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Telling the Story: How to Write and Sell Narrative Nonfiction Paperback – September 16, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Narrative nonfiction is the new name for what used to be called the nonfiction novel, but it has evolved a bit from Capote's In Cold Blood (1966), which was clearly structured like a novel, to any of a variety of nonfiction accounts that employ a storytelling style. In this helpful book, Rubie, a veteran literary agent, discusses the tricks of this relatively new trade. Writing a work of nonfiction that reads like a novel brings with it a host of new questions. Does dialogue have to be 100 percent accurate? How far can the author go in inventing the thoughts and motivations of his or her characters? How much "dramatic license" is too much? Rubie also addresses selling a work of narrative nonfiction: finding an agent, writing the book proposal, marketing the book. This is a fairly traditional how-to-be-a-writer book in that it discusses all the usual things--plot, character, dialogue, the mechanics of getting published--but it addresses them all through the special lens of narrative nonfiction. Fresh and definitely useful. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


“Fresh and definitely useful.” (Booklist)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060535288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060535285
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,402,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Charles Miller on May 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
Having thought about, started, restarted, and given up on several novels over the years, I have nonetheless continued to think of myself as a writer. Recently, in my "real" life, I was part of an event that I believe warrants coverage as narrative nonfiction, and no one in the world is better positioned than I am to tell the story. But, how to start? Peter Rubie's book has been a great help in getting me ready to take my proposal to agents. He describes the genre and what makes good narrative. He has many helpful suggestions for conducting research--especially on conducting interviews. He offers great advice on contacting and interesting an agent. And, finally, he gives a useful tutorial on producing the killer proposal. Although I have other books on proposal writing and marketing that are more detailed, I'm glad I started with this book.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
Early reviews of Telling The Story: "TELLING THE STORY is an invaluable resource for anyone grappling with a nonfiction project. It's smart, cogent and comprehensive." Betsy Lerner, former editor, literary agent, and author of The Forest for the Trees An Editor's Advice to Writers
"In a publishing market where "narrative non-fiction" is looked on not just as a genre but as the holy grail, Peter Rubie steps forward to do what no one else has done before - define the craft and lay out precepts for new bestsellers." John Silbersack, former VP HarperCollins, Senior Vice President Trident Media Group
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