Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling / Edition 1

Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling / Edition 1

by Susan (Sue) M. Hertz
Pub. Date:
SAGE Publications
Pub. Date:
SAGE Publications
Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling / Edition 1

Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling / Edition 1

by Susan (Sue) M. Hertz
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Developing nonfiction writers at any stage of their career

Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling helps writers cultivate their nonfiction storytelling skills by exploring the universal decisions writers confront when crafting any kind of factual narrative. Rather than isolating various forms of narrative nonfiction into categories or genres, Sue Hertz focuses on examining the common choices all true storytellers encounter, whether they are writing memoir, literary journalism, personal essays, or travel essays. And since today’s writers are no longer confined to paper, Write Choices also includes digital storytelling options, and how writers can employ technology to enhance their narratives. Integrating not only her own insights and experience as a journalist, nonfiction book author, and writing instructor, but also those of other established nonfiction storytellers, both print and digital, Hertz aims to guide writers through key decisions to tell the best story possible. Blending how-to instruction with illuminating examples and commentaries drawn from original interviews with master storytellers, Write Choices is a valuable resource for all nonfiction writers, from essayists to memoirists to literary journalists, at any stage of their career.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452230856
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Publication date: 03/18/2015
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xix

About the Author xxi

Chapter 1 What's the Big Idea? 1

Where lurk subjects? 3

Find subjects in passions 4

Find subjects in conversations 5

Find subjects in observations 8

Find subjects in reading 9

Find subjects Web cruising 11

Find subjects in reflection 12

What's the question? 14

Where lies the conflict? 16

Is the subject timely or timeless? 17

Curiosity fuels the narrative quest 18

Chapter 2 What's the Form? 23

Internal narratives 25

Personal essay 26

Blogging 28

Memoir 30

External narratives 32

Internal and external narratives 35

Short essay? Kindle Single? Full-Fledged book? 40

Multimedia options 44

Visuals 46

Audio 49

Interactive features 50

Chapter 3 What's the Content? 53

What do you know? 55

What do you need to know? 56

Stats & facts content 58

Background content 59

Content from other perspectives 60

Action content 61

Where do you find content? 63

People as resources: To whom do you talk? 63

How do you find experts and participants? 64

What do you ask in an interview? 65

Observation: What do you see? Hear? Smell? 67

Online Resources 73

Search engines and databases: Google and beyond 73

Traditional media 74

Social media 75

Crowdsourcing 77

Brick & mortar institutions 78

Let the information come to you 80

Chapter 4 What's the Focus?

How do you find focus? 84

What question launched the project? 84

What's the conflict? 85

What's the most important thing you learned? 86

What do you want readers to know when they finish the book, the essay, the story? 87

What would make a good title and subtitle? 88

Where do you find focus? 91

Finding focus in characters 91

Finding focus in images 94

Finding focus in language 95

Finding focus in time 96

When do you find focus? 98

Research reveals focus 98

Writing reveals focus 101

Is this the right focus? 102

Chapter 5 What's the Structure?

How do you find the structure? 107

Know thy notes and thoughts 107

What's the mystery? 108

What is the target medium? 112

What is the balance of scene vs. summary? 11

What are the key scenes and reflections? 120

What are some structure options? 123

Straight chronology 124

Flashback chronology 125

Reverse chronology 126

Framed structure 127

Circular structure 128

Braided structure 129

Parallel construction 130

Collage 131

The Quest 132

Structures inspired by topics and theme 132

Chapter 6 What Are the Components? 135

What's the opening? 136

Begin with a scene 138

Anecdotal starts 139

Descriptive leads 141

Background beginnings 143

Open with commentary 144

What point of view will guide the story? 146

Omniscient point of view 147

Third person point of view 149

First person point of view 151

Second person point of view 153

Who are the characters? 155

Description 156

Anecdotes 158

Speech 159

Possessions 160

What is the setting? 163

Dialogue or direct quotes? 166

What is the ending? 168

End by telling 169

End by showing 171

End with a quote 172

End with ambiguity 174

End with surprise 175

Chapter 7 Pulling It All Together 177

What we talk about when we talk about a first draft 179

To outline or not to outline? 179

Hurdling the terror of the blank page 181

Draft for meaning 182

Draft for story flow 184

Draft for voice 186

Draft for tense 189

What we talk about when we talk about revising 191

Is the meaning clear? 192

Is the structure solid? 193

What to expand and what to compress? 197

What screams for more? 197

What to condense? 198

Too much explanation? 198

What material might work in a sidebar? 202

What words should go? 203

What needs polishing? 205

Enhancing description 205

The power of metaphor 206

Sentence length 206

References 209

Index 221

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