Interesting writing has more than just the facts. Problems are raised and must be resolved. That is the case with both fiction and non-fiction.
Crazy writing has problems come up that you would never expect in real life. Those are the kind of problems that appear in advanced textbooks and epic novels.
A story about a family reunion and picnic at the park with everyone having a good time is a boring story. Throw in a group of rough characters playing loud music nearby and it gets interesting. Add a poison pie to the menu and the story is getting crazy. Interesting and crazy make for good reading. If there are no problems to be solved, why would anyone keep reading? Good fiction is built on interesting problems. What is an interesting problem?
A flat tire is not an interesting problem unless there is also a time problem. The discovery that there is no spare is interesting. When the tow truck driver shoots the protagonist in the stomach and then abducts her husband, the story is getting really interesting. It’s passed over into crazy and is probably the main problem of the story. When it gets crazy, the possibilities multiply. Is the abduction a sex thing? Does the tow truck driver know his victim? Was he hired for this job? Was the tire rigged to blow? Putting lots of questions in the reader’s mind creates tension and they must keep reading. That can be done with non-fiction too.
Non-fiction is about how things work and how to get things done. It becomes more interesting when it deals with how to solve a problem. Take an example. An article about how to use the multiple draft process is just information. If it doesn’t solve a problem, why should the reader bother? Present the multiple draft process as the solution to spending months writing only to find your book is too short and now the process becomes interesting. Can this topic become crazy? Yes. The multiple draft process can also be helpful in keeping track of multiple interlocking stories within a novel. That’s why it includes an outline.
Most non-fiction has one central problem that should be solved by reading the article or book. The most complex non-fiction, textbooks, have a crazy collection of problems. Many are problems you will never see.
Is your writing interesting or crazy?
Article by Ivan Izo.