You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction--from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between

You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction--from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between

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by Lee Gutkind
     
 

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From rags-to-riches-to-rags tell-alls to personal health sagas to literary journalism everyone seems to want to try their hand at creative nonfiction. Now, Lee Gutkind, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, taps into one of the fastest-growing genres with this new writing guide. Frank and to-the-point, with depth and clarity, Gutkind describes and

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Overview

From rags-to-riches-to-rags tell-alls to personal health sagas to literary journalism everyone seems to want to try their hand at creative nonfiction. Now, Lee Gutkind, the go-to expert for all things creative nonfiction, taps into one of the fastest-growing genres with this new writing guide. Frank and to-the-point, with depth and clarity, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre, from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. Offering new ways of understanding genre and invaluable tools for writers to learn and experiment with, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up allows writers of all skill levels to thoroughly expand and stylize their work.
 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Kirkus Reviews, 7/15/12
“Reminiscent of Stephen King’s fiction handbook On Writing, the book will be useful to both new writers and seasoned chroniclers seeking a professional refresher course on the basics of content and continuity and on how to expand audience attention for typically esoteric material…An accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.”

Booklist, August 2012“Gutkind, at once methodical and anecdotal in his instruction, offers clear and practical guidance on artistic concerns and matters technical, ethical, legal, and moral.…With expertise equaled by enthusiasm, the founder and editor of the magazine Creative Nonfiction advocates for the genre in which writers ‘can be poetic and journalistic simultaneously.’ An enlightening call for the highest of literary standards."

New York Journal of Books, 8/14/12
“You will be inspired and encouraged to write your way toward the inherent power of your story—becoming a better writer in the process.”

The Writer
, October 2012
“Anyone seeking to write creative nonfiction will benefit from Gutkind’s clear and instructive voice…The many examples of great creative nonfiction he offers (and carefully analyzes in order to explain their magic) are alone worth the price of the book.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 9/30/12
“Mr. Gutkind’s latest work…is the kind of book about mastering the writing life we’ve come to expect from him: brash, clearly written, opinion-heavy, personal anecdote-driven, and chock full of practical exercises.”

Bookviews blog, October 2012

“This is a grand tour of creative nonfiction, providing challenging writing exercises, analytical reflections on the techniques the best writers use, tips and getting published, and much more. I have been a nonfiction writer my whole life and I can confirm this book will turn you into one as well.”

Infodad.com, 10/4/12
“A useful workbook for a specific writing niche, and people wanting to break into the field—especially those parts involving Gutkind himself or influenced by him—would do well to go through the exercises and recommendations in some detail.”

Library Journal, October 2012
“Most writers interested in the [creative nonfiction] genre will want this on their shelves.”
 
Internet Review of Books, 10/3/12“This book belongs in a writer’s library.”

Midwest Book Review, October 2012“From ethical questions on turning nonfiction into creative writing to handling the fine line between fact and fiction, this covers common pitfalls and provides concrete approaches to success.”

Milwaukee Shepherd Express, 11/1912
“Students and teachers of writing will find You Can’t Make This Stuff Up instructive and inspiring…Those leery of yet another writer’s manual will likely find they enjoy reading this engaging book for the way the author weaves together true stories well told.”

Curled Up with a Good Book, 11/16/12
“Memoirists and journalists looking for a fresh approach or a change of pace would do well with You Can't Make This Stuff Up. Everyone else can enjoy a quick and enjoyable trot through an often maligned but compelling and growing literary genre.”

The Worlds of R.A. Hortz, 12/10/12
“An informative book that should be on the bookshelf of every writer.”

East Central Illinois News-Gazette, 4/7/13
“Invaluable as a learning tool…An excellent choice.”

Library Journal
Gutkind (founder & editor, Creative Nonfiction magazine; Keep It Real: Everything You Need To Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction) strays little from the theme of his writing life. He pens here another creative nonfiction how-to, this time with emphasis on truth telling. He presents general guidelines for weaving fiction techniques into factual writing along with advice on maintaining the writer's integrity and respecting narrative truth. Gutkind demonstrates how immersion, compression, and other methods can be employed without improperly fudging—or outright faking—reality. His message, that the creative nonfiction writer is responsible for using literary techniques responsibly and ethically to present factual information, is more definitive than in his past works. The second half of his book also contains craft instruction and several long excerpts for learning from prominent creative nonfiction writers such as Rebecca Skloot and Gay Talese. VERDICT Most writers interested in the genre will want this title on their shelves, though those who own Gutkind's somewhat dated but more thorough Creative Nonfiction: How To Live It and Write It or his more recent essay collection, above, may pass on this owing to subject overlap.—Stacey Rae Brownlie, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA
Kirkus Reviews
A practical primer on writing "true stories, well told." Prolific writer, magazine editor and academic Gutkind (Almost Human: Making Robots Think, 2007, etc.) examines a fast-moving literary genre that promotes credible nonfiction material that's both edifying and entertaining. The first section of his two-part writing guide defines and then describes the conception of authoring creative nonfiction. The second section serves as a motivational guide for writers. Much inspiration can be found in Gutkind's authoritative, slickly written amalgam combining the "basic, anchoring elements" of nonfiction with industry wisdom on fact-checking and boundaries and a short history on authors who questionably padded their subject matter. The author highlights "immersion" research (experiencing subject matter personally) and the importance of rewriting, structure and focus, and he includes valuable writing (and reading) exercises that deconstruct the finer details of the process. Gutkind's generous use of apposite excerpts from such authors as Rebecca Skloot and Lauren Slate further engages readers, encouraging them to practice and apply his writing techniques. Reminiscent of Stephen King's fiction handbook On Writing, the book will be useful to both new writers and seasoned chroniclers seeking a professional refresher course on the basics of content and continuity and on how to expand audience attention for typically esoteric material. Gutkind also provides a helpful appendix called, "Then and Now: Great (and Not So Great) Moments in Creative Nonfiction, 1993-2010," which includes such significant events as the creation of Oprah's Book Club and the James Frey scandal. An accessible, indispensable nonfiction guidebook from an authority who knows his subject from cover to cover.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780738215549
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
08/14/2012
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
344,612
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Lee Gutkind is the award-winning author of ten books, editor of ten anthologies, and founder of the first MFA creative nonfiction program at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently a writer in residence at Arizona State University.
 

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You Can't Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction--from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago