Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling

Books

Sue Hertz

  • Citations
  • Add to My List
  • Text Size

  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Copyright

    Preface

    Ever since the term creative nonfiction was coined in the early 1990s, nonfiction storytelling has enjoyed unprecedented attention and innovation. Open any magazine, literary journal, or online publication and you will find a rich array of compelling tales of fact that employ literary techniques. Personal essays, memoir, travelogue, opinion, and journalistic explorations of timely and timeless events line the table of contents. Just look at a recent New Yorker: Readers choose between memoir (writers remember their times with J.D. Salinger), personal essay (John McPhee ponders the death of his father while fishing for pickerel), opinion (Hendrik Hertzberg reacts to a presidential speech), and narrative journalism (Jon Lee Anderson chronicles one Haitian woman’s effort to save her community). Log on to your computer or iPad, and not only must you choose among the panoply of text stories, but also related videos, audio slideshows, and interactive graphics. Narratives of fact have never been so varied.

    Given the seemingly infinite variety of ways to tell true stories, emerging writers feel often overwhelmed. They find themselves so tangled in labels and forms — Is the piece a profile or character essay? Is a first person tale rich in research considered memoir or literary journalism? Is a newspaper feature narrative? Is a radio essay? — that they lose sight of what is really important: telling a good story, taking a reader on a journey that educates as well as entertains, that strikes viscerally as well as intellectually.

    “Write Choices” blasts through these boundaries, exploring the decisions all writers confront when crafting any kind of factual narrative — from a reflective essay to a Rolling Stone profile to an 80,000-word memoir to a video script. Rather than isolating each of these forms, “Write Choices” celebrates the decisions faced by all nonfiction storytellers. The book takes emerging writers step by step from idea to revision, analyzing the questions they will face along the way. What makes a compelling idea? What do you want to learn? What will your reader learn? What is the central mystery? What information do you need? What sources must you seek? Who are your main characters? What is the structure? What is the narrative arc? Who is the narrator? What scenes best illustrate the message? Is dialogue appropriate? Which details are significant? Which are superfluous?

    “Write Choices” asks emerging writers to ignore the labels and instead focus on telling the best story possible, to find the form that fits the content. In short, “Write Choices” serves as a commonsense approach by celebrating the universal elements shared by all true stories told with a narrative arc. The mission for us all, from the memoirist to the magazine writer, is to weave accurate and creative narratives, with a journalist’s drive for content, a poet’s eye for imagery, and a fiction writer’s sense of drama. And in this digital age, to recognize the ways technology can enhance — not replace — our words. Because as New Yorker editor David Remnick said at a forum called “Long Form Storytelling in a Short Attention Span World,” language remains our greatest invention.

    Who is this book for?

    “Write Choices” targets writers of all levels, from undergraduates testing the narrative nonfiction waters to graduate students stretching their writing muscles to seasoned practitioners seeking inspiration from the masters. Based on interviews with over 60 print and digital storytellers as well as my own decades of teaching and publishing factual narratives, “Write Choices” provides insights from a wide variety of voices. Emerging writers will learn how these veterans determine critical issues, such as how Ryan Van Meter identifies a memoir’s focus or how Cynthia Gorney selects the narrator’s point of view for a story about child brides or the moments Phillip Toledano seeks to illustrate in his photo essays. By following the pros on their literary quests, the book’s readers will acquire tools necessary to help them choose the best path for their own narratives, whether they chase a Montaigne-like idea (Is lying less sociable than silence?), an image (What did the glass castle her father talked of building symbolize about Jeannette Walls’ chaotic childhood?), or an external conflict (Why would a high school sophomore stab his classmates?).

    “Write Choices” will assist students in any course — be it labeled journalism or creative nonfiction — that celebrates factual tales employing narrative techniques. Or to borrow a phrase from Creative Nonfiction magazine: “True stories, well told.”

    It will also assist them to think digitally. While most writers may not prove as adept with a camera as they are with a pen, recognizing how sound and images can enrich the reading experience is vital in this digital age. Online publications such as Atavist may employ a team of tech stars to integrate timelines and interactive maps and videos with text, but the writer, the story’s engine, can best dictate what will enhance and not detract. Besides, as online journals and e-books expand our opportunities to publish, new and seasoned writers alike will benefit from learning how multimedia artists approach their storytelling. And perhaps how they, the steadfast writers, might too employ their computer and smart phones as creative tools.

    How to use the book

    “Write Choices” follows chronologically the choices writers make as they craft their narratives. Each chapter is devoted to a major decision. Chapter One explores what makes a worthy subject. Chapter Two asks what form is best for the subject. Succeeding chapters cover selecting content, focus, structure, and components. The journey ends at drafting and revision. Along the way readers will encounter how multimedia artists confront the same challenges, a reminder that regardless of medium, regardless of form, we all worry about organization, tension, and rich characters.

    Each chapter breaks down the choice into digestible pieces, embellished with the insights and experiences of the veteran writers as well as excerpts from their work. Scattered throughout each chapter are writing exercises based on a particular challenge. For example, following a discussion of point of view, writers are offered prompts that test their skills at telling a story through multiple narrators. By asking student writers to act on what they have just learned rather than wait until the chapter’s end will, hopefully, keep them engaged and bolster their confidence. As they try and wobble, then try again and succeed, they collect the skills necessary to launch them into the next round of choices. Writers learn by writing.

