Having Fun with Non-Fiction

ID-100232696By Jennifer Swanson-

Non-fiction is fun to read and to write. Don’t think so? Try these tips to make your words come alive and pique the curiosity of your reader.

1. Pick a topic you want to learn about

Ever wonder how satellites work? Investigate the NASA website for more information. Wonder how the Olympic Committee picks the site of the next Olympics? Do some research and find out. Something that peaks your curiosity is exciting and will motivate you to do research to find out more.

Of course, sometimes you can’t pick your own topic. But, don’t despair. Even if it’s the most boring topic in the world, there is always and interesting fact to be found.

2. Pick a unique angle

Discovering just the right angle can make your nonfiction writing come alive. Say your topic is the desert. What can you say about a desert? It’s hot. It has cactus. The animals sleep at night. Blah, blah.

Not so fast! Did you know that Antarctica is a desert? Well, do some research and find out. Taking a different approach to a topic can grab your reader’s attention and get them to keep reading.

3. Use active words

Short, active words paint vivid pictures in a reader’s mind are a great way to capture attention. Use words with energy to describe what is happening.

Here’s an example:

Rain is a form of precipitation. It is made when water in the atmosphere comes together in the form of a cloud. When the cloud gets big enough, it rains.  

Is that last piece exciting? Not really. Let’s try re-writing this:

Ever wonder how those fat, fluffy clouds turn into stormy rain clouds? Here’s how. High in the atmosphere, thousands of tiny water droplets condense and stick together to make a cloud. As other water droplets join in, the cloud grows and grows. Eventually, the cloud becomes very heavy–too heavy. It can’t hold all the water any more. Whoosh! The cloud bursts open thousands of water droplets race to the ground as rain. 

Which piece is more fun to read?

4. Have fun with it

Writing is fun! No matter what you write about, challenge yourself to make it exciting. Make your readers feel like they are actually tramping across the cold, barren, snowy Antarctic. Have them feel the icy wind as it slices across their cheeks and worms its way into their gloves. Let them experience the blinding sun as it reflects off the sharp, clear snow crystals. Putting them in the place they are reading about will make the story so interesting, they won’t even realize that they are learning.

Writing Prompt:  Take a paragraph or two from nonfiction textbook. Using these four steps, try to re-write the information. Use exciting, active words and paint vivid images for your reader. Does your piece sound better? Great! You are making non-fiction fun!

Jennifer Swanson


Jennifer Swanson is a self-professed science geek and is always on the hunt to learn something new. Like any good scientist and author, Jennifer is rarely without a notebook and writes down her observations throughout the day. You can learn more about Jennifer HERE and at www.JenniferSwansonBooks.com.

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4 thoughts on “Having Fun with Non-Fiction

  1. This will come in handy (for one, because I want to join a debate club, and knowing that Antarctica is a desert may come in handy, and two, because I haven’t really gotten into writing nonfiction.)! Thanks for writing about it! 😀

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