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Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction

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From the work of the New Journalists in the 1960s, to the New Yorker essays of John McPhee, Susan Orlean, Atul Gawande, and a host of others, to blockbuster book-length narratives such as Mary Roach’s Stiff or Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, narrative nonfiction has come into its own. Yet writers looking for guidance on reporting and writing true stories have had few places to turn for advice. Now in Storycraft, Jack Hart, a former managing editor of the Oregonian who guided several Pulitzer Prize–winning narratives to publication, delivers what will certainly become the definitive guide to the methods and mechanics of crafting narrative nonfiction.

Hart covers what writers in this genre need to know, from understanding story theory and structure, to mastering point of view and such basic elements as scene, action, and character, to drafting, revising, and editing work for publication. Revealing the stories behind the stories, Hart brings readers into the process of developing nonfiction narratives by sharing tips, anecdotes, and recommendations he forged during his decades-long career in journalism. From there, he expands the discussion to other well-known writers to show the broad range of texts, styles, genres, and media to which his advice applies. With examples that draw from magazine essays, book-length nonfiction narratives, documentaries, and radio programs, Storycraft will be an indispensable resource for years to come.

266 pages, Hardcover

First published June 15, 2011

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About the author

Jack R. Hart

5 books23 followers
Jack Hart was a managing editor at The Oregonian and has served as the newspaper's writing coach and staff development director. Formerly a professor of journalism at The University of Oregon, he has often lectured at Harvard's Niemann Conference for Narrative Journalism, and he teaches at writers' conferences throughout the country.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 111 reviews
Profile Image for Kim Stallwood.
Author 7 books35 followers
December 18, 2017
Of all the books about writing, editing and publishing I’ve read over the years, I cannot think of one that stood out more than just offering a nugget of information here and some insight over there. They were helpful but not memorable. Or even enjoyable to read. Story Craft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hart, however, is different and comes highly recommended.

Let’s take the author first. For 25 years, Hart served as managing editor, training editor, and writing coach at The Oregonian, the Pacific Northwest’s largest newspaper. He edited four Pulitzer Prize finalists, including winners in explanatory journalism and feature writing. He also edited a portion of the work recognized with the 2001 Pulitzer Gold Medal for Public Service and the 2006 breaking-news Pulitzer. He’s internationally recognised as an authority in narrative nonfiction.

What is narrative nonfiction?

Well, it’s not fiction because it’s nonfiction. Because it’s nonfiction it has to be based in fact and tell a true story. But it doesn’t read like journalism because it isn’t written around the traditional newspaper writing style of who, what, where, when, and why. It reads like fiction even though it’s nonfiction. So, narrative nonfiction is a creative form of writing with a narrative arc telling a factual story. But it’s more than that. There are different types of narratives and narrative arcs. There are issues about whether the author writes him or herself into the narrative. There’s the matter of research and investigations that are necessary to write narrative nonfiction. Some authors immerse themselves in their subject. For example, to write Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, Matthew Desmond lived among poor and working class people for months to understand the people and the issues touched by evictions. So, in short, narrative nonfiction is creative writing based on truth that tells a story.

Of course, narrative nonfiction is much more than that and Hart does a fantastic job exploring and explaining why. The chapters address such issues as structure, point of view, character, scene, action, theme, and so on. He draws from his experience with The Oregonian to recount and analyse the articles he published and the writers he worked with in producing them. The book is a fine balance of theory and practice, and it’s easy to learn from Hart how to use both to create fine writing.

Further, the book is illustrated with the most helpful figures which depict the various structures that can be used to write narrative nonfiction. I found them to be particularly insightful in helping me to figure out the approach and structure to one of my writing projects. For example, the figure on the right shows how to structure a piece of writing as a narrative arc that’s “built from the orderly progression of facts through specific story elements.” (p. 24)

“Great narrative,” Hart writes, “rests on the three legs of character, action, and scene, and character comes first because it drives the other two.” (p. 75) If you want to write great narrative, then you can do no better than read this book.
Profile Image for Miebara Jato.
149 reviews21 followers
February 16, 2020
Writing is hard (at least speaking for myself). Whether it is about writing a one-page memo or an essay for your 13-year-old child or a social media update or a book, this art called composition is difficult. But like most problems, the solution seems not to be far-fetched. You (and that includes me) need a good go-to guidebook to hone the craft.