    Each chapter also includes two features. The first, “Challenging Choices,” highlights one particular writer’s experience wrestling with that chapter’s central choice. Speaking in his or her own voice (Studs Terkel oral history style), the writer will tell how he or she navigated through the challenges of choosing a focus, or structuring a narrative, or revising a mishmash of a rough draft. This feature allows the reader to hear the writers walk through a dilemma in their own words rather than through the narrator’s filter. By the end of the book, the emerging writer will have a working knowledge of choices made by a wide range of narrative artists.

    The second feature, “Web Choices,” details the decisions involved in creating a digital story or essay or a multimedia complement to a prose narrative. As with “Challenging Choices,” a craftsman — which in this case could be a videographer, or a photographer, or a scriptwriter — explains how he or she tackled that chapter’s choice while creating a multimedia project. How do you build character in a video? How do you narrow the focus of an audio slideshow? While “Write Choices” is aimed at an audience who loves words, and telling stories with words, it also hopes to expand the writer’s understanding of narrative nonfiction in the digital age. Through “Web Choices,” the text’s readers will gain insights into the similarities — and yes, differences — encountered while building a narrative based on images or sound, or both.

    A few words on terminology and sources

    While different scholars have different definitions of what constitutes an essay or a story, “Write Choices” emphasizes that the lines have blurred. Certain writings are clearly essays — the narrator explores an idea, untangles an intellectual puzzle — and others stories that lead the reader scene by scene to an epiphany. Yet many true tales could fall into both camps. Consequently, often in “Write Choices,” the two terms are used interchangeably. More often, the more-inclusive term narrative is used. Narrative, after all, covers stories told with a beginning, middle, and end, stories that employ literary techniques such as scene and dialogue. A nonfiction narrative is not a litany of facts or a news report but a carefully carved tale that takes the reader on an intellectual and emotional journey through its inventive style and colorful content.

    To avoid gender favoritism, hypothetical writers mentioned throughout the book alternate between male and female. Sometimes the writer is a he and sometimes a she.

    Internal refers to narratives or parts of narratives based on the writer’s own experience and reflections. External means content gleaned from other people’s experiences and reflections and sources such as books, media, databases, and court records.

    Most of the direct quotes included in “Write Choices” were acquired during my conversations with the storytellers. These interviews were conducted by phone, e-mail, and in person. The sources of all other quotes are stated directly in the text. A list of chapter-by-chapter references can be found in this book’s final pages.

    Final thoughts

    As in many narratives, the message of this book is best expressed in a scene:

    The season was late winter, the setting my office. The graduate student across from me scrunched up her face in concentration, her fingers pressing against her temples. We sat knee to knee in my office, the afternoon sun illuminating her like a spotlight. Yet neither the sun’s warmth nor anything I said soothed her anxiety. “Where,” she said, pausing between each word, “am ... I ... in ... this ... story?”

    A writer with a distinctive narrative voice, an ear for dialogue, and a passion for the personal essay, this student was most comfortable writing about her own experiences. Yet the project we discussed, the project causing her so much agita, had nothing to do with her past adventures. Rather, the idea she pursued — why baseball doesn’t attract African-American players — was about other people, a whole slew of other people. The goal of our conference was to whittle down this huge topic into something manageable. Yet she was paralyzed. If she was not front and center in the story, she couldn’t envision how the narrative would unfold, let alone grasp how to begin.

    What we worked on that afternoon was what “Write Choices” is all about — recognizing that crafting the project she proposed, one based on research, employed the same tactics she used to pen the kind of essays she had always written. The content may be different but the process was identical. Whether she was exploring baseball diversity or her memories of summer school, she faced the same choices from beginning to end.

    At the end of our conference she looked a little less strained, relieved, it seemed, to have vented. More important, she had a plan. And that plan looked surprisingly familiar. “I can do this,” she said.

    And she did.

    Acknowledgments

    First and foremost, I am indebted to Jane Harrigan, who encouraged me to write this book and helped build its foundation. With her trademark good cheer and blue edits, she guided this project from a possibility into a reality. Thanks, too, to Charisse Kiino of CQ Press, for her enthusiasm and confidence, and to Matt Byrnie of SAGE Publications for stepping in and shepherding “Write Choices” through to completion. He is an editor of great common sense, patience, and, most important, humor.

    A round of applause, too, for the friends and students who read pieces of this manuscript, including Evelyn Iritani and Lisa Meerts-Brandsma, and two rounds for Janet Schofield, who read the whole blasted thing. Janet’s sharp eye for detail and deep understanding of both fiction and nonfiction narratives provided the questions and insights needed to frame the revision. No amount of scarves or sushi lunches could properly thank her.

    Last of all, my deepest gratitude to all the nonfiction storytellers I interrupted from their storytelling to talk to me about their craft. Many, many thanks to Cynthia Gorney, the three Kates (Kate Bolick, Katie Campbell, Katy Butler), Rolf Potts, Todd Balf, John Sutter, Amy Ellis Nutt, Chris Jones, Sarah Schweitzer, Tom French, Phillip Toledano, Ann Silvio, Neil Swidey, Dinty W. Moore, Chelsea Conaboy, Joe Mackall, Jacqueline Salmon, Jennie Latson, Galen Clarke, Bonnie Rough, Ryan Van Meter, Faith Adiele, Joan Wickersham, Bruce Ballenger, John Bresland, Stephen Maing, Andrew DeVigal, Eric LeMay, Amy O’Leary, Sheila Anne Feeney, Thomas Larson, Joshuah Bearman, Ben Montgomery, and all the others who were so very generous with their time and thoughts about how they spin facts into art.

