Author of Fiction or Non-Fiction?

Author of Fiction or Non-Fiction?


A Writer of Fiction or Non-Fiction?

This question is related, although indirectly, to my first article: Hypnosis, a true story?

As I mentioned in my biography, I have a degree in law. As a part of my training, I published a book in Portugal in 2015 called Volunteer Work, a legal and social reflection. Published when I was 29, my dream of writing a book had come true. And I was ecstatic.

The book is based on an investigation I carried out as a part of my Master’s Degree, on the legal and social factors at play in the context of voluntary work. There had been nothing published about the subject in my country, so my work required very thorough investigation. The book was also an insight into my vision of the Law and what it is – the law is there to serve people, and so to understand it better, we need to understand people as a collective. We need to understand society.

In my transition from non-fiction to fiction, I found it really hard to leave the law behind – after all, it’s what I had eaten, slept and breathed up until that point. But fiction allowed me to finally let it go. Maybe the reason it was so hard is that it’s not easy to break old habits.

It all started with the title of my first fiction book: Hypnosis. Looking back, the choice of this title seems like a consequence of that path I walked as a non-fiction writer. I was told several times (including by a publisher) that the title was ambiguous – it didn’t give away whether this book was a novel, or a non-fiction essay about hypnosis.

I understand the doubts. The decision makes me question it myself; after all, why did I opt for a title that raised this issue? Maybe, deep down, I am somewhere between the two categories of writers, towing the line between fiction and non-fiction. And that’s another reason why people feel that the story is true. It feels like it is grounded in something quite real. As if I had investigated an “academic” theme, treated it seriously, delved deep, and found a phenomenon that no one had ever heard of, but that took place.

The only truth here is that I wrote the story I wanted to write, and now it’s up to each reader to take their own interpretations from each element of the story, letting their own life experiences guide them.