Let’s face it. Writing engaging nonfiction isn’t easy. Because you can’t make anything up, you have to rely on the information that’s available, and sometimes the information a writer would like to include simply doesn’t exist.
It can be tempting to invent dialog or rearrange chronology a bit to improve a story arc. So tempting that some writers would love a term that justifies doing so. That’s why it’s no surprise that some people misuse the term “informational book,” thinking it is a kind of nonfiction that is based on true information but takes occasional liberties with the verifiable facts.
But this is NOT a legitimate use of the term “informational book”. NONE of the three accepted definitions make room for made-up material with the goal of strengthening a story. NONE.
If you make up anything, anything at all, you are writing fiction. Period.
So why does this mis-definition persist? There are a couple of reasons. I’ll discuss the first of them next week.