    About the Author

    Sue Hertz is an associate professor of English and nonfiction writing at the University of New Hampshire where she teaches in both its graduate and undergraduate writing programs. Author of “Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion’s Front Line,” she has published essays and stories in numerous national and regional publications, including Redbook, House Beautiful, Walking, New England Monthly Magazine, Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Parenting. Before she began the double life of teacher-writer, she was a feature writer for the Hartford Courant, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Herald in Everett, WA.

    Acknowledgements

    For Bill, Luke, and Jordy Steelman

  • References

    Chapter 1: What’s the Big Idea?
    Abel, Isaac. “A Frat Boy’s “‘Gay Experience.’” Saloncom RSS. 20 Apr. 2014. Web.
    Baker, Will. “My Children Explain the Big Issues.” In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. 13335. Print.
    Balf, Todd. The Last River: The Tragic Race for Shangi-la. New York: Crown, 2000. Print.
    Biss, Eula. Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays. Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf, 2009. Print.
    Bookman, Marc. “This Man Is about to Die Because an Alcoholic Lawyer Botched His Case.” Mother Jones. 22 Apr. 2014. Web.
    Boynton, Robert S. The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. New York: Vintage, 2005. 3668, 15960. Print.
    Branch, John. “Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” The New York Times. The New York Times 20 Dec. 2012. Web.
    Campbell, Joseph. “Joseph Campbell Foundation.” Joseph Campbell Foundation. Joseph Campbell Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 Oct. 2014. http://www.jcf.org/new/index.php?categoryid=31
    Didion, Joan. “Why I Write.” The Writer on Her Work. New York: Norton, 1981. 1726. Print.
    French, Thomas. Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives. New York: Hyperion, 2010. Print.
    French, Tom. “Angels and Demons.” St. Petersburg Times. Web. Oct. 1997.
    Hertz, Sue. “Do, Re, and Me.” Boston Globe Magazine. N.p. 22 June 1986. Print.
    Hertz, Sue. “Who Cares for the Child?” Boston Magazine, March 1989. Print.
    Hertz, Sue. Caught in the Crossfire: A Year on Abortion’s Front Line. New York: Prentice Hall, 1991. Print.
    Jones, Chris. “The Things That Carried Him.” Esquire. 30 Aug. 2010. Web.
    Kidder, Tracy. Among Schoolchildren. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. The Soul of a New Machine. Boston: Little, Brown, 1981. Print.
    Mairs, Nancy. “Sex and the Gimpy Girl.” The River Teeth Reader. 10. 12, Fall 2009/Spring 2009. University of Nebraska Press, 2009. 310. Print.
    Montaigne, Michel De, and William Carew Hazlitt. Michel De Montaigne: Selected Essays. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.
    O’Connor, Flannery. “Mystery and Manners Quotes.” By Flannery O’Connor. Goodreads, n.d. Web. 03 Oct. 2014. http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/3267475-mystery-and-manners-occasional-prose
    Rough, Bonnie J. “His Genes Hold Gifts. Mine Carry Risk.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Jan. 2005. Web.
    Salmon, Jacqueline L. “Holiday Rush a Tradition Some Can’t Do Without.” The Washington Post, 22 Dec. 1997. Web.
    Sampsell, Kevin. “I’m Jumping off the Bridge.”Salon.com. 3 Aug. 2012. Web.
    Silvio, Ann. “NBA Woos a World Audience.” NBA Woos a World Audience. Boston.com, 10 June 2010. Web.
    Waldron, Jan L. Giving Away Simone: A Memoir. New York: Times, 1995. Print.
    Wickersham, Joan. The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order. Orlando: Harcourt, 2008. Print.
    Williams, Terry Tempest. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. New York: Vintage, 1992. Print.

    Chapter 2: What is the Form?

