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Non-fiction (or nonfiction) is any document or media content that attempts, in good faith, to convey information only about the real world, rather than being grounded in imagination. Non-fiction typically aims to present topics objectively based on historical, scientific, and empirical information. However, some non-fiction ranges into more subjective territory, including sincerely held opinions on real-world topics.
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Based on the author's intention or the purpose of the content, the main genres of non-fiction are instructional, explanatory, discussion-based, report-based (non-chronological), opinion-based (persuasive) and relating (chronological recounting) non-fiction. Non-fictional works of these different genres can be created with the help of a range of structures or formats such as reference works (almanacs, encyclopedias, atlases, bibliographies, chronicles, consumer reports, dictionaries, thesauri, business or telephone directories, handbooks, yearbooks, books of quotations, etc), life writings (autobiographies, biographies, confessions, diaries, logs, memoirs, epistles, letters, postcards and letter collections, epitaphs, obituaries, etc.), literary criticism (book reports and book reviews), art criticism (movie reviews), promotional writing (brochures, pamphlets, press releases, advertorials, etc.), persuasive writing (apologias and polemics), essays and essay collections, history books, academic texts (scholarly papers including scientific papers, monographs, scientific journals, treatises, edited volumes, conference proceedings, etc.), news stories, editorials, letters to the editor, and opinion pieces, manifestos, notices (announcement), documentary films, textbooks, study guides, field guides, travelogues, recipes, owner's manuals and user guides, self-help books, popular science books, blogs, presentations, orations, sayings, and so on. Non-fiction is a fundamental approach to narrative (storytelling), and often refers specifically to prose writing – in contrast to narrative fiction, which is largely populated by imaginary characters and events (although some remain ambiguous regarding their basis in reality). Non-fiction writers can show the reasons and consequences of events, they can compare, contrast, classify, categorise and summarise information, put the facts in a logical or chronological order, infer and reach conclusions about facts, etc. They can use graphic, structural and printed appearance features such as pictures, graphs or charts, diagrams, flowcharts, summaries, glossaries, sidebars, timelines, table of contents, headings, subheadings, bolded or italicised words, footnotes, maps, indices, labels, captions, etc. to help readers find information.
While specific claims in a non-fiction work may prove inaccurate, the sincere author aims to be truthful at the time of composition. A non-fiction account is an exercise in accurately representing a topic, and remains distinct from any implied endorsement.