I need to emphasise on 'good stylebook' because not all guidebooks can improve one's writing. In fact, some will put you in a straight-jacket and render you, especially if you're a novice writer, as argued by the American author, Foster Wallace, boringly unoriginal.

Having read a number of guidebooks, my top recommendations in no particular order are The Economist Style Guide, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr and On Writing Well by William Zinsser. So where do I place Storycraft?

Storycraft is an engaging and helpful guidebook, too. Hart is a long and experienced journalist and editor and he brought that to bear in the book. Story craft, though, originally written for a nonfiction writing audience, is, nonetheless, an all-purpose practical guidebook. It can be read from cover to cover or the reader can just go straight to specific sections for specific advice. Storycraft is filled with examples taken from award-winning published works.

Some of the topics covered in the book include point of view, voice and style, character development, dialogue, story narratives, and explanatory narratives.

Recall my earlier assertion that stylebooks only offer half the solution. I think--and most professional writers agree, too--that added to a "good" style book, is developing a regular reading and writing habit.

The importance of reading to a writer can't be emphasised enough. You cannot be a good writer if you do not have a fondness for reading. I agree with the assertion made by Eudora Welty in her book, On Writing, that, "writing comes out of superior devotion to reading". Ben Yagoda also made a similar argument in his book, How to Not Write Bad. He stated that a good writer is a committed reader.

Many people, of course, will disagree with those points of view. But the dissenters, in my opinion, are likely o come from the camp of the non-committed readers. Here's the naked truth: It's impossible to be a good writer without being a committed reader.

As for the importance of practice in writing, a quote by the novelist Rick Riordon will suffice: "Writing is like sport. If you don't practice, you don't get better".

In closing, may I suggest that even if you don't get to read Storyraft, take the following 5 rules on writing from George Orwell to heart:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or another figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. (Avoid: Phrases such as toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles’ heel, etc).

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do (e.g., use buy instead of purchase).

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active (Example: The man was bitten by the dog (passive).The dog bit the man (active)).

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Profile Image for Sarah.
126 reviews
September 29, 2014
This is the how-to guide you're looking for, if you're looking.
Profile Image for emily.
384 reviews257 followers
November 23, 2021

Didn’t think I needed this book. Read a few pages out of casual curiosity and/but ended up finishing the entire thing. Style, structure, and form. What the point of delivering a good narrative without a well-considered, carefully engineered vehicle? It will all be in shambles by the time it reaches the reader. Perhaps it will not even ever ‘reach’ the reader – only figments of what it was or could have been. Personally, I think style and structure are as important in a work of fiction as they are in a work of non-fiction. Some may find it constricting, but I think otherwise. It gives writers more room to be ‘experimental’ when they are familiar with a more diverse set of literary styles/structures/techniques (or basically better practised/more aware of the ‘construction’ of a literary text – be it prose/verse). It’s always so exhausting to read a large body of text without a good structure. Even if the narrative is fucking extraordinary, it’s inevitably wasted if built on a carelessly engineered structure. A literary car crash is what it is. Hart’s book is so well organised, which I adore. Quick read, and very informative. Would 10/10 recommend.
Profile Image for Thomas.
Author 1 book52 followers
December 29, 2020
Excellent, straight forward book on writing good narrative nonfiction. I've been a fan of this genre for a long time—before I even knew it was a "thing"—and enjoyed getting a bit of peak behind the curtain. I skipped a few bits that seemed focused on journalists' specific concerns. Perhaps one day I'll start writing again and actually leverage some of what I learned here.
Profile Image for Steve Greenleaf.
223 reviews73 followers
August 15, 2013
The art of telling an effective story, whether as a matter of fiction or of non-fiction, has become increasingly celebrated and promoted as the most effective means of communicating a message. Wherever we turn for advice about communicating effectively, we are told about the power of story—or of narrative, if you prefer the more hifalutin term. The reasoning is simple: we seem programed to remember stories, tales across time involving characters who engage us in their quests.