    Baker, Will. In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction. By Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier. Jones. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. N. pag. Print.
    Balf, Todd. “Daddy Knows Least.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 Sept. 2008. 27 May 2014. Web.
    Bearman, Joshuah. “Baghdad Country Club.” Atavist. No. 10. December 2011. Web.
    Bearman, Joshuah. “Duty Calls.” This American Life. NPR, 1 June 2007. Web.
    Bissinger, Buzz. “After Friday Night Lights.” Byliner. Byliner, n.d. Web.
    Bolick, Kate. “All the Single Ladies.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 30 Sept. 2011. Web.
    Boynton, Robert S. “Ted Conover.” The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. New York: Vintage, 2005. 330. Print.
    Campbell, Katie. “The Egg and I.” The Best Creative Nonfiction. By Lee Gutkind. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. 13145. Print.
    Caramanica, Jon. “Pitched to Perfection: Pop Star’s Silent Partner.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 June 2012. Web. http://nyti.ms/RllfMt
    Corrigan, Kelly. The Middle Place. New York: Voice/Hyperion, 2008. Print.
    Didion, Joan. “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” Slouching towards Bethlehem. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968. 84+. Print.
    Dubus, Andre. “Writing & Publishing a Memoir: What in the Hell Have I Done?” River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative 14.1 (2012): 4161. Print.
    Gannaway, Preston, and Chelsea Conaboy. “Remember Me: A Multimedia Documentary about One Family’s Struggle to Deal with the Loss of a Parent.” Concord Monitor. Dec. 2007. Web.
    Gutkind, Lee. “Difficult Decisions.” The Truth of the Matter: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. By Dinty W. Moore. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2007. 16773. Print.
    http://azstarnet.com/app/images/flash/garbage/ Arizona Daily Star, 2009. Web.
    Karr, Mary. The Liars’ Club: A Memoir. New York: Viking, 1995. 7. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. Among Schoolchildren. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. Print.
    LeBlanc, Adrian Nicole. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx. New York: Scribner, 2003. 3435. Print.
    Lobsinger, Megan. “The Art of Being Concise: A Conversation with Brevity’s Dinty Moore.” The Blog: Issues on Publishing Innovations, Issues, and the Writing Life. Pubmission.com, 29 Sept. 2011. Web.
    Lopate, Phillip. “Against Joie De Vivre.” Against Joie De Vivre: Personal Essays. New York: Poseidon, 1989. 4263. Print.
    Lopate, Phillip. “The State of Nonfiction Today.” Introduction. To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. New York: Free, 2013. 316. Print.
    McClanahan, Rebecca. “Book Marks.” The Best American Essays 2001. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2001. 165180. Print.
    McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 1996. Print.
    McDougall, Christopher. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2009. Print.
    McGuigan, Brian. “I Wasn’t the White Boy Everyone Thought I Was.” The Rumpusnet. The Rumpus, 3 May 2014. Web.
    McPhee, John. “Encounters with the Archdruid.” The John McPhee Reader. By William L. Howarth. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976. 189231. Print.
    Miller, Brenda. “The Date.” Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present. By Lex Williford and Michael Martone. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. 38188. Print.
    Moore, Dinty W. “History.” TriQuarterly. 16 Jan. 2012. Web.
    Nutt, Amy Ellis. “The Wreck of the Lady Mary.” The Star–Ledger. 21 Nov. 2010. Web.
    Nutt, Amy Ellis. Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man’s Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph. New York: Free, 2011. Print.
    Remnick, David. “Long–Form Storytelling in a Short–Attention Span World.” ProPublica.org. ProPublica and the New School, 17 Mar. 2011. Web.
    Rumore, Kori. “Welcome to StarNet.”
    Sheff, David. Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print.
    Smith, Gary. “Shadows of a Nation.” “The Man Who Couldn’t Read.” Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life. Ed. Walt Harrington. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1997. 317. 1942. Print.
    Solnit, Rebecca. “The Archipelago of Arrogance.” TomDispatch.com. TomDispatch, 13 Apr. 2008. Web.
    Steinberg, Michael. “Michael Steinberg Has a Blog.” BREVITYs Nonfiction Blog. Brevity, 30 Apr. 2012. Web.
    Strauss, Darin. Half a Life. San Francisco, CA: McSweeney’s, 2010. Print.
    Sullivan, Andrew. “Why I Blog.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 01 Nov. 2008. Web.
    Sullivan, John Jeremiah. “The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 12 Apr. 2014. Web.
    Sullivan, John Jeremiah. “Upon This Rock.” Pulphead. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 341. Print.
    Swidey, Neil. Trapped Under the Sea: One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster 10 Miles into the Darkness. Crown Group (NY), 2014. Print.
    Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.
    Wolfe, Tom. “Appendix.” The New Journalism. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. 3752. Print.
    Woolf, Virginia. “The Death of the Moth.” The Lost Origins of the Essay. By John D’Agata. Minneapolis, MN: Graywolf, 2009. 44749. Print.

    Chapter 3: What is the Content?

