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 3: What’s the Content?
What’s the Content?
In this chapter we dive into the kinds of content different narratives demand and how to go about gathering the goods. By dividing the quest into three parts — determining what you already know, determining what you need to know, and figuring out where to go to find the material you need — content collecting follows a logical, sometimes surprising, and always enlightening sequence.
It took Cheryl Strayed 15 years of ruminating about her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail when she was 26 before she committed to writing about the experience. Memoir to Strayed, as it is to most writers, is not just about what happened, but the meaning of what happened. In her case it was finding ...