The Architecture of Nonfiction

I particularly like #6 in the total article at “Nieman Storyboard” as it is my fishing rod – to reel me back in to where I started.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Sometimes it does feel like bricklaying. Sometimes it does feel like bricklaying.

When journalists become narrative-non-fiction writers, when essayists delve into memoir, the transition can be a challenge. How do we move from short and punchy (or mid-length and devastating) to a book-length work that holds the reader’s attention and leaves them satisfied?

At Nieman Storyboard,Bloomsbury Press Publisher and Editorial Director Peter Ginna discusses some key tools and techniques for successful book-length creative nonfiction. He points out why thematic and episodic structures often fail, how to figure out how much background to include (hint: “If you find yourself writing what the British call a “potted history” of World War II, your protagonist’s adolescence, or the development of the personal computer, there’s a good chance you are burdening the story with an excess of background”), and why sourcing matters.

As memoirists and essayists, we’ve heard this before, but Ginna’s phrasing bears repeating:

The most critical difference…

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