    Balf, Todd. “The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 08 Mar. 2014. Web.
    Bearak, Barry. “Caballo Blanco’s Last Run: The Micah True Story.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 May 2012. Web.
    Bissell, Tom. “War Wounds.” Harper’s Magazine, December 2004. Web.
    Bissell, Tom. The Father of All Things: A Marine, His Son, and the Legacy of Vietnam. New York: Pantheon, 2007. Print.
    Blair, Elizabeth. “The Strange Story Of The Man Behind ‘Strange Fruit’”NPR. NPR, 5 Sept. 2012. 07 May 2014. Web.
    Bolick, Kate. “All the Single Ladies.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 30 Sept. 2011. Web.
    Boo, Katherine. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Q&A with Katherine. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Q&A with Katherine. Behindthebeautifulforevers.com. Web.
    Butler, Katy. “What Broke My Father’s Heart.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 June 2010. Web.
    Eggers, Dave. Zeitoun. San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2009. Print.
    French, Tom. “Your World Is Your Story.” Poynter. Poynter, 2 Mar. 2011. Web.
    Gorney, Cynthia. “Too Young to Wed: The Secret World of Child Brides.” National Geographic. National Geographic, June 2011. Web.
    Gross, Terry. “Bill O’Reilly.” NPR. NPR, 8 Oct. 2003. Web.
    Hertz, Sue. “Dominick Dunne: Success and Tragedy Rework Him.” Hartford Courant, 21 Oct. 1984. Print.
    Hertz, Sue. “Lessons From Loss.” Lessons From Loss. UNH Magazine, Fall 2009. Web.
    Hertz, Sue. “The Mission.” Boston Magazine (Dec., 1988): 75+. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. Mountains beyond Mountains. New York: Random House, 2003. Print.
    Lopate, Phillip. “Research and Personal Writing.” Creative Nonfiction 43. 6566. Fall/Winter 2011. Print.
    Rough, Bonnie J. Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2010. 23. Print.
    Sanders, Eli. “The Bravest Woman in Seattle by Eli Sanders.” Seattle Features. The Stranger, 15 July 2011. Web.
    Schwartz, Mimi. “Michael Steinberg.” Blog. Michael Steinberg, 23 July 2012. Web.
    Shapira, Ian. “A Facebook Story: A Mother’s Joy and a Family’s Sorrow.” Washington Post. 9 Dec. 2010. Web.
    Skloot, Rebecca. “The Truth about Cops and Dogs.” The Best of Creative Nonfiction. By Lee Gutkind. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. 88101. Print.
    Steinberg, Michael. Still Pitching: A Memoir. East Lansing: Michigan State UP, 2003. Print.
    Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. Print.
    Sullivan, John J. “A Prison, a Paradise.” NYTimes.com. The New York Times, 23 Sept. 2012. Web.
    Wallace, Mike, and Gary Paul. Gates. Between You and Me: A Memoir. New York: Hyperion, 2005. 25960. Print.
    Zamora, Amanda. “Free the Files.” Top Stories RSS. ProPublica, 12 Dec. 2012. Web.

    Chapter 4: What’s the Focus?

    Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers. New York: Random House, 2012. 223. Print.
    Brennan, Emily. “Reporting Poverty.” Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics. Guernica, 4 Sept. 2012. Web.
    Campbell, Katie, and Ashley Ahearn. “How We Got Into Such A Mess With Stormwater · EarthFix · KCTS 9.” How We Got Into Such A Mess With Stormwater · EarthFix · KCTS 9. KCTS, Oct. 2012. Web.
    Campbell, Katie, and Michael Werner. “Undamming the Elwha.” Home. Earthfix KCTS 9. KCTS, Apr. 2012. Web.
    Campbell, Katie. “The Egg and I.” The Best Creative Nonfiction. By Lee Gutkind. New York: W. W. Norton, 2008. 13145. Print.
    Cramer, Richard Ben. What It Takes: The Way to the White House. New York: Random House, 1992. Print.
    Didion, Joan. “Some Dreamers of the Golden Dream.” Slouching towards Bethlehem. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968. 328. Print.
    Faludi, Susan. “Where Did Randy Go Wrong?” Mother Jones 14.9 (1989): 2232. Web.
    Gornick, Vivian. “Chapter One.” The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001. 1214. Print.
    Heath, Chris. “18 Tigers, 17 Lions, 8 Bears, 3 Cougars, 2 Wolves, 1 Baboon, 1 Macaque, and 1 Man Dead in Ohio.” Terry Thompson and the Zanesville Ohio Zoo Massacre. GQ.com, Mar. 2012. Web.
    Hemley, Robin. “Chapter One: Immersion Memoir.” A Field Guide for Immersion Writing: Memoir, Journalism, and Travel. Athens: U of Georgia, 2012. 1617. Print.
    Jones, Chris. “Animals.” Print. Esquire.com, Mar. 2012. Web.
    Lowery, Wesley. “The Race Is On: Republican Gabriel Gomez Hopes Frequent Road Races Help Him Top Ed Markey in Senate Campaign.” BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe, 18 June 2013. Web.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “First.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 710. Print.
    Montaigne, Michel De, and William Carew Hazlitt. Michel De Montaigne: Selected Essays. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2012. Print.
    Pitzer, Andrea. “Mark Bowden on Discovering Narrative and the Value of Beginner’s Mind: “Only If You Are Truly Ignorant Can You Ask the Truly Ignorant Question.” Nieman Storyboard A Project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. Nieman Storyboard, 30 July 2010. Web.
    Pitzer, Andrea. “Tom French on Zoo Stories, Narrative Nonfiction and the Pleasures of Playing Anthropologist.” Nieman Storyboard A Project of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard Tom French on Zoo Stories Narrative Nonfiction and the Pleasures of Playing Anthropologist Comments. 10 Sept. 2010. Web.
    Potts, Rolf, and Justin Glow. “Videos.” No Baggage Challenge. Rolf Potts, 2010. Web.
    Potts, Rolf. “My Beirut Hostage Crisis.” Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer: With Special Commentary Track. Palo Alto, CA: Travelers’ Tales, 2008. 251255. Print.
    Pritchard, Melissa. “A Soldier’s Story – US Women Soldiers in Afghanistan.” Oprah.com. O. The Oprah Magazine, May 2010. Web.
    Talbot, Jill. “Brevity Craft Essays 38.” Brevity Craft Essays 38. Brevitymag.com, Winter 2012. Web.
    Taylor, Evan. “Isabel Wilkerson Lecture Illuminates Writing Process.” The Pioneer News. Whitman College, 4 Oct. 2012. Web.
    Walls, Jeannette. The Glass Castle: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 2005. Print.

    Chapter 5: What’s the structure?

