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Keep It Real: Everything You Need to Know About Researching and Writing Creative Nonfiction Reprint Edition
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More About the Author
Gutkind has lectured to audiences around the world--from China to the Czech Republic, from Australia to Africa to Egypt. He has appeared on many national radio and televisions shows, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (Comedy Central), Good Morning America, National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, as well as BBC World.
Gutkind is the recipient of grants and awards from many different organizations, from the National Endowment for the Arts to the National Science Foundation.
A prolific author, his most recent books include An Immense New Power to Heal: The Promise of Personalized Medicine and an anthology, At the End of Life: True Stories About How We Die.
His new book, You Can't Make This Stuff Up, is described by Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief and Rin Tin Tin, as the "essential and definitive guide to creative nonfiction . . . engaging, useful, indispensable and inspiring."
Top Customer Reviews
That's why I liked "Keep it Real." Mr. Gutkind and his team of contributors have assembled several constructive articles regarding necessities for "Creative Nonfiction." Much of what they share moves beyond the Creative Nonfiction genre and can inform the work of the fiction writer.
While the order of the brief articles seemed random (they're alphabetical, dummy!) I frequently found myself underlining passages to which I would want to refer as I worked through future projects. Within a couple of days, I was back in the book, rereading an underscored passage or two.
As I rewrite something that was "perfect" before, as I mold a journal entry into a memoir piece, heck, even as I take notes for a possible idea, many of the tenets of "Keep it Real" guide my efforts and help make my efforts more succinct and efficient. I have license now to be more critical of my work:
"Take a highlighter and yellow in the scenes. If half your essay, more or less, is not glaring and blaring back at you in yellow (I use green), that's a red flag, a warning that your essay may not be infused with enough narrative to compel a reader onward." (page 141) That one piece of advice is more than worth the price of admission for me.
Perhaps this is not the volume for a student in an MFA program or for someone who is studying writing in a formal program. But for someone with a story to tell who is looking for tips and coaching about how to tell it, this book deserves an easily accessible place on the shelf. You'll be referring to it often.
Originally, I adjudged Creative Nonfiction as an embellishment--inserting fictional facts with flamboyant color into an otherwise true story to round out its rough edges and instill it with vivid life. I viewed this strange new genre as a stretching of truth into virtual fiction.
"Keep It Real" set me straight. Its integrity as nonfiction remains intact. This new genre awakens the dry experience of Journalism, as depicted by publications like the "The New York Times", by inserting emotion and color into lifeless facts. It maintains accurate prose about real people and events, while painting dry facts with drama and imagination. The nonfiction writer, as a factual reporter, enters inside the mind of the protagonist, not through fictional embellishment or psychic guesswork, but through true depictions of that person's actions, expressions, and words. Likewise, the writer can be an interactive character in the story with the license to express his own personal thoughts, feelings, and perceptions through a depiction of his own behavior and reactions. The story reads like lively fiction, but tells the truth.
My memoir-in-progress, which I had initially labeled Nonfiction Narrative, is really Creative Nonfiction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as well done as his other book: You can't make this stuff up.Published 17 days ago by Lifetime Reader
Important information for nonfiction writing.. Format took a little getting used to, but now I've got it😃Published 6 months ago by andrea
This will be useful if I ever get around to writing as I'm urged to do. Has been helpful in the other writing I do.Published 13 months ago by Dorris M. Schulz
Great book on writing creative nonfiction. Very helpful for someone interested in writing this genre.Published 13 months ago by Pamela Stewart
Every writer of non-fiction (as well as fiction, in my opinion) should not only read this book…but should own one.Published 17 months ago by Sarah
I bought this book as a text for a creative non-fiction writing course. I have read it in advance ind feel that it will be invaluable in the course.Published 19 months ago by David Mills
This is a good book to explain creative nonfiction and give examples of how to write it. It has several short sections written by different people.Published on August 24, 2013 by John Eakins
An excellent resource for anyone interested in reading, writing or teaching creative non-fiction. Reinforced my appreciation for the genre. This one comes highly recommended!Published on June 9, 2013 by BT Invictus
As someone who writes creative nonfiction, I have had for years questions swirling around in my mind that I didn't quite know how to articulate, but that made me uncomfortable. Read morePublished on May 10, 2013 by Natasha Swinney