Most of the time novels are entirely fictional. As a writer myself, I can say that most of the time your characters take on some of your characteristics...but they are living in a made up world with made up problems. Most non fiction books that read like a story are memoirs or biographies or creative nonfiction. These will usually use words like "I" and "we".... and may read more like a "this happened, followed by this...and then this" rather than have a whole intricate plotline. But...if you have any doubts, a fiction book should have a disclaimer near the front where the copyright and all that is. It will say something similar to what movies display at the beginning: "This is a work of fiction, any simularities between the actions, characters, etc is purely coincidental..." and so on and so forth. Also, most nonfiction books have an introduction explaining the purpose of the book, what you should learn, etc...
at 9:06 PM on Aug. 5, 2009