    Altmann, Jennifer G. “McPhee Reveals How the Pieces Go Together – 4/30/2007 – PWB – Princeton.” Princeton University. Princeton Weekly Bulletin, 30 Apr. 2007. Web.
    Bearak, Barry. “Caballo Blanco’s Last Run: The Micah True Story.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 20 May 2012. Web.
    Biss, Eula. “The Pain Scale.” Notes from No Man’s Land: American Essays. Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf, 2009. 14570. Print.
    Bolick, Kate. “All the Single Ladies.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 30 Sept. 2011. Web.
    Boo, Katherine. “The Marriage Cure.” The Marriage Cure | NewAmerica.org. The New Yorker, 18 Aug. 2003. Web.
    Boswell, Robert. “How I Met My Wife.” Tin House. Summer Reading 56, 2013. Web.
    Boynton, Robert S. “Ted Conover.” The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. New York: Vintage, 2005. 330. Print.
    Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences. New York: Random House, 1966. 1324. Print.
    Church, Steven. “Speaking of Ears and Savagery.” Creative Nonfiction. Summer 45, 2012. Web.
    Ehrenfreund, Max. “Edward Snowden, NSA Leaker, Could Remain in Russia Indefinitely.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 24 July 2013. Web.
    Faludi, Susan. “Where Did Randy Go Wrong?” Mother Jones 14.9 (1989): 2232. Web.
    Hart, Jack. Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2011. Print.
    Hertz, Sue. “The Lure of Tuckerman!” The Lure of Tuckerman! UNH Magazine, Winter 2006. Web.
    Hertzel, Laurie. “Setting the Scene.” Above the Fold: A Newsletter on Writing and Editing. 18. Jan/Feb 2006. Web.
    Hollandsworth, Skip. “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob.” Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly, Nov. 2005. Web.
    Jones, Chris. “Roger Ebert: The Essential Man.” Esquirecom Article. Esquire, 16 Feb. 2010. Web.
    Jones, Chris. “The Things That Carried Him.” Esquire. 30 Aug. 2010. Web.
    Karr, Mary. The Liars’ Club: A Memoir. New York: Viking, 1995. 7. Print.
    Kerrane, Kevin, and Ben Yagoda. The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism. New York, NY: Scribner, 1997. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. Among Schoolchildren. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. Old Friends. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. Print.
    Kingsolver, Barbara. “Infernal Paradise.” High Tide in Tucson: Essays from Now or Never. New York: HarperCollins, 1995. 194206. Print.
    Knight, Lania. “An Interview With Creative Nonfiction Writer Phillip Lopate.” Poets & Writers. Www.pw.org, 16 May 2008. Web.
    Krakauer, Jon. Into the Wild. New York: Anchor, 1997. Print.
    Lopate, Phillip. “Against Joie De Vivre.” The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. New York: Anchor, 1994. 71631. Print.
    Lopate, Phillip. “The State of Nonfiction Today.” To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. New York: Free Press, 2013. 316. Print.
    Mackall, Joe. Plain Secrets: An Outsider among the Amish. Boston: Beacon, 2007. 48. Print.
    McCourt, Frank. Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir. New York: Scribner, 1996. Print.
    McPhee, John, and William L. Howarth. The John McPhee Reader. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976. Print.
    McPhee, John. “Encounters with the Archdruid.” The John McPhee Reader. Ed. William L. Howarth. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976. 189231. Print.
    McPhee, John. “Structure: Beyond the Picnic Table.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 14 Jan. 2013. Web.
    McPhee, John. “Travels in Georgia.” The John McPhee Reader. Ed. William L. Howarth. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976. 268308. Print.
    McPhee, John. Silk Parachute. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010. Print.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “First.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 710. Print.
    Moehringer, J.R. “Resurrecting The Champ.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 04 May 1997. Web.
    Morales, Angela. “The Girls in My Town.” The Best American Essays 2013. Ed. Cheryl Strayed and Robert Atwan. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013. 17187. Print.
    “The 9/11 Encyclopedia.” New York Magazine. New York Magazine, 27 Aug. 2011. Web.
    Reitman, Janet. “Jahar’s World.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone, 17 July 2013. Web.
    Shanahan, Mark. “Anthony’s Pier 4, Vestige of City’s Old Waterfront, to Close in August – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe, n.d. Web. 06 July 2013. Web.
    Shields, David. “36 Tattoos.” New York News and Events. Village Voice, 15 Oct. 2002. Web.
    Skloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown, 2010. Print.
    Smith, Zadie. “Joy.” New York Review of Books. New York Review of Books, 10 Jan. 2013. Web.
    Strayed, Cheryl. “The Love of My Life.” Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present. By Lex Williford and Michael Martone. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. 50013. Print.
    Toledano, Phillip. “A Shadow Remains.” MediaStorm. 12 June 2012. Web.
    Toledano, Phillip. “Days with My Father.” Phillip Toledano – Days with My Father. www.dayswithmyfather.com, 2010. Web.

    Chapter 6: What Are the Components?

