SynopsisExperience the power and the promise of working in today' most exciting literary form: Creative Nonfiction Writing Creative Nonfiction presents more than thirty essays examining every key element of the craft, from researching ideas and structuring the story, to reportage and personal reflection. You'll learn from some of today's top creative nonfiction writers, including: Terry Tempest Williams - Analyze your motivation for writing, its value, and its strength. Alan Cheuse - Discover how interesting, compelling essays can be drawn from every corner of your life and the world in which you live. Phillip Lopate - Build your narratoryourselfinto a fully fleshed-out character, giving your readers a clearer, more compelling idea of who is speaking and why they should listen. Robin Hemley - Develop a narrative strategy for structuring your story and making it cohesive. Carolyn Forche - Master the journalistic ethics of creative nonfiction. Dinty W. Moore - Use satire, exaggeration, juxtaposition, and other forms of humor in creative nonfiction. Philip Gerard - Understand the narrative stancewhy and how an author should, or should not, enter into the story. Through insightful prompts and exercises, these contributors help make the challenge of writing creative nonfictionwhether biography, true-life adventure, memoir, or narrative historya welcome, rewarding endeavor. You'll also find an exciting, creative nonfiction "reader" comprising the final third of the book, featuring pieces from Barry Lopez, Annie Dillard, Beverly Lowry, Phillip Lopate, and moreselections so extraordinary, they will teach, delight, inspire, and entertain you for years to come!
Like eating a well-conceived meal at an exceptional restaurant, reading this book is a wholly satisfying experience. Less-skilled chefs may have failed to get the book's many disparate elements to cohere, but, in the hands of editors Carolyn Forché and Philip Gerard, those ingredients sing. Brenda Miller compares the shape of a lyric essay with that of a loaf of challah bread; Nicholas S. Hentoff and Harvey A. Silverglate offer a primer on legal land mines. Christopher Merrill ponders the art of war writing, while Dinty W. Moore explores,the use of humor in creative nonfiction. There's an essay about bringing oneself into the story, and another about taking oneself out. Bob Reiss offers hilarious yet salient advice on surviving as a writer overseas. The contributors (Annie Dillard, Phillip Lopate, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, et al.) spend the first half of the book discussing creative nonfiction and the second half demonstrating it. Not only does the format work, but pairing the works of creative nonfiction with the accompanying commentary is educational and entertaining.
Among the book's most interesting sections, perhaps because their subject matter is underrepresented in writing-reference literature, are those about biography. Philip Furia discusses the need both to conduct an unbelievable amount of research and to leave a whole bunch of it out. And Honor Moore focuses on the intensity of biography writing: "I had no idea I was getting into twelve long years during which I would put preoccupation with someone else's life ahead of attention to my own." --Jane Steinberg