voice and vision a guide to writing history and other serious nonfiction

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Ngày đăng: 09/05/2014, 13:09

[...]... and make sure that what looks securely lashed at camp won’t shake apart on the trail Since each choice demands others, writing must rely on an extra dose of craft, and on what can only be called art That’s what makes narrative out of facts, drama out of data, and history out of dates and artifacts chapter 2 Art and Craft In which we distinguish between the art of writing and the craft of writing and. .. can carry the particular burden assigned to them but can’t propagate They fail to become a breeding Â� genre Like software templates, however, the Â� genres and formu- Art and Craftâ•… 15 las can be tweaked Every part can be modiÂ� fied, and to be an effective writer you will need to reexamine those parts and decide where and how the particular material at hand might demand alterations to the pattern... structure, voice, character, framing, narrative arc, and the like—is what I understand to be the literary task of serious nonfiction You come to resemble the packer who must find a way to stuff hunting gear into panniers fashioned for bread loaves, or to discard those containers altogether and heap the goods around a frame in ways that won’t unbalance or overburden a burro, or to replace that burro with a mule,... of a cousin who researched the matter that the husband, our great-Â� great-Â� great-Â� great-Â� great-Â� grandfather, “appears in the standard printed histories of Arkansas as ‘Old Ben Hardin, the hero of so many Indian wars.’” Elizabeth Scott Hardin had bright blue eyes and sick headaches The White River on which she lived was the same White River on which, a century and a half later, James McDougal... loveliness or ostentation, it is what allows the creature to fly, to attract mates, to hide from predators, to be what it is Those feathers, moreover, are only as good as the wings they fit to, and the beak and claws to which they are indirectly joined, and all the rest The parts have to connect; they have to work as a whole Getting them together is what makes good writing So what writing Â� isn’t “stylish”... immutable, as distinct from nonfiction s fashions, which change with cultural fads and aesthetic taste There are only two rules speÂ� cific to nonfiction, and a raft of€ recommendations that pertain to writing overall The rules are nonnegotiable: you can’t make anything up, and you can’t leave out something that really matters—meaning something that, if included, would alter our fundamental understanding... obtain in a novelist’s world Far better to use literary techniques, guided by aesthetics, to shape a text that can absorb new revelations or accommodate varied conclusions Here again, the choice between a “good” story and a “right” one is false, a chasm that exists only where literary fancy or skill is too feeble to leap over its own shadow There are always ways to bridge the gap There are, as Star... speaking of a prose that often gets left behind Fiction has guidebooks galore; journalism has shelves stocked with manuals; and certain hybrids such as creative nonfiction or New Journalism have evolved standards, aesthetics, and jusÂ� caÂ� tifiÂ� tions for how to transfer the dominant modes of fiction to topics in nonfiction But history and other seÂ� rious nonfiction have no such guides Nonfiction apart... You need to decide such elements as voice, charÂ� acter, plot, setting, rhythm, tone, and the way to show rather€than tell your story, or evoke as well as logically explain a character or event, or dramatize an argument or idea rather than declaim it Scenes are reÂ� a � creÂ� ted Understanding Â� comes, as with a painting, through the artistry and craft of the text, not solely from the data or evidence... of writing nonfiction But another consideration also argues the case The nature of documentation, and of evidence generally, pleads for a literary pragmatism because there is always the possibility that you have overlooked a vital item or that fresh data will arise (This is why erecting a design out of the latest sciÂ� tific evidence is dangerous: data are enÂ� like so much sand ready to be swept away . good home, Joyce that it said what it needed to (and avoided saying what it didn’t), and Maria that voice ac tually met vision on the page and that I would be able to talk with others, not just.
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