This book is for the beginning creative nonfiction writer--one who needs to be told that writers are an eccentric lot; one who has never heard of the Yaddo artists' colony. Still, Lee Gutkind, the author of several books of creative nonfiction and the founder/editor of the journal Creative Nonfiction
, has some interesting things to tell us about this genre of writing, which strives to communicate real-life stories dramatically. The most important quality that a creative nonfiction writer can have, writes Gutkind, is passion: "A passion for the written word; a passion for the search and discovery of knowledge; and a passion for ... understand[ing] intimately how things in this world work." Gutkind offers instruction on finding story ideas, focusing one's work, keeping story files, fact checking, and interviewing; he tells us what to expect from editors and agents; and he teaches us how to know when we're ready to start writing (when you can "think of nothing more to ask or to learn"). Perhaps the best tidbit here is Gutkind's emphasis on delving deeply into one's subject matter without inserting oneself into the situation. "While immersing myself in a writing project," he says, "I routinely like to compare myself to a rather undistinguished and utilitarian end table in a living room or office. It is a fixture. You walk in and out of your living room dozens of times a day. You see the table, you expect
to see the table, but you do not say, 'Well, there is the table, hello table.'" Appendices include a sample book proposal and readings.
From the Publisher
A pioneer in the writing and teaching of nonfiction presents a practical guide to composing creative nonfiction that covers the entire process--from initial psychological preparation to marketing a finished piece. Written in an engaging style, the book provides pertinent information on conducting research, using interviews, "immersion journalism," cinematic writing, the ethical and moral concerns of writing subjective truth and more. Features examples culled from the author's journal, Creative Nonfiction, to illustrate writing techniques.