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The Art of Creative Nonfiction: Writing and Selling the Literature of Reality (Wiley Books for Writers) Paperback – 27 Jan 1997

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (27 Jan. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471113565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471113560
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 456,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

A complete guide to the art and craft of creative nonfiction from one of its pioneer practitioners

The challenge of creative nonfiction is to write the truth in a style that is as accurate and informative as reportage, yet as personal, provocative, and dramatic as fiction. In this one–of–a–kind guide, award–winning author, essayist, teacher, and editor Lee Gutkind gives you concise, pointed advice on every aspect of writing and selling your work, including:

  • Guidelines for choosing provocative and salable topics
  • Smart research techniques including advice on conducting penetrating interviews and using electronic research tools
  • Tips for focusing and structuring a piece for maximum effectiveness
  • Advice on working successfully with editors and literary agents

About the Author

LEE GUTKIND is a professor in the Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh, the first school to grant an M.F.A. degree in creative nonfiction. He is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, among numerous other grants and awards. Mr. Gutkind is the author of five previous books, including Many Sleepless Nights, winner of the American Heart Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Scientific Journalism.


Inside This Book

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First Sentence
Today there are just as many poets, playwrights, and fiction writers writing creative nonfiction as there are journalists-perhaps more. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Gutkind's advice covers aspects of writing others neglect. He tells how to access your strengths, lists grant funding sources, and provides detailed illustrations of how to organize for a productive career. Learn vital tips for keeping current with your market, for assessing your competition, for deciding what voice your article or book requires, as well as, how truth figures into nonfiction writing. Gutkind includes a sample book proposal to guide your efforts, discusses pros and cons of getting a M.F.A. degree, and nuts and bolts like interviewing, researching, specializing, and focusing your writing. This book is less about selling and more about writing something that will sell.
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Format: Paperback
What I really liked about this book was how the author takes you inside the daily life of a writer, and shows the working process, whether it's behind the keyboard or travel. He allows the reader to learn the pros and cons of the publishing world and the writing life, and gives nuts and bolts advice on how to thrive as a writer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written and clear; and exemplar of what it sets out to describe. A great way to use this book is to start your Creative Nonfiction masterpiece while working your way through Gutkind's book. Recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x964682ac) out of 5 stars 22 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x966db15c) out of 5 stars If your passion is to create & sell nonfiction, read this. 12 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Gutkind's advice covers aspects of writing others neglect. He tells how to access your strengths, lists grant funding sources, and provides detailed illustrations of how to organize for a productive career. Learn vital tips for keeping current with your market, for assessing your competition, for deciding what voice your article or book requires, as well as, how truth figures into nonfiction writing. Gutkind includes a sample book proposal to guide your efforts, discusses pros and cons of getting a M.F.A. degree, and nuts and bolts like interviewing, researching, specializing, and focusing your writing. This book is less about selling and more about writing something that will sell
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x967dab1c) out of 5 stars Essential Reading for All Nonfiction Writers 9 Jun. 2000
By wendelstedt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
How often has a piece of nonfiction writing left you bored to tears with its rambling of fact after fact, a completely limp, motionless piece? Well, Gutkind has developed a structured teaching method for this genre: frame, focus and scene. Once you understand his "yellow test," your writing will vastly improve, bursting with energy and radiating the essence of life, that is, the truth with a capital "T." He lifts your head, redirecting you from gazing into your own belly button, and unveils the techniques of capturing and presenting universal themes--a focus that touches us all. This book not only shows you how to write, more importantly, it show you how to think. Buy it today--he's the godfather of the genre, creative nonfiction, and the editor and founder of the only journal devoted exclusively to the genre.
47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book reads like an outline of a book on Creative Nonfiction. A beginner might find some chapters useful or inspiring, but anyone with writing experience is likely to find it too shallow. The chapter on Immersion--one of the key methods of reporting a highly detailed, creative story--is only 8 pages long, gives a few anecdotes, but provides next to no useful information to a writer contemplating this technique. The following chapter, on interviewing, is 10 pages long and more than half of it is composed of long excerpts from other stories. You might see the _results_ of doing a good interview, but not much beyond the obvious in actually carrying out a good interview.
This book doesn't stand out for me among the large number of mediocre books aimed at beginning to intermediate nonfiction writers.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x967ebb7c) out of 5 stars Confidence Building Tool for every aspiring writer 2 Feb. 2001
By Sissalou - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Initially I was afraid to invest hard cash on this book because I want my nonfiction to be totally factual. However, my fears were unfounded. This book was well worth the investment and I recommend it to all aspiring writers of nonfiction. The book is a tremendous eye-opener. It blows the myth that nonfiction writing has to be dull. Dull does not sell. If you are writing nonfiction, you need to read this book. For one thing, the author teaches that the words "creative" and "fiction" are not synonymous. You CAN write creative nonfiction.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x966a6b40) out of 5 stars Understanding intimately how things work. 7 Dec. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A clown for Ringling Brothers, an assistant in liver and heart transplantation surgeries, a baseball umpire, a motorcyclist and a participant in psychotherapy: When it comes to having the experience necessary to write interesting essays, Lee Gutkind is ahead of the game. In his textbook "The Art of Creative Nonfiction : Writing and Selling the Literature of Reality," Gutkind uses his passion for the written word and the experiences that inspire it to assist beginning creative nonfiction writers in their quest to share life through writing.

Covered in the book's outline-reminiscent chapters are instructions on interviewing, fact checking, finding ideas, creating dialogue and keeping story files. Straying from the norm of "interesting... [and] accurate," Gutkind stresses that the most important requirement of a creative nonfiction writer is passion- "A passion for the written word, a passion for the search and discovery of knowledge, and a passion for... understand[ing] intimately how things in this world work." In the following chapters, he offers advice on what creative nonfiction is (the relation experiences, often subjective) and is not (encyclopedia truth) in a concise yet affable manner.

Peppered with brief works from other writers used as illustrations of his suggestions, "The Art of Creative Nonfiction" is a solid, friendly text for beginning writers and an excellent stepping stone into the world of writing for a career.
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