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.

What’s the Structure?

What’s the Structure?

What’s the Structure?


The ways to frame a story are infinite. But there are some basic guidelines and questions to consider, from targeting the source of tension to the balance of scene and summary. In this chapter we investigate how to build a compelling narrative that lures a reader from beginning to end. Among the structural options discussed are straight chronology, reverse chronology, circular, framed, braided, parallel, themed, and collage.

Whenever structure comes up in a conversation between nonfiction types, it is inevitable that someone will mention John McPhee. For over six decades, the master storyteller of over 30 books and countless essays has plotted narrative architectures so intricate and original that drawings don’t do them justice. He has regaled audiences with his ...

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