Jack Hart is a professional journalist who shares the skills to write an effective non-fiction story for a newspaper or magazine. The book provides a number of tips and explanations about how good stories come to written, including consideration of the usefulness of ways of communicating other than by narrative, such as by explanation. But the stories that Hart's colleagues have written about all manner of topics that have enhanced their effectiveness (and one assumes their readership) by use of a strong narrative line. The elements, when you reflect upon them, seem almost self-evident: characters (persons that we can care about and understand), a conflict or obstacle that present the characters a challenge, change through time (a narrative arc), and a well-researched facts. Like lawyers, journalists have a professional ethical obligation to "tell the truth", as problematic has that statement always is. Both professions require us to ground our narrative in some sense in "what really happened", perhaps easier for journalists because they don't (or least shouldn't) work for self-interested clients. One of the points that Hart rightfully addresses includes the ethics of required for appropriate truth telling.

Who might enjoy this book? Anyone who might want to tell a story, fiction or non-fiction. (In truth, the fundamentals are not so different and Hart draws in a number of sources that originally addressed issues of fiction and play-writing.) However, I read it from the particular point of view of a lawyer, an attorney, an advocate. I’m convinced more and more that our first job as an advocate is to learn and tell our clients’ stories in a comprehensible and engaging manner. In some cases the law may prove an insurmountable road block to a remedy, but in most cases, especially any case that requires a trial or hearing to resolve the issues, telling the clients story, and thereby making the client and the client’s plight as sympathetic as possible the most important aspect of representation. Lawyers don’t write essays about “why my client should win” in “25 words or less”, but our briefs come close to allowing us to do that (and considering the “25 words or less” isn’t a bad idea either). As advocates, attorneys need to become as literate in telling a story as we are in forming an argument (which, of course, may incorporate storytelling). We especially face issues with younger jurors and lawyers who have a more native mastery of visual storytelling that older, logocentric persons like me lack. If the book has one weakness, it’s that it is limited to telling stories through the written word. Oral and visual storytelling must gain a place in the advocate’s arsenal as well as the use of the more traditional written word.

A fine book, well considered and well written (not for the most part in storytelling mode, I might add) that most anyone with curiosity about this topic could benefit from.
Profile Image for Salman Israr.
88 reviews41 followers
October 2, 2020
I was looking for a book that explains use of narrative in non-fiction. I love the storytelling work that goes into Vox's videos, or Kurzgesagt - they both use narrative structure.

I already know so much about story theory (but for fiction) but wanted a resource explaining its implications in non-fiction world.

This is really helpful book if you are looking for using narrative/storytelling to explain and document real events - but it's more directed toward newspaper journalists, still you would learn a lot if you are into learning theory of storytelling. I was looking to use the methods' relevance to explaining science in more interesting way etc.

My favorite chapters are story structure, and explainatory narrative.

Though it was helpful, I would search for more resources that explore using the story structure in film/video - Johny Harris (former Vox video journalist) plans to one course on that, might look into that. Happy reading.
Profile Image for Tim Dellas.
126 reviews3 followers
November 14, 2020
For a journalistic eye, this surely is a 5/5, but I read it from the perspective of a novelist as I heard elsewhere that there were some nuggets of wisdom hidden in this book, and I wasn't disappointed. Stimm the last quarter of the book felt like too much repetition and content examples, but otherwise a great resources especially in terms of structure and scene-structure.
Profile Image for Catherine Gillespie.
759 reviews40 followers
February 7, 2015
But the interesting thing about writing, I find, is that writing in different genres strengthens your writing across the board. In Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction, Jack Hart offers writing advice specifically for the sort of narrative non-fiction pieces you read in newspapers and magazines, but his insights are so incredibly helpful that you could easily apply them to any genre you’re writing in.

