Books on writing non fiction?

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Jonah Hex

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Hi everybody.

My researches on Amazon and Google have been useless so I ask to you: I'm searching for a book on writing non fiction but NOT creative non fiction. I like to write historical short articles (about the history of the Old West in particular) but now I would like to write a "full length" book. What I need is just a good book that explains 1) how to research, and 2) how to organize the material and the writing. I don't need guides on editorial or writing style or on writing books over a thesis.

If I can do more in particular, would be great a book only on the organization of the book (how to take notes, how to outline, how to "build" the book, etc.).

Hope in a help.

Thank you very much for the patience.

So long!
 

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You should look at the AW Amazon Store.

Look especially at Books About Writing.

I'd suggest The MLA Handbook. It's written for undergrad students writing research papers.

It's got a good section on evaluating resources, and how to cite.

Keep in mind that publishers will have a preferred format for citations; the differences will be in punctuation and the order of the parts of a citation, not the actual information.

I'd also Google "writing about history" and look for sites ending in .edu. They'll be guides for undergraduate history majors, and grad students writing for publication and their dissertations.

The other stuff, well, that depends on what works for you.

The thing to be sure about: Track your information. It's much easier to remove a citation than it is to insert one later.

You might find using Scrivener or another information manager (DevonThink, Evernote) might work really well for you.

The stages are generally:

1. Read widely in the general area of your topic.
Make notes about what you read that seems interesting or important. Consider not only specific notes with citations (source, author, date, page, and where / how you obtained it (bought the book, library, online URL) but a general summary.
3. Start finetuning your topic.
4. Start thinking about what sub areas of your topic you need to talk about.
This can be done with lists, outlines, or index cards
5. Start thinking about the order you want to present your sub topics.
6. Start writing
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

What I always do for non-fic is:

Create a Word folder.

Do the reading. If I run across anything that might be useful, I note it down with citations in a special file. Same for info from informants.

The outline I do twice: First one is a loose listing done by hand on paper of what I need and/or want to include and where I think this info might go. Second outline is in a separate Word file and includes more detail, the order in which I think the items need to be presented, etc.

Write!

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

mlovmo

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Yes: MLA Handbook.

The suggestions above are great. The thing that I have to make sure to do is NOT LOSE THE DARN CITATION! It's such a pain to go back and try to find the source of that neat little nugget of info or quote if it's not readily at hand.
 
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Elizabeth George's book Write Away