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The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writingby Francis Flaherty
Synopses & Reviews
“A splendid book for journalists (new or old), fiction writers, essayists, and critics. But it could also be of great use to the intelligent common reader, the man or woman who wonders why its impossible to finish reading certain stories and why others carry the reader in a vivid rush to the end.”
In the spirit of Strunk and Whites classic The Elements of Style, comes The Elements of Story, by Francis Flaherty, longtime story editor at The New York Times. A brilliant blend of memoir and how-to, The Elements of Story offers more than 50 principles that emphasize storytelling aspects rather than simply the mechanics of writing—a relentlessly entertaining, totally accessible writing guide for the novice and the professional alike.
Most writing books dwell on common issues of style and grammar. Yet most writers also confront complex problems of story design. This fifty-rule guide by Francis Flaherty, a New York Times editor, offers much-needed solutions and sage advice to address these concerns.
"Sometimes, say things sideways," Flaherty writes. "The reader will be grateful." "White is whitest on black," he observes. "Let contrast work for you." Through such hard-won, story-level insights, sprinkled with examples from real stories and leavened with a good dose of newsroom memoir, The Elements of Story merits a spot on every writer's shelf.
About the Author
Francis Flaherty has worked for the past 16 years at The New York Times, most recently as deputy editor of the City Section. He has written for Harper's, the Atlantic, Commonwealand the Progressive, and teaches journalism at New York University. Flaherty holds a B.A. from Harvard College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn, New York.
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