Developing narrative 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 factual narratives. 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 stories. Write Choices also includes digital storytelling. No longer confined to paper, today’s narrative nonfiction writers must learn to write for electronic media, which may also demand photos, videos, and/or audio. 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 emerging 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 memoirists to essayists to literary journalists, at any stage of their career.
Chapter 1: What’s the Big Idea?
What’s the Big Idea?
Finding an idea that is as compelling to the reader as it is to the writer looms often as daunting a task as scaling Kilimanjaro — barefoot.
Yet sources of inspiration are all around if we know where to look and what questions to ask. In this first chapter, we examine the paths that could lead to narrative topics, including brainstorming, the writer’s passions, conversations, observations, reading, reflection, and web cruising. Once we have a subject, we ask ourselves the hard questions — Where lies the conflict? What’s surprising? Is this idea timely or timeless? — to ferret out the fresh angle.
The invitation went something like this: Please attend a potluck dinner to which you will bring a ...