    Beard, Jo Ann. “Personal History: THE FOURTH STATE OF MATTER.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 24 June 1996. Web.
    Beattie, Ann. “My Life With Boxes.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2013. Web.
    Bernstein, Lenny. “Children Survive Oklahoma Tornado in Elementary School Bathroom.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post N.p., 22 May 2013. Web.
    Bissell, Tom. “War Wounds.” Byliner. Harper’s, Dec. 2004. Web.
    Boo, Katherine. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Q&A with Katherine.”Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Q&A with Katherine. Behindthebeautifulforevers.com, Web.
    Boo, Katherine. Behind the Beautiful Forevers. New York: Random House, 2012. 223. Print.
    Colloff, Pamela. “Teenage Wasteland.” Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly, Jan. 1999. Web.
    Daugherty, Tracy. “Bakersfield.” River Teeth Reader. University of Nebraska Press, 2009. 1122. Print
    Elliott, Andrea. “Invisible Child.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 9 Dec, 2013. Web.
    Finkel, David. “The Meaning of Work.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2006. Web.
    Finkel, David. The Good Soldiers. New York: Sarah Crichton /Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009. 17. Print.
    Friedman, Steve. “Bret, Unbroken.” Runner’s World & Running Times. Runner’s World, 3 May 2013. Web. http://www.runnersworld.com/runners–stories/bret–dunlap–discovered–running–and–it–changed–his–life?page=single
    Haines, Tom. “Facing Famine.” Boston.com. The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2003. Web.
    Harr, Jonathan. A Civil Action. New York: Random House, 1995. 492. Print.
    Harvey, Steven. “The Art of Self.” Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, Spring 1.1. 1999. 14042. Print.
    Heath, Chris. “11 Moments with James Gandolfini.” GQ. GQ, Dec. 2004. Web.
    Hertz, Sue. “What’s a Joint Like You Doing in a Race Like This?” The Boston Globe Magazine. Boston Globe, 17 Apr. 1988. Web.
    Hollandsworth, Skip. “The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob.” Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly, Nov. 2005. Web.
    Johnson, Akilah. “One Teen’s Journey from the Margins to a College Scholarship – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe, 3 Feb. 2014. Web.
    Kidder, Tracy. Among Schoolchildren. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1989. 5. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. House. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985. Print.
    Kidder, Tracy. Mountains beyond Mountains. New York: Random House, 2003. Print.
    Levine, Mark. “Killing Libby.” Mensjournal.com. Men’s Journal, Aug. 2001. Web.
    Maing, Stephen. “Hers to Lose.” The New York Times. The New York Times. 26 Sept, 2013. Web. Video. http://www.nytimes.com/video/nyregion/100000002461740/hers–to–lose.html
    Mairs, Nancy. “Sex and the Gimpy Girl.” River Teeth Reader. University of Nebraska Press, 2009. 310. Print
    Markham, Lauren. “First the Fence, Then the System.” VQR Online. Virginia Quarterly Review, Summer 2013. Web.
    McPhee, John. The Pine Barrens. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968. Print.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “Cherry Bars.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 91108. Print.
    Montgomery, Ben. “For Their Own Good: A St. Petersburg Times Special Report on Child Abuse at the Florida School for Boys.” Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay Times, 17 Apr. 2009. Web.
    Orlean, Susan. “The American Man, Age Ten.” The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People. New York: Random House, 2001. 314. Print.
    Orlean, Susan. The Orchid Thief. New York: Random House, 1998. 34. Print.
    Patchett, Ann. “My Road to Hell Was Paved.” Outside Online. Outside, June 1998. Web.
    Patchett, Ann. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2004. Print.
    Rough, Bonnie J. “His Genes Hold Gifts. Mine Carry Risk.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 29 Jan. 2005. Web.
    Rough, Bonnie J. Carrier: Untangling the Danger in My DNA. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2010. Print.
    Russell, Karen. “The Blind Faith of the One–Eyed Matador.” GQ. GQ, Oct. 2012. Web.
    Sanders, Eli. “The Bravest Woman in Seattle.” Seattle Features. The Stranger, 15 July 2011. Web.
    Saslow, Eli. “After Newtown Shooting, Mourning Parents Enter into the Lonely Quiet.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2013. Web.
    Saunders, George. “Longform Reprints: The Incredible Buddha Boy by George Saunders.” Longform. GQ, June 2006. Web.
    Schweitzer, Sarah. “Together despite All, Glimpsing the Distant Finish.” BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe, 13 Oct. 2013. Web.
    Shapira, Ian. “A Facebook Story: A Mother’s Joy and a Family’s Sorrow.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post 9 Dec. 2010. Web.
    Sharlet, Jeff. “Quebrado.” Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country in between. New York: W.W. Norton, 2011. 8485. Print.
    Silberberg, Daniel Doen. “Blue Rain.” Gettysburg Review. Gettysburg Review, Winter 2011. Web.
    Smith, Gary. “A Boy And His Bot.” Sports Illustrated, 1 Aug. 2011. 23 Web. May 2014.
    Smith, Gary. “The Man Who Couldn’t Read.” Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life. Ed. Walt Harrington. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997. 317. Print.
    Smith, Gary. “Walking His Life Away.” SI.com – Magazine – Olympic Sports: Is Olympian Albert Heppner Walking His Life Away? – Tuesday April 19, 2005 5:54PM. Sports Illustrated, 26 July 2004. Web. http://www.si.com/vault/2004/07/26/377589/walking–his–life–away–for–race–walker–albert–heppner–making–the–2004–us–olympic–team–was–all–important––perhaps–in–the–end–too–important
    Solnit, Rebecca. “Summer in the Far North.” MotherJones.com. MotherJones, 13 June 2013. Web.
    Solnit, Rebecca. “Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit, The Art of Not Knowing Where You Are.” TomDispatch.com. TomDispatch, 13 June 2013. Web.
    Strayed, Cheryl. “The Love of My Life.” Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: Work from 1970 to the Present. By Lex Williford and Michael Martone. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. 50013. Print.
    Sullivan, John Jeremiah. “Mister Lytle.” Pulphead. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 62. Print.
    Sullivan, John Jeremiah. “You Blow My Mind. Hey Mickey.” The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times, 8 June. 2011. Web.
    Swartz, Mimi. “Mothers, Sisters, Daughters, Wives.” Texas Monthly. Texas Monthly, Aug. 2012. Web.
    Tayman, John. “Project Wife.” Byliner. Byliner, n.d. Web.
    Wilkins, Joe. “Out West.” Growing Up in the West. Orion, Sept.–Oct. 2009. Web.
    Wolfe, Tom. “Appendix.” The New Journalism. New York: Harper & Row, 1973. 3752. Print.
    Wolfe, Tom. “New York Magazine.” Tom Wolfe on Radical Chic and Leonard Bernstein’s Party for the Black Panthers—. New York Magazine, 8 June 1970. Web.
    Wolfe, Tom. “The Angels.” The Literary Journalists. Ed. Norman Sims. New York: Ballantine, 1984. 89102. Print.
    Wolfe, Tom. The Bonfire of the Vanities. New York: Farrar, Straus Giroux, 1987. Print.

