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Good Prose The Art of Nonfiction

ISBN-10: 0812982150
ISBN-13: 9780812982152
Edition: 2013
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Description: Good Prose is an inspiring book about writing—about the creation of good prose—and the record of a warm and productive literary friendship. The story begins in 1973, in the offices of The Atlantic Monthly, in Boston, where a young freelance writer  More...

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Book details

List price: $18.00
Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 8/27/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224
Size: 5.25" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.638
Language: English

Good Prose is an inspiring book about writing—about the creation of good prose—and the record of a warm and productive literary friendship. The story begins in 1973, in the offices of The Atlantic Monthly, in Boston, where a young freelance writer named Tracy Kidder came looking for an assignment. Richard Todd was the editor who encouraged him. From that article grew a lifelong association. Before long, Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine, the first book the two worked on together, had won the Pulitzer Prize. It was a heady moment, but for Kidder and Todd it was only the beginning of an education in the art of nonfiction. Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experience—their mistakes as well as accomplishments—to demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about the realities of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing. Good Prose—like Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style—is a succinct, authoritative, and entertaining arbiter of standards in contemporary writing, offering guidance for the professional writer and the beginner alike. This wise and useful book is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to read good books and longs to write one.Praise for Good Prose “Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction takes us into the back room behind the shop, where strong, effective, even beautiful sentences are crafted. Tracy Kidder and his longtime editor, Richard Todd, offer lots of useful advice, and, still more, they offer insight into the painstaking collaboration, thoughtfulness, and hard work that create the masterful illusion of effortless clarity.”—Stephen Greenblatt, author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern“Good Prose offers consummate guidance from one of our finest writers and his longtime editor. Explaining that ‘the techniques of fiction never belonged exclusively to fiction,’ Kidder and Todd make a persuasive case that ‘no techniques of storytelling are prohibited to the nonfiction writer, only the attempt to pass off invention as facts.’ Writers of all stripes, from fledgling journalists to essayists of the highest rank, stand to benefit from this engrossing manual.”—Jon Krakauer, author of Into the Wild “What a pleasure to read a book about good prose written in such good prose! It will make many of its readers better writers (though none as good as Tracy Kidder, who sets an impossible standard), and it will make all of them wish they could hire Richard Todd to work his editorial magic on their words.”—Anne Fadiman, author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

Tracy Kidder was educated at the University of Iowa and Harvard University. He served in the US Army in Vietnam. Kidder has garnered numerous literary awards including the Pulitzer Prize in General Non-Fiction and the National Book Award for General Nonfiction both in 1982. He has also been honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, 1990 and the Christopher Award, 1990. His publications include numerous nonfiction articles and short fiction for The Atlantic and other periodicals. Non-Fiction books include The Road to Yuba City, Doubleday, 1974; The Soul of a New Machine, Atlantic Monthly-Little Brown, 1981 for which he won a Pulitzer and a National Book Award; House, Houghton Mifflin, 1985; Old Friends, Houghton Mifflin, 1993; Home Town, Random House, 1999; Mountains Beyond Mountains, Random House, 2003; My Detachment, Random House, 2005; Strength in What Remains, Random House, 2009.

Introduction
Beginnings
Narratives
Story
Point of View
Characters
Structure
Memoirs
Essays
Beyond Accuracy
Fact
Beyond Fact
The Problem of Style
Journalese
The New Vernacular
Institutionalese
Propaganda
Art and Commerce
Being Edited and Editing
Being Edited
Editing
Notes on Usage
Writing Guides and References
Acknowledgments
Index

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