My Favorite Books About Writing Nonfiction

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

41lhhayQO9L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_I always love reading about writing. I caution students about spending so much time reading about it that they never actually do it, but these books in particular have been invaluable in shaping my own approaches to writing. Some of them focus on nonfiction specifically, while many are great for any kind of writing:

The Artful Edit, by Susan Bell: I use this every time I do a self-edit on a manuscript. It’s also a fun book to read straight through. She uses the editing process for The Great Gatsby — detailed in letters between Fitzgerald and his editor — to show how editing makes everything better.

The New New Journalism, by Robert Boynton: Interviews with all the rock stars of current creative nonfiction — Ted Conover, Erik Larson, Susan Orlean. This is like a fan magazine for nerds like me.

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron: 

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Slow Writing

QWF Writes

Like bread dough, my writing seems to require time to rise in a warm, draft-free place. The long proofing period is necessary; turn up the heat to hurry the rising, or don’t leave it long enough, and I get a stodgy, dense loaf.

Under ideal conditions—solitude, free time and excitement about what I’m writing—the words pour forth quickly. It’s exhilarating. But normally, I write when I can. I like to have control over an essay or story as it forms, and I edit as I write, considering each sentence as I put it to paper—does it say what I want it to say, or does it imply something else? I read what I’ve written aloud—does it have the right rhythm?Is my translation of Vietnamese dialogue as true to the original as possible? Does it sound natural?

The second proofing of the dough is as important as the first. Even when…

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‘White Oleander’ Author: What Makes Greatness?

Janet Fitch's Blog

This question was posed for me by a reader on my Goodreads page. For me, the best questions are the ones that make me think more deeply about the issues involved. This was a good one:
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 “What makes a great story/book? There are so many writers out there, but only a few get any acclaim, and some of the best posthumously. It is a herd mentality that snowballs into popularity?”
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The questioner is actually asking four separate questions here.
1. What makes a great story?
2. What makes a great book?
3. Why do only a few books get acclaim?
4. Is it a herd mentality that snowballs a book into popularity.
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I answered them in order–but Number 2 is the one that interests me most.
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1. A great story is one which satisfies the question it raises in the beginning. It can be a…

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The Right Words, The Right Time.

sara barnard

Fourteen years ago, I wrote a story about a girl.

I was thirteen at the time, and writing stories was what I did. And not just about girls. Planets that spoke to each other, mice who lived in the Underground, magic meerkats and friendly boats. Writing was my thing; it was beyond a hobby and more than just something I enjoyed. It was how I understood the world. Words had all the magic and possibility anyone could ever need. Put them in the right order, and you could create a world of your own. And maybe, if you got them just right, that world would be a place that would mean something to other people.

I’d written countless stories by the time I was thirteen – the first at age 6, in which the acknowledgements page listed all our family pets by name, including the guinea pigs – of varying length…

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Writing.

This is very true

SQUARED AWAY

“A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”  – Thomas Mann

I stumbled across this quote on the @AdviceToWriters Twitter account not long ago and it’s really stuck with me.

As a young writer there are times I question why I chose this career path. In my day-to-day job, I write seven stories every week. The second I close a week of writing, I’m already preparing for the next….and the next. I’m writing a book. I freelance. I like to post on my blog. I even wrote a speech this week.

I write more than I ever thought I would and it’s tough. It’s tougher than I thought, especially when the writing part just doesn’t come easy.

In a world where, through social media, we see people post story after story after story, with so much content circling around at such a…

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New Writing Craft Book

I love this, very useful

allbettsareoff

As a writer, I’m always on the look-out for new writing resources. This upcoming book sounds interesting.

I will soon be releasing the second volume of the series Power Elements Of Fiction, this one all about characters. This book, like the first on story structure reworks and organizes things I’ve written over the years both here and on my personal blog.

The thing is, true to the nature of writing, the reworking of a post often means it has new examples or better cohesion. Plus, the juxtaposition of one topic to another can reinforce important things about developing characters. Learn more.

Leeann

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Motivation of The Day…

Hi guys, I thought this is good, it gets you thinking.

The Lone Panda

Motivation

When I saw this I thought, now here is a quote that makes me think about my actions. Is the effort that I put forward today going to carry on over to tomorrow? Am I striving to reach my goals?

I suppose the honest truth is, that I am taking itty bitty steps in the right direction. No, I might not be taking giant strides and accomplishing my goals in leaps and bounds . But I am, however, doing little things here and there. Yes it might take me longer but it’s a choice that I am willing to sacrifice for.

Don’t let today or any day for that matter, be a mundane one. Don’t let it be meaningless. And no matter how small a step you’re taking towards your ambitions, it’s a step! Which is the most important thing of all.

Peace, Love and Panda Happiness

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