Here’s a little part of my Saturday presentation which brought some good comments and questions.
Non-fiction has changed in the last decade. Ten years ago, I could say “I want to write a book about famous fires” and six months later, Voila.
Today, there’s a teensy little problem:
You can look up fire on here and find everything you ever wanted to know, and more. There is absolutely no need to buy a book.
So, a non-fiction book today has to have a concept. Something to make it fun. Something that will make kids choose to read paper instead of screen.
It has to have 50 silly questions. Or, it has to have cartoons. Or, in the case of my new book, about blood, it has to have a side-story told in graphic novel form, about a boy slowly drawn into a society of vampires.
It has to have something.
Wikipedia limits us. We can’t create a simple collection of facts. Wikipedia challenges us, as writers, to do more, and do better.
And it also frees us. Because all the facts are here, at the click of a mouse. We don’t have to give our readers all the information. If they’re interested, they can look it up. We just have to hook them. We have to convince them that fire is way more interesting than they ever would have guessed, looking at a list of facts.