Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Finding the Heart of Nonfiction

Sharing a few highlights from Finding the Heart of Nonfiction.

If students are writing a "research report" or any informative writing, they must figure out how to transfer knowledge so readers can grasp, understand, and even experience the information (Heart).


The passions of the writer must come through to support the wonder and awe of the reader (Heart). 

Humanity and warmth are the essence of good nonfiction.  Do the words sound like they were written by an author?  Does the text have a voice?  Do the words invite the reader in?  do they make the reader feel passionate about or interested in a topic that she didn't care about before? (Heart)

Find the best writers in the fields that interest you and read their work aloud.  Get their voice and their taster into your ear- their attitude toward language (Heart).

Similarly, when I write nonfiction I try to communicate ideas, information, and facts by painting images with words- scenes that the reader can see in his mind, scenes that show rather than tell information (Heart).

No matter what the subgenre, a nonfiction writer's goal is to help the reader experience what he is describing.  Rick Bragg, a journalist for the New york Times, gives his advice to young writers:  "I tell people to always be looking.  I know that sounds a little absurd, but you just keep your eyes open, soak in how something smells or tastes or sounds (Heart)."

The doorway into a writer's experience is through the physical world.  Nonfiction writers use sensory and descriptive words that can make the reader see, touch, hear, smell and even taste (Heart).