The Nonfictionist's Guide: On Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction

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Overview

A vital and growing form, nonfiction has needed a sustained discussion about its poetics-both the theory and the craft of this genre. The Nonfictionist's Guide offers a lively exploration of the elements of contemporary nonfiction and suggests imaginative approaches to writing it. Each chapter on a vital aspect of contemporary nonfiction concludes with a separate section of relevant notes for nonfictionists. Beginning with a new definition of nonfiction and an explanation of the nonfiction motive, this book discusses the use of experimental forms, the effects of present and past tense and experiential and reflective voices, and the issue of truth. Robert Root provides ground-breaking explorations of the segmented essay and the role of spaces as an essential literary device, guiding both readers and writers through the innovative and stimulating ways we write nonfiction now.

About the Author:
Robert Root is a writer, editor, and teacher. A professor emeritus of English at Central Michigan University

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Root's is a welcome calm, clear voice in the often-confusing discussions surrounding what some refer to as the 'fourth genre,' i.e., literary nonfiction. Offering a 'poetics' of nonfiction, [he] provides an incisive exploration of the myriad terms for the genre and lively discussions of the range and depth of experimental forms within it and of research, truth, the segmented essay, and the role of 'white space.'
Phillip Lopate
This up-to-the-minute, extraordinarily well-informed, and highly suggestive book cannot help but be valuable to writers and teachers of the genre. Robert Root has read widely and pondered deeply the patterns and perplexities that underlie the practice of literary nonfiction. A marvelously commonsensical addition to the literature.
CHOICE
Root's is a welcome calm, clear voice in the often-confusing discussions surrounding what some refer to as the 'fourth genre,' i.e., literary nonfiction. Offering a 'poetics' of nonfiction, [he] provides an incisive exploration of the myriad terms for the genre and lively discussions of the range and depth of experimental forms within it and of research, truth, the segmented essay, and the role of 'white space.'
Kristen Iversen
[A]n invaluable tool for the classroom and any writer in the field.
Rebecca McClanahan
The Nonfictionist's Guide is essential reading for all writers and teachers of creative nonfiction. In clear and elegant prose, Robert Root explores the deepest questions about the genre and demonstrates how to shape nonfiction texts that aspire to the condition of art.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742556188
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 7/15/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Root is a writer, editor, and teacher. A professor emeritus of English at Central Michigan University, he has spoken on creative nonfiction and the teaching of writing at national and international conferences and been a guest writer in nonfiction and creative writing programs.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

1 The Nature of Nonfiction 1

Notes for Nonfictionists: Last Words First 14

2 Not the Design of the Author 19

Notes for Nonfictionists: The Design of the Author 26

3 The Experimental Art 29

Notes for Nonfictionists: Experimenting 38

4 The Art of Seeing 43

Notes for Nonfictionists: Seeing 60

5 Collage, Montage, Mosaic, Vignette, Episode, Segment 65

Notes for Nonfictionists: Segmenting 82

6 This is What the Spaces Say 85

Notes for Nonfictionists: Structure 88

7 Immediacy 95

Notes for Nonfictionists: Immediacy 112

8 Distance 117

Notes for Nonfictionists: Distance 130

9 Writing by Ear 135

Notes For Nonfictionists: Writing By Ear 150

10 Place 155

Notes for Nonfictionists: Place 170

11 Truth 177

Notes for Nonfictionists: Truth 192

12 Last Words Last 197

Notes for Nonfictionists: Last Words for Readers 198

Notes for Nonfictionists: Last Words for Writers 200

Notes and References 203

Index 217

About the Author 223

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