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Lunch » Tags » Book » Reviews » The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing » User review

A field guide to words

  • Sep 5, 2009
Rating:
+3
. . . and how to use them to tell true stories. The title of Flaherty's guide to nonfiction writing plays on Strunk and Whites The Elements of Style Illustrated which famously captured the essence of writing with precision in a very few words. Flaherty's "Elements" take a few more words to document because he is dealing with bigger subjects--story themes, characters, plot, and action that make up the whole story for non-fction writers, who for Flaherty are newpaper journalists, but the principles would apply to any style, length, and medium of nonfiction.

The book can be read quickly and profitably end to end, but will find better use on a working writer's bookshelf next to the Strunk and White's. I'd be surprised if Journalism schools (sorry-- "Communications" schools in this mediagnostic era) don't add this small gem as required reading for every student.

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About the reviewer
Todd Stockslager ()
Ranked #36
I love reading and writing about what I have read, making the connections and marking the comparisons and contrasts. God has given man the amazing power to invent language and the means to record it which … more
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“Frank Flaherty’s The Elements of Story is a model of good sense, a clear, well-lighted path through the jungle of nonfiction narrative. It represents so much accrued wisdom that even veteran writers will want to keep it on hand, and it’s fun to read, too.” (Luc Sante, author of Low Life )

“Frank Flaherty has found the perfect voice to guide writers in creating muscular yet nimble prose. He’s encouraging and friendly (exuberant, even!), assured and wry. A delight to read, The Elements of Story makes me itch to write.” (Elizabeth Royte, author of ''Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash'' and ''Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It.'' )

“A virtual Merck Manual for story doctors, filled with insightful diagnoses and effective prescriptions.” (William G. Connolly, co-author of The New York Times Style Manual of Style and Usage )

“Ailing writers, not to worry. There is a Story Doctor in the house. His name is Frank Flaherty, and his powerful medicine is on every page of The Elements of Story. It belongs on your shelf right there next to that other Elements book.” (Roy Peter Clark, author of “Writing Tools” )

“Francis Flaherty has turned his love of writing into a book that will help journalists produce nonfiction that provides life enriching articles that can hold their own against the most imaginative fiction.” (Bill Kovach, former managing editor of The ...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0061689149
ISBN-13: 978-0061689147
Author: Francis Flaherty
Publisher: Harper

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