10 Difference between Fiction and Non-Fiction (With Table)

What is the main difference between fiction and non-fiction? Fiction is a literature genre that involves imaginary and fabricated narrative while non-fiction is a narrative that present factual information.

Fiction and non-fiction are two literature genres with unique storytelling style. Identifying the characteristics of each can be challenging for some learners. But learners need to understand that fictions are stories that are not true and non-fictions are factual.

This post provides insight into the differences and similarities between fiction and non-fiction books or stories. We have also highlighted the difference between fiction and non-fiction with examples for better understanding.

Difference between Fiction and Non-Fiction with Table

Basic Terms Fiction Non-Fiction
Purpose Entertainment, imagination Information, facts, reality
Narrative Style Creative storytelling Objective, factual reporting
Characters Imaginary or fictional characters Real people and events
Setting Imaginary or fictional worlds Real-world settings
Plot Created, often with a conflict Based on real events and facts
Dialogue Invented dialogue Actual conversations or quotes
Author’s Role Author creates the entire content Author presents researched facts
Literary Devices Use of symbolism, metaphors, etc Primarily focuses on information
Entertainment Value Engages emotions and imagination Informs, educates, or persuades
Categorization Genres like mystery, fantasy, etc. Categories like history, science

What Is Fiction?

Fiction is a literary genre and storytelling form that encompasses narrative works created by authors to entertain, inspire, or engage readers’ imaginations through the use of invented or imaginative elements.

In fiction, authors construct stories that feature characters, settings, and events that may or may not have any basis in reality.

The primary characteristic of fiction is that it is not bound by factual or historical accuracy, allowing authors the freedom to create their own worlds and narratives.

Advantages of Fiction

  1. Entertainment and Escape.
  2. Imagination and Creativity.
  3. Exploration of Emotions and Themes.
  4. Cognitive Benefits, including improved empathy.
  5. Cultural Insights and Diverse Perspectives.
  6. Stress Reduction.

Disadvantages of Fiction

  1. Potential for Misinformation.
  2. Distraction from Real-Life Responsibilities.
  3. Emotional Impact, potentially negative.
  4. Can foster unrealistic expectations.
  5. Time Consumption.
  6. Subjective Enjoyment.

What Is Non-Fiction?

Non-fiction refers to a category of literature and storytelling that primarily deals with factual, real-world events, subjects, and information. Non-fiction is grounded in verifiable facts, data, and actual occurrences.

It encompasses a wide range of genres and forms, including essays, biographies, memoirs, documentaries, historical accounts, scientific reports, news articles, and more.

Non-fiction serves the purpose of informing, educating, documenting, or persuading the reader or audience, often with the intention of presenting a truthful and accurate portrayal of real people, places, events, or ideas.

It can be a valuable source of knowledge, offering insights into the world, historical events, scientific discoveries, personal experiences, and various subjects of interest. Non-fiction is a vital component of literature and serves as a bridge between the realms of literature and the dissemination of factual information.

Advantages of Non-fiction

  1. Factual Information.
  2. Educational Value.
  3. Real-World Insights.
  4. Authenticity and Credibility.
  5. Opportunities for Learning.
  6. Research and Reference Material.

Disadvantages of Non-fiction

  1. Dry or Academic Writing.
  2. Potential for Bias.
  3. Lack of Creative Imagination.
  4. Information Overload.
  5. Difficulty in Understanding Complex Topics.
  6. Limited Entertainment Value.

Main Difference between Fiction and Non-Fiction

  1. Fiction is imaginative and invented, while non-fiction is based on facts and real events.
  2. Fiction entertains and inspires, while non-fiction informs and educates.
  3. Fiction features fictional characters, whereas non-fiction involves real people.
  4. Fiction uses imaginary settings, while non-fiction relies on real-world locations.
  5. Fiction invents plots, while non-fiction recounts actual events.
  6. Fiction uses invented dialogue, while non-fiction includes real conversations.
  7. Fiction authors create content, while non-fiction authors present researched facts.
  8. Fiction uses symbolism, metaphors, etc., while non-fiction focuses on information.
  9. Fiction engages emotions and imagination, while non-fiction provides information.
  10. Fiction has genres like mystery, fantasy, etc., while non-fiction includes categories like history, science.

Similarities between Fiction and Non-Fiction

  1. Both are forms of written expression.
  2. Both can be published in various formats, such as books, articles, and essays.
  3. Both aim to engage and communicate with readers.
  4. Both can explore and convey complex themes and ideas.
  5. Both use language and narrative techniques to convey their messages.
  6. Both contribute to the body of literature and human knowledge.


The distinctions between fiction and non-fiction are clear and significant. Fiction offers a realm of creative imagination and entertainment, populated with invented characters and settings, while non-fiction is firmly anchored in factual information, providing education, insights, and a connection to the real world.

These fundamental differences shape the purposes, content, and impact of these two literary domains, offering readers diverse avenues for both enjoyment and knowledge acquisition. Both genres enrich our understanding of the written word and its power to convey stories, facts, and emotions.

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