{Read my full review here}
5 reviews3 followers
February 19, 2017
Useful primer for narrative non-fiction, but somewhat limited in its scope (it's really heavily focused on newspapers as an output, and draws heavily on a small number of examples.) Feels a generation or so out of date--but if you can abstract yourself a little from its sensibilities and slightly mechanistic approach to writing, there is some valuable advice.
Profile Image for Caitlin.
236 reviews5 followers
December 31, 2018
I've read many dozens of books on the craft of writing, and Storycraft is one of the best. Even if you've never thought of writing nonfiction, this is worth a read.
January 16, 2020
*There are spoilers in my review, but they're for Lord of the Rings. Yeah, you read that right.*

I'm still reading this, but I needed to get my thoughts down about it so far.

I've found it somewhat useful and informative but have to dock it a star. I'll explain.

The author, Hart, criticizes Erik Larson for what Hart sees as inventing history by adding one extra passage to his book that didn't directly have historical basis. Yes, I am a fan of Larson so this rankled me some but not enough to dock a star. In part because he does praise Larson elsewhere.

He lost his 5th star when he also completely mangled the plot of Lord of the Rings.
Direct quote: "Frodo's climax, on the other hand, was true Hollywood because it was of *his* own making. *He* carried the ring to Mount Doom, overcoming everything from Orcs to earthquakes along the way. *He* threw the ring into the only fire that could consume it." Ugh. The LOTR fan in me cringed. Hard.

So the same guy who criticized Larson for putting something in his book that didn't have historical record (but did probably have a basis in the study of serial killers) went and supported one of his points with a wrong plot summary that could have been corrected if he had seen at least the Lord of the Rings movies, though the book would have been better. Never mind the fact that, like Star Wars and other pop culture, the plot to LOTR is pretty widely known. He could have simply asked ANYONE who paid even the slightest attention to the book and found that his beliefs on what happened in the plot were dead wrong. Frodo was helped (and pushed and prodded and literally carried) along the way several times, most of all by Sam, and in the end was going to make all their efforts in vain by keeping the ring if not for Gollum (and the pity of Bilbo). Not the simplistic story he thought it was, is it?

So yeah, it's a little harder to take the advice of someone who questions the ethics of someone supposedly not having any actual basis for what they write when he doesn't bother doing basic research to figure out the plot of a VERY popular book. It's low-hanging fruit to find out the LOTR plot, even without reading the actual book or watching the movie.

Thinking on this more is making my drop my rating to two stars for the hypocrisy of him proclaiming non-fiction writers need to do their research and stick to the facts and not their assumptions and then going and doing the exact same thing. I may give him back a star if I find the rest of his book useful.
Profile Image for Susan Griggs.
93 reviews6 followers
June 30, 2021
"Storycraft" is aimed at non-fiction narrative writers and journalists. However, if you are interested in writing creative or narrative non-fiction, this is the best book I've read about the craft. It is interesting, engaging and full of practical advice a writer can use to start or improve their creative non-fiction.

Narrative, or commonly called creative non-fiction, is a writing style that adds flavor and well-written style to true, factual stories. These story pieces range from full manuscripts to magazine articles and podcasts.

The author, Jack R. Hart, is a former professor of Journalism at the University of Oregon and managing editor of the Oregonian. He has worked with and coached several Pulitzer Prize-winning narratives.

The book covers the several structures a creative non-fiction piece can take and then rolls into discussing point of view, characterization, scene descriptions, dialogue and theme. I especially appreciated the last chapter on ethics, where Hart discusses the situations when authors choose to embellish non-fiction to make it more creative, exciting and saleable.

Besides the practical instruction, my favorite part of this book was the real-life examples Hart uses to illustrate his teachings. From short articles to full books, he uses several works to take a deep dive into concepts. He also tells the backstories of how the pieces came to life from the initial idea through fact-checking and publishing.

