The book cover

Book Review - Writing For Story

By Sue Barthelow

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   Title:     Writing For Story – Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by a Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner
ISBN 0-452-27295-5
     Author:   Jon Franklin (visit his site)
     Publishers:   Atheneum, 1986; Plume, 1994

Jon Franklin shares his knowledge of story-writing in this well-crafted book. Although the book focuses on the nonfiction feature story, its techniques work for fiction stories as well.

As a beginning writer, Mr. Franklin was unwilling to accept the often-voiced comments that successful writers possess natural talent. Desperately wanting to overcome his perceived lack of natural talent, he analyzed the short story craft. He then applied the results of his analysis to his nonfiction writing. His success with this new style won him the first Pulitzer Prize awarded for feature writing. That was in 1979. In 1985, he went on to win a second Pulitzer Prize, establishing another new category, explanatory journalism. Like a philanthropist, Mr. Franklin gifts his techniques in “Writing For Story”.

Mr. Franklin starts with two short nonfiction stories that he uses as canvases for painting his techniques. He describes the essential elements of a salable story and provides a fundamental structure for building and supporting the story. After teaching you how to transpose your story idea into rough copy, he shows you how to “polish” your rough copy until it shines. This is one of the few books that gives you a full set of tools that help you transition from your story idea to your masterpiece. After studying this easy-to-understand and fun-to-read book, you'll be left enthused and eager to apply its techniques.

© 2006 Sue Barthelow. All rights reserved.