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Writing Creative Nonfiction

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Experience the power and the promise of working in today' most exciting literary form: Creative Nonfiction"Writing Creative Nonfiction" presents more than thirty essays examining every key element of the craft, from researching ideas and structuring the story, to reportage and personal reflection. You'll learn from some of today's top creative nonfiction writers, including ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published May 10th 2001 by Writer's Digest Books (first published April 18th 2001)
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Kristin Boldon
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, own, writing, memoir
I think why and how you read this book are going to be key to getting the most out of it. It's a textbook, not a nonfiction reader. If you're not looking to learn about writing nonfiction, then this isn't the book for you; check out the current edition of Best American Essays instead. Also, this is a survey book. It includes information on writing memoir, biography, shorter essays and longer works. If you want more information on writing something specific, like biography, then you can follow th ...more
Tabitha Blankenbiller
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
It took me longer than I’d hoped, but I finally finished the lengthy Writing Creative Nonfiction collection. The book is divided into two sections: essays dedicated to the craft of writing, and examples of essays and short stories written by authors who personify these skills. The mix of inspiration and instruction make this a good resource for new MFA students (like myself).

It was fascinating to see Brenda Miller’s take on the braided essay in A Braided Heart: Shaping the Lyric Essay. In it she
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
book started awfully. terribly slow pace, and the feeling like she was teaching fifth graders. if i wasn't able to speed up to 1.25x, i probably would have quit very early on. i also probably would have gotten fed up with such a basic treatment if this wasn't mostly all new material to me. author's stumbles reveal she is reading from a script. her inflection patterns are repetitious, and she has this annoying habit of ending her sentences with "isn't it?" or "don't you?" much too often. i did le ...more
Linda Bakst
May 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: on-writing
This book was very helpful - the essays contained a lot of food for thought on writing. It also included examples of essays that were really interesting. It took a long while to get through, but it isn't the kind of book that you just sit down and read. It lends itself to dipping into it, setting it aside and then coming back to it. ...more
Daniel Klawitter
Jun 29, 2017 rated it liked it
From one of the essays:

"I write knowing words always fall short. I write knowing I can be killed by my own words, stabbed by syntax, crucified by both understanding and misunderstanding." -Terry Tempest Williams.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Only read the first few chapters. The book wasn't for me. If you are into essays from different authors then this is a good book for you. ...more
Lynn Davidman
Apr 20, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This book is inspiring. It helps people who are trying to write creative nonfiction by providing multiple creative and concrete ideas for how to proceed on this new journey.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was not an easily digested book. SO many accomplished writers had so much perspective to offer on everything about the genre. I definitely will consult this book for years to come.
Zachary Guthrie
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
I contend the book brought a sense of psychological experience as opposed to reality. The conflict in the auhtor's minds (in most of the pieces) reflected a perception of reality instead of reality itself. This book's reading reflect this concept. One author even wrote a piece describing his own body--I strongly recommend not reading that particular piece thought. Too much detail.

Throughout the book, I found some ideas to be brash, controversial, and gratuitious at times. However, some of the o
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfic
Half how-to essays and half anthology of creative nonfiction, this had some worthy material in it, even though I don't aspire to the exact sort of creative nonfiction the writers had in mind. I found Phillip Lopate's "Writing Personal Essays: on the Necessity of Turning Yourself into a Character" particulatly helpful, as was the insight of "The Loneliness of the Long-distance Writer" by Robin Hemley (I will be watchful for the 100-page hump in the future). I enjoyed Annie Dillard's "Flying in th ...more
John Maberry
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: New writers, especially of memoirs and other forms of creative nonfiction
Recommended to John by: Joann Glenn
Shelves: on-writing
This book may not be 100% comprehensive (a tad redundant, perhaps), but if there is any other one out there that has more to offer on addressing the varieties of style, structure, form and the creative nonfiction process, I haven't seen it. Being new to the business in 2003 when I began working on Waiting for Westmoreland in earnest, I found the instuctions and insights illuminating, inspiring and confusing all at once. How to choose?! I felt like Alice on her journey after the rabbit. Still, it ...more
John Liber
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it

With essays the likes of "On the Necessity of Turning Oneself Into a Character", "Researching Your Own Life", and "Taking Yourself Out of the Story", this is a good read if you're at all interested in writing about your life. The essays are are also followed by exercises.
Yvonne Shine
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: writers, students interested in writing
Interesting anthology of creative nonfiction; added to my library.
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cnf
I couldn't really get into it--I read the Gutkind essay and skimmed the rest--mainly because I just have too much stuff to read right now and this was due back to the library. ...more
Jackie Day
Jun 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Learned way more than I thought I would. Now... finding time to apply?
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing
Finally finished. Enjoyed the exercises. Easy reading. Worthwhile for any non fiction writer. I do not know enough about writing to be able to give a more well thought out critique.
Holli B
Sep 21, 2007 rated it it was ok
May 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This anthology has a good mix of practical essays, like the one about legal matters particular to nonfiction writers, and artsy creative pieces. Represents the genre pretty well.
Aug 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Good. Essays by a dozen different writers. Also exercises.
May 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
Some of the craft essays were useful, but overall the extreme emphasis on socal/political essays rendered the book largely irrelevant to the kind of work I prefer to read and write.
Aug 28, 2008 rated it liked it
I only read the essays on topics that interest me so can't review the whole book...it's a big enough collection to sift through for what you need. Well-edited, relevant, strong contributors. ...more
Pauline Youd
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting examples. Good instruction.
Larry Mingione
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
The authors of the essays in this book also contributed a piece of nonfiction to the volume. You can see if they follow their own advice!
Rui Simas
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Kaye Linden
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May 23, 2015
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Carolyn Forché was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1950. She studied at Michigan State University and earned an MFA from Bowling Green State University. Forché is the author of four books of poetry: Blue Hour (HarperCollins, 2004); The Angel of History (1994), which received the Los Angeles Times Book Award; The Country Between Us (1982), which received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di C ...more

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