Maybe one reason I gave this book five stars is because of the several times Hart uses one of my favorite books, "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson, to illustrate his points. He also cites a favorite hometown author of mine Anthony Shadid.

Just through one read, I have several torn pieces of paper marking important passages to come back to, and the once-new book now shows mostly pencil underlinings. So this book will remain within my hands-reach for many years to come.
Profile Image for Anson Cassel Mills.
578 reviews10 followers
December 28, 2019
Jack Hart’s Storycraft is a worthy addition to the Chicago Guide series on writing, editing and publishing; but personally, I was most interested in thinking through the similarities and differences between the writing of narrative nonfiction and the writing of history.

Hart’s ethical position on the truthfulness of what he writes is conservative; it leans toward what is (or, at least, what should be) the stance of a historian: “Don’t fudge, ever, even if a tiny departure from reality produces a huge payoff in drama, clarity, or style.” (219) Hart’s calling his field “narrative nonfiction,” rather than “creative nonfiction,” itself suggests rejection of those slacker examples of the genre that effectively blur the line between fiction and nonfiction.

Still, while great writers of history like Barbara Tuchman and David McCullough have had to have been great storytellers to attract their multiplied tens of thousands of readers, they did not usually choose subjects by first finding a suitable protagonist and a dramatic arc—not to say those things did not appear after they did their research. Nor do historians usually feel comfortable accepting “bits of reconstructed monologue when they reflect what somebody was thinking.” (134) “The real world,” says Hart, “doesn’t necessarily work like a perfectly formed story” (153); and it is at that point that a historian needs to take courage in hand and present his readers with every ugly, disproportionate truth.
Profile Image for Danielle.
24 reviews2 followers
January 13, 2018
I've read a few books on creative/narrative nonfiction and this is by far the best. Many of the other books on craft are pretty general and after reading one, the others seem like a regurgitation of the same information. Hart's chapters on scene, characterization, and dialogue are full of helpful examples from stories he edited at the Oregonian as well as other essays. All of these are framed by concrete advice that I already know I'll be using in my own writing.

The chapter on ethics was also fantastic. I was expecting it to be a scant few pages because it seems like most people just throw this chapter in almost as an afterthought. Instead, it was a well-researched discussion of ethical issues across the entire spectrum of nonfiction, from memoir to journalism. Hart mentions journalists and authors who've found themselves in hot water (or completely defamed) and examined why and to whom their actions were controversial. In a lot of cases, there's no black and white and I found it super helpful especially when thinking about personal essay. Just one last thing about the ethics chapter—I thought his discussion of journalists' different perspectives of truth is particularly interesting considering all the "fake news" arguments out there today.
Profile Image for James.
814 reviews26 followers
May 28, 2023
This is a book about how to write narrative non-fiction by American writer and editor Jack Hart. Originating with the New Journalists of the 1960s, such as Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion and Hunter Thompson, the genre uses a literary style to relate factually accurate stories. Hart’s treatise goes through how to apply all the elements of a good story, including structure, point of view, voice, character, scenes, action and dialogue to make real life jump from the page like a good novel.

I read this book because I write for a living (mostly) and it’s always good to fine-tune your skills. While the only real way to learn is to do it, and get honest feedback, a good book on technique is the next best thing. This one is full of good advice, but it’s obviously intended for an American audience. Unfortunately, its lack of examples from other English-speaking countries is its main drawback, as it misses the cultural differences that would naturally inform this kind of writing.

However, its easy-to-follow style and clear explanations that don’t talk down to you make it a good text for both beginning and experienced writers. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their writing, whether you do it for work or just for fun.
Profile Image for Sara.
Author 4 books52 followers
July 16, 2019
A must-have for writers of narrative nonfiction. STORYCRAFT explains in depth the power and practice of well-written and compelling narrative, from developing a strong grasp on story and structure to mastering individual elements such as scene, character, voice, and action, to understanding the importance of theme and the necessity of ethical behavior. As author Jack Hart implies throughout the book, narrative nonfiction is a lot like journalism. Even though you're telling a story, you should still be committed to sharing truth and facts.