    Chapter 7: Pulling It All Together

    Adiele, Faith. “Fire – An Origin Tale.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web.
    Adiele, Faith. Meeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004. Print.
    Benham, Kelley. “Micro Preemie Parents Decide:Fight or Let Go of Their Premature Baby?” Micro Preemie Parents Decide Whether or Not to save Premature Baby. Tampa Bay Times, 6 Dec. 2012. Web.
    Boynton, Robert S. “Adrian Nicole LeBlanc.” The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. New York: Vintage, 2005. 22747. Print.
    Boynton, Robert S. “Ted Conover.” The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. New York: Vintage, 2005. 330. Print.
    Branch, John. “Snowfall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.” The New York Times. The New York Times 20 Dec. 2012. Web.
    Butler, Katy. “What Broke My Father’s Heart.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 19 June 2010. Web.
    Clarke, Galen. “Remember These Days.” Blog. Mediastorm.com, 12 Apr. 2012. Web.http://mediastorm.com/training/remember–these–days
    Didion, Joan. “Slouching Towards Bethlehem.” Slouching Towards Bethlehem. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1968. 84. Print.
    Dobbs, David. “My Mother’s Lover.” Atavist. June 2011.
    Flanagan, Caitlin. “The Fraternity Problem.” The Atlantic 313.2 (2014): 72+. Print.
    Flynn, Nick. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004. 3334. Print.
    Hertz, Sue. “Temple of History. “New Hampshire Home Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2011. 7581. Print.
    Karr, Mary. The Liars’ Club: A Memoir. New York: Viking, 1995. 7. Print.
    King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft. New York: Scribner, 2000. Print.
    McPhee, John. “The Writing Life: Draft 4.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker 29 April, 2013. 32. Print.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “Cherry Bars.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 6677. Print.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “First.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 710. Print.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “The Goldfish History.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 111126. Print.
    Meter, Ryan Van. “Youth Group.” If You Knew Then What I Know Now. Louisville, KY: Sarabande, 2011. 5365. Print.
    Nutt, Amy Ellis. Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man’s Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph. New York: Free Press, 2011. Print.
    Patchett, Ann. The Getaway Car. N.p.: Byliner Originals, 2011. Print.
    Potts, Rolf. “My Beirut Hostage Crisis.” Marco Polo Didn’t Go There: Stories and Revelations from One Decade as a Postmodern Travel Writer: With Special Commentary Track. Palo Alto, CA: Travelers’ Tales, 2008. Print.
    Sanders, Eli. “The Bravest Woman in Seattle by Eli Sanders.” Seattle Features. The Stranger, 15 July 2011. Web.
    Schweitzer, Sarah. “On the Way to Catastrophe, trailing a Life of Wrong Turns.” BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe, 23 Feb. 2014. Web.
    Schweitzer, Sarah. “Together despite All, Glimpsing the Distant finish – The Boston Globe.” BostonGlobe.com. Boston Globe, 13 Oct. 2013. Web.
    Sedgwick, John. In My Blood: Six Generations of Madness and Desire in an American Family. New York: HarperCollins, 2007. Print.
    Strayed, Cheryl. “Heroin/e.” The Best American Essays 2000. By Alan P. Lightman and Robert Atwan. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2000. 16981. Print.
    Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012. 42. Print.
    “20 Great Writers on the Art of Revision.” Flavorwire. N.p., n.d. Web.
    Vonnegut, Kurt. Timequake. New York: G.P. Putnam’s, 1997.137. Print.
    Wallace, David Foster. “How Tracy Austin Broke My Heart.” Consider the Lobster and Other Essays. New York: Little, Brown, 2005. 14243. Print.
    Whitmore, Rose. “The Odds of Injury.” The Sun February 458 (2014): 2831. Print.
    Zinsser, William Knowlton. On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994. Print.

    • Loading...
Back to Top