“You do not conceive a novel as easily as you conceive a child, nor even half as easily as you create nonfiction work. A journalist amasses facts, anecdotes and interviews with top brass. Enough of these add up to a book. A novelist demands quite different things. He has to find himself in his materials, to know for sure how he would feel and act and the events he writes about. In addition, he requires a catalyst — a person, idea, or emotion which coalesces his ingredients and makes them jell into a solid purpose.”
Source: Zelda Popkin’s autobiography, Open Every Door, as quoted in “A Forgotten Forerunner: Zelda Popkin’s Novels of the Holocaust and the 1948 War,” by Jeremy D. Popkin. I’m not sure that all of the nonfiction writers I know would agree with the statement above. But as I mentioned last week, it was Zelda Popkin’s journalistic/nonfiction work that led me to a key anecdote that shapes my new story, “Fidelis,” and I’ve found out a little more about her. The article I’ve reference is fascinating, for anyone who has access to the database (or a really good library!).