What would be the response if you received a query for a nonfiction novel?Burning curiosity aside, at the serious end of the question I'm ignorant about the scope of the descriptor 'narrative non-fiction'. It seems to be reserved for historical persons and events, told as a story, with as much factual accuracy as possible of course, but with invented supporting characters, conversations, and so on. what about the other way round? If a book (thinking particularly aimed for children) is basically for the purpose of imparting factual knowledge (say; science, how government works, hobbies or crafts) but is presented in story format via fictional persons and events, what is it considered to be? At what point comes the distinction between fiction and non-fiction?Many thanks for the blog, and thoughts to everyone in some kind of lockdown.
There is no one answer.
Non-fiction novel is now usually called narrative non-fiction, and the first book I think of is In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a book so chilling I remember how I felt reading it all these years later.
An adult biography that inserted fictional characters is generally going to hit some bumps in the road. Dutch by Edmund Morris is the best example.
To this day, biographers hiss when that book is mentioned.
Those are adult books, and you're asking about kids books.
The lattitude for kids books is often much wider.
A lot of it depends on the editor and publisher.
Some editors want the facts and only the facts.
Other editors have a looser approach.
If the goal of your book is to teach kids about science or government, or hobbies and crafts, you'll generally find yourself with the non-fiction label even if you include fictional people.
If the goal of your book is to tell a story, you're on the fiction aisle.
One of the best ways to get a sense of this is go sit in the library (when it opens) and read shelf after shelf of non-fiction.
Keep notes on what books (and publishers) had non-fiction with fictional elements, and how the fictional elements were used.
I can't wait till the libraries open up again, but I'm willing to wait till it's safe for librarians, as I'm sure you are too.