Researching Non-Fiction

As some of you may know I am studying Creative Writing and English Language at University and as I have now started my 3rd year I am tackling the scariest thing known to all undergraduates…The Dissertation!

After debating whether or not to write a collection of poetry I was encouraged by a number of tutors to follow an idea I came up with in my 2nd year. I agreed and am now looking at writing a book (not the entire book for my dissertation of course) about the conception and history of the vibrator.

My plan is to write a book proposal for my dissertation so that I will have something to send to a publisher once I have finished.

I have never written non-fiction before, other than a few music/event reviews and this is the scariest thing I have faced yet. I will have to learn how to research my subject area, how to sort the interesting bits from the dull and how to construct the book itself; the voice, style and angle.

At the moment I am at the extensive reading phase of the research. All my books look like beautiful orange and pink butterflies with all the mini post-its I have adorned the pages with. It does make me feel like I have got a lot of work done. But in truth, I haven’t as yet. I need to write. Get things down on paper. Find a narrative angle and find a voice for the book. This makes me scared to try to put anything down on paper…which is silly.

I know that this is what I must do though, to start the process off properly and to get the creative chaos flowing.

If any of you are non-fiction writers or avid readers of non-fiction then I would love to hear what you think about the writing process, or what you like best about reading non-fiction? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


About Vicki

Wife, mother, student, writer. View all posts by Vicki

3 responses to “Researching Non-Fiction

  • thefashionablereader

    Good luck with it 🙂 I’m in my first year at uni at the moment so I’ve still got quite a bit of time to go before I have to start thinking about the big D 😛 I’m studying Creative Writing and English Literature, so to be able to see that you’re doing a course like mine is good for me to read about.

    • Vicki

      Hey hey! Good on you! The first year is the best 🙂 I thought about pairing with Lit but decided to do Language because I hate picking apart books I love. The dissertation is moving very slowly at the moment but I am sure I will get there. I seem to be streaming out poetry at the moment which is great but it’s not helping with writing non-fic! Hee hee.

      • thefashionablereader

        I’ve always liked literature more than language, but I do understand what you mean though. Well at least you’re getting somewhere with it. Hehe. I’m sure you’ll find a way around it 🙂

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