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Thread: Good creative nonfiction craft books or articles?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Arcadia Divine's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Rapid City, SD

    Good creative nonfiction craft books or articles?

    Just out of curiousity, are there any good creative nonfiction books out there that deal with the craft? The only book I've really ever found is one by writer's digest but I didn't get that due to the reviews I read on amazon. Also, are there any good articles out there about the craft of creative nonfiction?
    Everything bound to life dies eventually.

  2. #2
    Swan in Process Siri Kirpal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    In God I dwell, especially in Eugene OR
    Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

    Writing Life Stories by Bill Roorbach is excellent. While its primary focus is memoir, it also deals with personal essays and other narrative forms.

    Your Life As Story by Tristine Rainer is also about memoir writing primarily. However, it has a good section about how to organize your material, which would be equally applicable to other forms of narrative nonfiction.

    Hope that's the sort of thing you were looking for.

    If it's not, and what you want is more ruminative, try The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers.


    Siri Kirpal
    "The only freedom any of us ever has is the freedom to choose how we will not be free."

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    This isn't a book or an article, but their is a piece of outstanding creative nonfiction in the winter issue of Ploughshares called Unsaid by Gretchen Henderson. I think reading good stuff can help you write good stuff. The how-to books can only offer so much.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Sunnyside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    I highly recommend William Zinsser's On Writing Well. There's a reason it's been perpetually in print for more than three decades now. It's a genuinely warm book that'll get you excited about writing nonfiction, rather than casting doubt on your ability, as I find happens with some "how to" guides.

    Washington Irving (Arcade, 2008)
    Winner of the St. Nicholas Society of New York's Medal for Literary Excellence
    Jim Henson: The Biography (Ballantine, 2013)
    A New York Times Bestseller
    Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award, Best Biography of 2013
    A Bookpage Book of the Year
    One of CNN's Top 10 Books of the Year
    George Lucas: A Life (Little, Brown, 2016)
    Coming December 6 to a galaxy near you.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    I took a CNF class last year and we used "Tell it Slant" by Miller and Paolo which I thought was pretty decent for an instructional book. It has some good ideas for practice essays in each chapter, and even if you just do a couple you may find it helpful. I found myself suddenly writing about things I had never considered writing about before. We also used "Short Takes"

    Which I found the best instruction of all. By reading it carefully you can learn for yourself what works and what doesn't, at least for you. I still pull it out regularly.


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