The country’s most prominent journalists and nonfiction authors gather each year at Harvard’s Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism. Telling True Stories presents their best advice—covering everything from finding a good topic, to structuring narrative stories, to writing and selling your first book. More than fifty well-known writers offer their most powerful tips, including:
• Tom Wolfe on the emotional core of the story
• Gay Talese on writing about private lives
• Malcolm Gladwell on the limits of profiles
• Nora Ephron on narrative writing and screenwriters
• Alma Guillermoprieto on telling the story and telling the truth
• Dozens of Pulitzer Prize–winning journalists from the Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and more . . .
The essays contain important counsel for new and career journalists, as well as for freelance writers, radio producers, and memoirists. Packed with refreshingly candid and insightful recommendations, Telling True Stories will show anyone fascinated by the art of writing nonfiction how to bring people, scenes, and ideas to life on the page.
You will find one of the great unspoken secrets of craftsmanship in Chapter 5, called "Markers: The Key to Swift Characterization." In Chapter 7, Stein reveals for he first time in print the wonderful system for creating instant conflict developed in the Playwrights Group of the Actors Studio, of which he was a founder. In "Secrets of Good Dialogue," the premier teacher of dialogue gives you the instantly useable techniques that not only make verbal exchanges exciting but that move the story forward immediately. You won't need to struggle with flashbacks or background material after you've read Chapter 14, which shows you how to bring background into the foreground.
Writers of both fiction and nonfiction will relish the amphetamines for speeding up pace, and the many ways to liposuction flab, as well as how to tap originality and recognize what successful titles have in common. You'll discover literary values that enhance writing, providing depth and resonance. You'll bless the day you read Chapters 32 and 33 and discover why revising by starting at page one can be a serious mistake, and how to revise without growing cold on your manuscript.
In the pages of this book, nonfiction writers will find a passport to the new revolution in journalism and a guide to using the techniques of fiction to enhance nonfiction. Fresh, useful, informative, and fun to read and reread, Stein on Writing is a book you will mark up, dog-ear, and cherish.