports their causes, tell stories of their encounters with the everyman and difficult political issues, and use very descriptive language to paint a picture of themselves as the better choice.