Guys, if you can only buy one book about writing, it’s gotta be THe Forest For THe Trees, duh. If you have cash for two, or a library nearby, please get yourself a copy of GOOD PROSE by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd. Todd is one of the best editors in the business (and my beloved client) and Kidder is one of the four gods of non-fiction carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. Also for an online conversation with Todd and Kidder, click here.
Three prizes for the best piece of non-fiction writing advice you’ve ever received (except WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW) and win a copy of Good Prose. As always, I am the judge, unless I can convince Kidder and Todd to judge. That would be cool.
“Legendary literary journalist Kidder and his longtime editor trade war stories and advice for the ambitious nonfiction writer . . . an entertaining handbook on matters of reporting (do lots of it, much more than you think you need) and style (simpler is better) . . . Other writing guides have more nuts-and-bolts advice, but few combine the verve and plainspokenness of this book, which exemplifies its title.”—Kirkus Reviews(starred review)
“A comprehensive, practical look at the best practices of professional nonfiction writers and editors . . . anecdotes and close readings throughout the text are an excellent resource for would-be writers of any prose genre.”—Publishers Weekly
“[Kidder and Todd] share their dedication to“good prose” and expertise in creating it with warmth, zest, and wit in this well-structured, to-the-point, genuinely useful, and fun-to-read guide to writing narrative nonfiction, essays, and memoir … [they] also offer some of the most lucid, specific, and tested guidance available about technical essentials, from determining what makes a good nonfiction story to choosing a point of view to achieving accuracy and clarity … Kidder and Todd’s book about strong writing is crisp, informative, and mind-expanding.”—Booklist
“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
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