That being said, STORYCRAFT is more theoretical than practical. It doesn't offer much in the way of exercises or activities to practice each discussion topic (which is why I'm giving this four stars instead of five). Instead, Hart offers a wealth of examples of how each topic or element has been done well in published nonfiction, with occasional diagrams to illustrate his concepts. It's also a gentle authority, engaging and concise in how it shares its wisdom. It might seem dry and scholarly upfront, but you might be surprised with how much you enjoy and learn from it as you go along. I certainly did.
59 reviews
July 6, 2022
[Please note: my review is based on the April 2021 edition of this book]

Subtitled "The complete guide to writing narrative nonfiction", this book is bursting with good advice --the kind of advice that makes you think "Of course!", when you hear it.

For example, the author correctly points out that when it comes to reporting real-life events, the writer has no say in the actual content. What then becomes of paramount importance are such aspects as the way the story is developed, and how characters are depicted.

Using examples from reportage and borrowing heavily from the fiction writer's play book, Hart makes it clear that plotting is crucial. Also, like Chekhov's gun (if a gun appears in Act 1, it has to be fired at some point), actions like someone clearing their throat are pointless if they add nothing to how we see them as a character.

With useful plot graphs and concepts such as the ladder of abstraction (which represents the written equivalent of long shots, medium shots and close-ups), Story Craft will likely prove essential to even the most experienced nonfiction writer.
Profile Image for Melissa Gill.
35 reviews
June 12, 2023
“Storycraft” by Jack Hart thoroughly explores all of the aspects of writing a piece of narrative nonfiction. From story structure to ethics, Hart uses examples to illustrate his methods and explain to readers all of the elements required to pen an impactful nonfiction narrative.

As someone who is interested in writing more narrative journalism, I found this to be a great source for knowledge and inspiration. I wish one of my professors would have made this a mandatory textbook because I learned a great deal from reading it. I earned my BA in journalism and media studies and I have also written pieces for some national publications. I want to write more creative nonfiction, which is what sparked my interest in this subject. This book is perfect for emerging and established journalists who are interested in crafting immersive nonfiction.

If you like this book, I also recommend reading "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser and "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Although some of "Elements of Style" is a bit outdated, it is still good to read because it has greatly impacted the writing process of many professional writers and editors.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,100 reviews14 followers
August 31, 2023
An excellent book about the craft of telling stories, but from the non fiction point of view. Don't let the non fiction focus fool you, though. There is such a lot in here about the art of telling stories. Hart applies the tried and trusted fictional narrative form to non fiction, showing how we can tell non fiction stories better. Thus the book discusses what makes a good story, and especially structure. The book is excellent on structure. There is a nod to elements of style too, but Hart is clear that it is the structure that is important, first and foremost.

And, of course, as this is about telling non fiction creatively, there has to be a discussion about truthfulness in story telling. That is all here too. So it is great for what it purports to be and it is also a great book for anyone who wants to tell better stories of any type.

Readable and filled with examples and wisdom, this is a very good book.
Profile Image for James.
421 reviews8 followers
May 25, 2017
I encountered "Storycraft" during a visit to the library. It wasn't one of those, "I need a specific book days", but rather an, "I'm just going to meander through the stacks and find something unread that grabs my attention sort of day". I have a strong interest in writing, although I don't do much of it. To help me do more I've been reading more about style and the experience of writing.

"Storycraft" was an excellent choice because it satisfies my need to better understand storytelling but more importantly non-fiction storytelling. While I enjoy fiction, I've never really written it. Narrative non-fiction seems to me the next best thing, a sideways approach to better understanding story by grounding it in the telling of fact.

