Masterful Writing: Nonfiction Pieces That Rock

Wednesday, February 06, 2013
I write nonfiction nearly every day. I'm a journalism teacher, after all, and I freelance for regional publications. When I grab a book, I usually read fiction because, well, I am not exactly sure why. Maybe I want a break from reality. Maybe I want to sink my teeth into a juicy mystery. Maybe I need a break from what I write.

But lately, I catch myself reading more and more nonfiction, studying stories and what does or does not make each article click.

My research (scientific it isn't) finds that the best nonfiction storytelling (no, that is not an oxymoron) weaves traditional storytelling devices with facts and figures, evidence and experts. It takes readers on a journey. It breaks boundaries.

It leaves readers thirsting for more.

I'm also partial to multiple pieces on this list featured on Byliner. It features rich examples of what's hot in nonfiction writing craft. I've been known to read one of these gems for pleasure and then reread it, dissect it, and find adaptable qualities to bring to my writing repertoire.

What elements of nonfiction capture your attention?

by LuAnn Schindler. Read more of her work at her website.


Anonymous said...

LuAnn, you bring up a topic near n' dear to my heart. I also have been reading a lot of non-fiction, all kinds, and trying to dissect what makes it work. Like you, I think there are strong elements of story-telling in good non-fiction. I also think there is, at least in the pieces I most enjoy, a very personal voice inviting me to join the conversation.

I think of Anna Quindlen, Michael Perry, Anne Lamott, as good examples.

Thanks for the website mention. I'm going to check it out.

Margo Dill said...

I love anecdotes near the beginning of an article. I think personal stories of the author or someone she/he knows before going into facts, figures, and here's what we should do bring a human face to the problem or issue or experience we are reading about. I am always drawn into an article that mixes anecdotes with facts/figures.

Angela Mackintosh said...

That is a fantastic list at Byliner. I agree with you all--great storytelling, narrative, and voice. Most of all, I appreciate nonfiction that is entertaining!

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