Facts or Fiction? Post 4 in the Pro-Blogger Challenge. #writebravely

This entry is part 8 of the series Build a Better Blog


Hello again all you wonderful bloggers!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. So a special welcome to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 4th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to F for

Facts or Fiction

Here is a less than commonly known fact: Tweet it if you will.

Blogs can be fact OR fiction. Just make sure your reader knows which. #writetribeproblogger #writebravely Click To Tweet

Here is a list of tips or suggestions. You won’t be able (or want) to use them all, but maybe one or two will spark a flame of creativity in you!

First, we’ll look at the more common type of blog: the one based on FACTS, in other words, non-fiction.

  • Write on a Nonfiction Topic and the Facts you use will increase your Authority.

    This applies to individual posts, or to dedicated blogs. I have a blog dedicated to encouraging and inspiring those going through the cancer valley. It is called Rise and Soar, and all the posts are on some aspect of cancer. How am I qualified to do this? I am a cancer survivor (20 years but who’s counting?). I am also a retired Registered Nurse (RN). And I’m a pastor’s wife. (Also retired – not as his wife, but Rob has retired from full-time ministry. Although at times I wonder, he does so much preaching at away churches I expect our own minister to welcome him as a visitor!)  Yet because I blog on the topic, I am amazed at the variety of questions I am asked.

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  • See How the Experts Do It.

    Dean Wesley Smith is in the process of updating his already-published book, Think Like a Publisher. You can buy it from Amazon.com, or you can read it one chapter at a time for free on his blog

  • Bring in Experts.

    If you’re doing a non-fiction series and there is a section you don’t feel fully qualified to write about, approach someone else to write the post. This gets them exposure and shows your readers you’re not afraid to ask for help when you’re not sure of the facts. This will also help you form relationships with other writers, and it will bring some of the guest blogger’s readers to your blog for a visit.

  • Choose your Topic with Care.

    Select a topic you feel qualified to write on, and still do research to add additional material. Don’t forget to credit any facts you get from someone else. Apart from being the right thing to do, it helps to share the load of responsibility, in case some facts are wrong.

    I haven’t been able to find the author of this quote, but I do love it:

    The man who says he's self made saves the Lord a lot of responsibility. #writetribeproblogger #writebravely Click To Tweet


I’ll say more about this approach as it is not used as often. Nevertheless, blogs can be a tremendous source of promotion for the fiction writer.

Some suggestions on using Facts or Fiction in blogging. #writetribeproblogger #writebravely Click To Tweet

  • How to Use Fiction in Blogging.

    There are various ways to do this. Just, whatever you do, don’t publish a blog in your own name and present fiction as facts. Most of us remember the scandal that broke over James Frey’s “memoir” which turned out to be mainly fiction: A million Little Pieces. (You can read the story here.) Readers should know from the outset whether your work is fiction or based on facts. 

  • What About Fantasy?

    If you are writing fantasy or science-fiction, a blog is an ideal place to unpack your characters. You can also create a landscape, using your blog to expand the description. Perhaps invite your readers to point out problems in the land you’re describing. Or you could suggest a problem your character faces and ask for suggestions. You could just get a new take on your story line. You could also suggest to give credit in the acknowledgement page to anyone who gives you suggestions you use.

    Unpack your fictional landscape and characters in a blog! #writetribeproblogger #writebravely Click To Tweet. Again, make sure your readers know it’s fantasy.

  • Fictional Character Blog Hop.

    In recent months, there have been some blog hops where readers follow a link from one site to the other, meeting up with fictional characters at each stop. This is a fun and creative means of introducing your characters. Follow this link to see an example of how this works.
    Try interviewing your fictional characters on your blog. #writetribeproblogger #writebravely Click To Tweet

  • Interview Your Characters on your Blogfacts or fiction: Helsinki Sunrise

    ….or those belonging to another writer: This is a fabulous way to promote a novel. For example, Heidi McCahan, an American author, interviews Adam Carter, hero of Marion Ueckermann’s, Helsinki Sunrise. If you get someone else to interview your character on your blog, that not only promotes your book, it will bring some of the author’s readers to your site.

  • Visit Towns or Countries to do with your Novels.

    By doing this, you give your readers a look into the backstory which possibly doesn’t appear in your book. e.g. Marion Ueckermann again wrote an attractive blog post on Finland, the location for the same book mentioned above, Helsinki Sunrise. Because she has visited Finland, she was able to share many personal photographs with her readers.

  • Use Poems, Video Clips and Book Reviews.

    These and other types of blog posts, even if they are based on facts, especially linked to your article, will help to bring your story or non-fiction book to life.

  • Blog a Novel.facts or fiction, Violent sands

    This is a fairly common practice, although personally I think it has its risks. After all, why would you buy a novel that you’d already read online? Mainline publishers will normally turn away anything that’s been published on your blog.