The book itself is well structured, well organized and blends examples well. At times I thought some of the examples ran a little long in demonstrating an idea, but otherwise I suggest this as a strong source to better understanding the building of any story fact or fiction.
Profile Image for Peter Gibb.
Author 4 books3 followers
February 1, 2018
The rise in popularity of non-fiction in recent years owes a great deal to the practitioners of "New journalism" and new age journalism owes a great deal to thoughtful editors like Jack Hart who saw the intersection of story telling and journalism, and practiced the art of these two disciplines with the highest of ethical standards. I learned a lot from reading this book, and reviewed many concepts that I was already familiar with but needed a good refresher. As a memoir writer, I'm always looking for new approaches to get at the truth and communicate it in a way that engages the reader deeply. Hart filled that bill fully, and gave me a satisfying picture of what he did as a senior editor at The Oregonian. Fulfilling, satisfying, educational, entertaining ... when you can do all that in one book, you get 5 stars from me.
Profile Image for Brian.
165 reviews
July 5, 2022
I would recommend this to anyone thinking about studying or entering the field of journalism. It was refreshing to read, especially with the fall of objective journalism in America during the last 20 years.

Hart is a master editor and journalist. He would be someone you'd love to have editing your stories, but probably hate at the same time, because you know he would make your job tough. However, the results are in the rewards, as he has helped a number of journalists and publications to awards for investigation and writing.

I bought this book after taking an online memoir writing course. Hart offers great tips, advice and lessons for anyone looking to expand, improve and evolve their own writing.

This will be a book I keep close by to my computer as a continual reference.
September 19, 2021
It gave me both technical and ethical insight into writing my first book

I’ve always known a good story when I came across one but I didn’t understand why I liked it. Story Craft gave me the insight into the structure of good stories. The author saved the best for last. His chapter on Ethics was both thought provoking and convicting. It forced me to asked the hard questions like “How many times have I violated the rules of ethics for the purposes of persuasion?”

After I write this review, I’m going back for a second reading of the last chapter. This is a book I will be reading many times over.
13 reviews4 followers
December 25, 2017
One fabulous, inteligent, ethical, inspiring book.

I am a me,oie writer and have recently expanded my “field”to include other forms of personal, narrative non-fiction. I also teach, and thought this book might be helpful. I couldnt put it down, and learned so much from it. Jack Hart is the kind of eriter / srory teller / teacher we need. Although i am not a journalist in the strict sense of the word, all writers are journalists. I strongly recommend this book to anyone interested in becoming a better non-fiction writer.
Profile Image for Sharon Orlopp.
Author 1 book530 followers
June 7, 2018
Jack Hart's book, Story Craft, is an excellent guide for writers. I took notes from cover to cover and it inspired me to evaluate current writing projects. Many items grabbed me, including:
1. Setting is the gift wrap; story is the gift.
2. What is the story's engine?
3. Placement of plot points on a narrative arc

Hart seamlessly covers character development, inciting incidences, driving the action forward, setting, conflict, and resolution. He provides many specific examples from authors and books---which significantly increased my "to read" list.

I highly recommend Story Craft!
Profile Image for Nathan.
79 reviews3 followers
September 5, 2023
What a fun read!

"Show, don't tell" is one of the great story-telling concepts, and that's what Jack does in this book.

It's full of engaging anecdotes and stories that show the richness of his experience and practice - all while he is teaching you the principles of how to write high-integrity narrative journalistic pieces that are compelling to read.

Sadly, I think Jack's expectation of rigorous journalistic integrity isn't common practice, but I appreciate the high standard he strove for in his own work and advocates in this book.
Profile Image for John Gastil.
Author 13 books8 followers
September 13, 2020
This book was a great place to start when translating a decade of scholarly research into a narrative. My co-author and I had to completely reconceptualize our book as a result of reading this, particularly the chapters on struture, point of view, and scene. Much of what this book had to say was echoed later by a professional editor, who reinforced key points (e.g., about pulling threads through the story) that we hadn't followed consistently in our first draft.
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