What Are the Characteristics of Non-Fiction?

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Characteristics of a non-fiction text includes the presence of a table of contents, headings, captions, diagrams, charts, graphs, a glossary and an index. Additionally, the subjects of non-fiction are real and not imagined or made up, as the subjects in fiction are.

Another characteristic of non-fiction is the presence of a narrator, who is a real person and often the author of the text. Non-fiction texts are also written for a specific audience and purpose, which heavily influences the information that is included in the text. The most common types of non-fiction are narrative, expository, descriptive and persuasive.

Narrative non-fiction usually tells a real life story, experience or idea, or it accounts an event. Examples of this kind of non-fiction are autobiographies, memoirs, personal essays and journals. Expository non-fiction refers to a text that informs or explains a subject, an example of which is a research report. Descriptive non-fiction uses details to help the reader imagine a real place or person. An example of descriptive non-fiction is scientific observation. Persuasive non-fiction is a text that attempts to convince or change the reader’s way of thinking by presenting pertinent facts and details. A political speech or an editorial are examples of this kind of non-fiction. A specific and well-known example of non-fiction is “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” which accounts the life of Anne Frank during her time spent as a Jew in Europe during World War II.