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Fiction vs. Nonfiction writing/software

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Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Sep 2, 2008 at 08:47 PM


Seeing Hugh’s note about Writer’s Cafe on the previous thread got me wondering why it is that there are more applications geared toward fiction writing than toward nonfiction. There are far more nonfiction books published each year (at least in the U.S., but I assume it is the same elsewhere) than books of fiction. Additionally, journalists and scholars are all writing nonfiction. So it would seem that software for nonfiction would have a broader market potential.

On the Mac side you have the following applications geared for fiction:

Jer’s Novel Software
Scrivener (which can be used effectively for nonfiction, but which is definitely aimed at novelists)
Writer’s Cafe

On the PC side:

Liquid Story Binder
Writer’s Blocks
Story Master
Writer’s Cafe

(I am doing this from memory, so I know I’m forgetting some.)

There are applications that have a foot in either genre:

SuperNoteCard (PC or Mac)
Page Four (PC)

And, of course, there are the basic word processors.

But I can’t think of one Mac-based application that is designed specifically for nonfiction. On the PC, there are IdeaMason, Nota Bene, and ndxCards.

Is the issue that fiction writing requires more specialized tools than nonfiction? Are there more “wannabe” fiction writers than nonfiction writers? Are the demands of nonfiction writing more complex and therefore harder to code (i.e. support for tables, formulas, footnotes, indices, etc…)? Or am I just not aware of or remembing the scads of software for nonfiction?

Anyway, this is just an observation and I’m curious to see what others think.