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  • Writer's pictureValerie Bolden-Barrett

Ban truth-twisting and fact-fudging from nonfiction writing!

I love revelation. I want to know what food products really have the highest nutritional value, and which cars on the market get the best gas mileage. I can’t trust ads to give me the facts when they have a product or service to sell.

When an expert releases data that refute deceitful claims, I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Remember when she found out what The Wizard was up to behind the closed curtain? Fool me once, fool me twice. After that…

Listen up, writers. Can you back up your snappy slogan or clever ad with solid data? Can you honestly claim that the face cream you’re hustling removes wrinkles or that your client’s sewage plan can save taxpayers $2 million a year?

And what about the political candidate whose speeches you write? Does the candidate have the credentials you were hired to promote?

Oh, I know what you may be thinking: I just write the text; proving it's factual isn't my job. And besides, I don’t have time to do that. All this may be true. But your value as a nonfiction writer lies as much in your integrity as it does in your skills.

For professional nonfiction writers, it pays to...

  • Thoroughly research the topicbefore you write.

  • Ask sources for proof to back up their claims.

  • Point out any discrepancies you uncover.

  • Warn clients against jeopardizing their brands with misinformation.

Digging up as many facts as possible allows you to write with clarity and conviction.

Your clients may balk at so much revelation. But they'll thank you in the end for heading off an embarrassing counterclaim or costly lawsuit. The lesson? Truth-twisting and fact-fudging have consequences in nonfiction writing.

©Valerie Bolden-Barrett

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