    Having said that, a writer friend of mine, Sean Young, who used to live in South Africa but is now in England, published his book on his blog. Because he couldn’t interest a publisher in his book, he gave it away for free on his site. Some weeks later, a publisher contacted him telling him to take it down at once as they wanted to publish the book.

    The book is Violent Sands by Sean Young, and it is still available on Amazon. com. It was subsequently published in Spanish as well, and he has gone on to produce another two novels. And it all started when he put it on his blog! 

    Have you read VIOLENT SANDS by SEAN YOUNG? Background here. #atozchallenge Click To Tweet

    My other concern with this idea is that you need to know how the story will end. I am a SOTP (Seat Of The Pants) writer. I’ve written 7 novels (6 of them for NaNoWriMo and none published.) But I have never known the ending before I got there. I was often as surprised as the characters at the sudden turn of events in the story. One of my novels ran into a wall at the end. Should I ever want to publish it, I would have to rewrite the ending. You wouldn’t want that to happen in public on your blog.

“Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you
apart as an expert in your field.” ~ Penelope Trunk

Which of the above ideas resonate the most with you? I would love you to share in a comment below.


I plan to compile these blog posts into a book when they’re finished. Leave me a suggestion and it may end up in the book (with credits of course!)


30 comments on “Facts or Fiction? Post 4 in the Pro-Blogger Challenge. #writebravely

  1. That was a quick tutorial on how to come up with content for my blog in those lean days .. though I like to blog fiction more than facts but I am yet to try my hand at fantasy .. will book mark this when I get stuck on blogging basics . Here’s to writing bravely Shirley!

    • When my friend, Marion Ueckermann, got another author to interview her main characters on her blog as part of the book’s promotion, I thought it was a unique idea. I’ve since learned quite a few author’s do that. It’s clever, and it’s funny!

  2. I always seem to miss the boat on blogging challenge months, ha! But next month is NaNoWriMo for me, and I’ve also thought about blogging every day in November. While most of the prose posts on my blog are creative non-fiction, I might add some fiction in there next month. Thanks for the nudge to change things up a bit!

    • Hi Lorna,
      Wonderful! So you’re doing NaNo? I’ve done it 7 times but right now I don’t have time to take a month off to write another novel (which won’t get published!) All the best for the November rush. I love it!

  3. So helpful, thank you, Shirley! I am definitely a fact-writer, being in the food/nutrition/healthy recipe arena, but love to tell the stories of my life as I go. I do love to exaggerate, but they’re still facts lol 🙂 Congrats on your 20-year survivorship and long career as an RN. I am an RD, and work primarily as an educator at a teaching hospital in Boston. Cheers to you – I will be back!

    • Thanks for your visit and comments, Julia. I had to look up the abbreviation, RD! 🙂 Never heard of it before. Well done on qualifying in an area I hated with a passion until the end of my cancer treatment. Then I met with an RD who had specialized in cancer and my lifestyle changed with a bang!

  4. This was a very educative post. I normally tread towards non fiction than fiction. I think I have a long way to go after reading the do’s and dont’s. Thanks a ton! Speaking of cancer it bought back memories of handful of relations who fought with sheer will power but the disease took them away 🙁

    • Oh yes, cancer has a way of winning. My surgeon congratulated me when I reach the one year anniversary. When I asked him why, he replied “I didn’t expect you to still be alive.” I was doused with prayer from people all over the world, and I can only believe there was still more for me to do on earth. Thanks for visiting

  5. Hey Shirley, this is a great post. I found it specially relevant as many of our fellow blogger in the Write Tribe Pro Blogger have chosen to go the fiction way. Thanks for sharing such useful tips!

  6. So many bloggers have a novel or a ‘self-help’ book dying to make it’s way out. I haven’t had that yet, nothing resonates enough with me to make me think I have enough to write about, but maybe one day the muse will strike and I’ll know what to do after reading this 🙂

  7. Hi Shirley
    Thanks for a great post. Loads of food for thought. I often find marketing a book harder than actually writing it and you have offered some great tips here.

    Thanks, also, for the nod to Violent Sands. FYI – WARNING! shameless plug here 🙂 – I plan to release the story as a book trilogy in the near future. Because of the original story’s length, I had to cut out a whole sub-plot of about a hundred pages. So, for those who have read it, there is a whole extra story in there that was not included in the above version.

  8. How very interesting, and sure is a lot to take in. I think I may reread this one… Thanks for sharing. You really know your stuff!!! Have a great weekend.

  9. Thanks Marion. I’m about to interview Sean Young’s main character and I plan to read your interview to see how you approached it!

  10. It was such fun to interview my characters, Shirley. I’m hoping to return from my upcoming trip with more photos and fodder for upcoming and past books. Hmm, perhaps time to do another blog hop?

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