Information Literacy for Fiction Writers

Oct 2020

Information literacy empowers people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals

UNESCO. (2017). Information Literacy

When I first studied Information Literacy at uni, I felt the word ‘literacy’ was being overused. Just to name a few: there is data literacy, computer literacy, general literacy and even food literacy.

Wikipedia gives us a standard explanation of ‘literacy’.

There is information available for those interested but I’m going to apply it to the writer because after I completed the unit my appreciation grew.  I immediately saw how it might benefit fiction writers. The problem is that most of the literature out there is either very academic, too vague, it’s for kids, for university students etc. and etc.

According to the Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework, information is ‘abundant and intensive’ (2004, page 3). And don’t we know it as writers! We want information and we want it now … to write our books.

Note. This series is most relevant for fiction writers.

Why should I join you and read this series of articles you’re going to write?

Good question. Join me because you can benefit from my research on Information Literacy, from a writer’s perspective, provided freely and with a strong focus on fiction writing. Some things you’ll know instinctively, from previous study or life skills, but you may pick up a trick or two. It may help you to isolate what you need, help improve your search skills, make sound decisions about all the data you’ll have accumulated (sifting, storing, compiling), apply your chosen information to your fictional work and consider the legal and ethical considerations behind what you use and how you use it.

Best of all, you’ll be a part of the life-long learning cycle and develop transferable skills.

What topics are to be covered?

First up, I’ll be introducing the five components of information literacy and apply each separately from a writer’s perspective. This information is taken from the link below * but remember, I’m manipulating this basic information to fit fiction writers! This is a rough guide –

Identify – writing techniques, audience and tools, etc. and or for your worldbuilding, characters, and fiction facts

Find – improve your search skills using libraries, the internet, people, other author’s and their work and or how to organize your findings

Evaluate – considering your findings in terms of what to keep and what to toss, then how to use and or manipulate to fit your needs, i.e., a character’s job, quality of information

Apply – using your evaluated findings in a way that enhances your fiction work such that it does not dominate the scene or not give it enough support

Acknowledge – this is about knowing what you can use legally and ethically and how you can use it. Unlike non-fiction, you will not be attributing so this is important to help you avoid copyright issues

What’s first?

For your fiction

Identify – fiction facts for your characters

For your writing tools

Identify – what writing and editing tools you may need for your character

The information will be underpinned by UNESCO, IFLA, various libraries and university websites and:

Standard One The information literate person recognises the need for
information and determines the nature and extent of the information needed

Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework. (2004).


My aim will be at least once a month to release each topic, but ideally, once a fortnight.



Australian and New Zealand Information Literacy Framework. (2004). 2edn.

UNESCO. (2017). Information Literacy.

See ya soon

Image by sabelskaya at CanStockPhoto

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