Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University

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Inspiring stories and practical advice from America’s most respected journalists

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.




From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

Mark Kramer was writer-in-residence in the American Studies Program at Smith College (1980-1990), writer-in-residence and a professor of journalism at Boston University (1990-2001), and writer-in-residence and founding director of the Nieman Program on Narrative Journalism at Harvard University (2001-2007). He's written for the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other periodicals. He's co-author of two leading textbook/readers on narrative nonfiction: Telling True Stories and Literary Journalism. He's written four additional books: Mother Walter and the Pig Tragedy, Three Farms, Invasive Procedures, and Travels with a Hungry Bear. He's currently at work on a book about writing narrative nonfiction. His website is www.tellingtruestories.com.

Wendy Call is author of No Word for Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy, winner of the 2011 Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction. She co-edited Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide. Wendy has served as Writer in Residence at 20 institutions, five national parks, four universities, a public hospital, and a historical archive. She writes and edits nonfiction, translates Mexican poetry and short fiction, and works as a teacher at Richard Hugo House and Goddard College. Before turning to full-time word-working in 2000, she devoted a decade to work for social change organizations in Boston and Seattle. The daughter of a middle-school math teacher and a career Navy officer from Michigan, Wendy grew up on and around military bases in Florida, Pennsylvania, southern California, and southern Maryland. She lives and works in Seattle.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Jan 30, 2007
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9781440628948
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Composition & Creative Writing
Language Arts & Disciplines / Reference
Reference / Writing Skills
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Your future as a writer is in your hands. Whether you are a newcomer or an accomplished professional, a novelist, story writer, or a writer of nonfiction, you will find this book a wealth of immediately useful guidance not available anywhere else. As Sol Stein, renowned editor, author, and instructor, explains, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of useable solutions-- how to fix writing that is flawed, how to improve writing that is good, how to create interesting writing in the first place."

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.

Kramer brings together experts from a variety of minority backgrounds and from around the world to give their perspectives on the most pervasive ideology today, globalism. The basic premise is that a developed country is different from a developed community. They need not be mutually exclusive, but neither is it assumed that they are necessarily consonant.

The various essays offer answers to such vital questions as What does it mean to become a 'global citizen'? and What does it mean to be a 'model minority' in a global economy? The process of becoming a mainstream person involves being first marginalized with the implication that something is inadequate about one's self. The process of assimilationism is manifested as various forms of enforced and/or rewarded acculturation. With the vast human migration currently underway, the notion of assimilation has become a global phenomenon. What is occurring, Kramer and his colleagues demonstrate, is a worldwide shift from the village milieu to the city lifestyle. This migration is seen as a polycentric and global phenomenon whereby the promised land is nowhere in particular, but, instead, a way of life and mindset, an urban lifestyle. This process is far more than a simple change in geography. Moving from the village to the cityscape involves a mutation in worldview and self-identity. Additional questions asked throughout the collection are What set of persuasive assumptions are leading the world in this direction? and What might be lost in the process? A provocative collection for scholars, students, and other researchers involved with development studies, multiculturalism, and urbanization.

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