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Natural Narratives

By Story Craft February 16, 2007

[Editor’s Note: These comments are adapted from a talk given by Michael Pollan at the 2006 Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.] Book by book, project by project, it’s usually hard to say who you are as a writer or what … Read more

14 Tips for Building Character

By Story Craft June 1, 2005

This essay is adapted from Rick Meyer’s notes for a talk at the 2005 Nieman Narrative Editors’ Seminar. Rick’s presentation was paired with Laurie Hertzel’s talk on scenes. We probably ought to declare something right away, so no one … Read more

Building Character: A Checklist

By Story Craft October 15, 2004

Newspaper folks talk a lot about getting people into stories. But all too often that means trotting out direct quotes from a variety of sources. True characterization taps an array of techniques that novelists … Read more

Tips for Reporters

By Story Craft March 1, 2002

Note: The following is an edited transcript of a talk by Jim Collins at the 2001 Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism. It was published in the Spring 2002 issue of Nieman Reports. These are things I have learned from my … Read more

The Art of the Short Story

By Story Craft January 1, 1997

“It wasn’t by accident,” wrote Hemingway, “that the Gettysburg Address was short.” His 1932 letter to his editor, Maxwell Perkins, went on to lament every writer’s tendency to write too long, drifting beyond the story’s natural focus. He … Read more

Breakable Rules for Literary Journalists

By Story Craft January 1, 1995

When writers, readers, English teachers, librarians, bookstore people, editors, and reviewers discuss extended digressive narrative nonfiction these days, they’re fairly likely to call it literary journalism. The previous term in circulation was Tom Wolfe’s contentious “New Journalism.” Coined in the … Read more