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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Talese in August 'Writer's Digest'

I read so you don't have to.

Or at least, so you don't have to slog through magazines until you hit upon something that's related to narrative nonfiction.

In the August issue of Writer's Digest, you can read an interview with Gay Talese, some exercises to spark creativity, a good piece by Nancy Kress on revising (strong verbs! strong nouns! etc.), and a skinny rehash of why two writers opted for memoirs (Kathryn Harrison, The Kiss; Koren Zailckas, Smashed). And, oh yeah, a piece about promoting your own book--why and how.

Notable in the Talese article is that even though "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" has been called the best piece ever run in Esquire, Talese can't get pieces like that published anywhere any more--they're too long, even for The New Yorker.

Talese thinks the hulabaloo over James Frey (which his wife published) will improve the market for nonfiction: "They'll see that if you lie like he did, you're going to get caught."

As for the term "creative nonfiction," Talese says,
What a Writer's Life [his new book] really represents to writers interested in the technicality of writing is how creative it can be to organize material in a certain way. . . . What I've always had is a creative imagination in knowing how to present carefully researched material. . . . Serious writers of nonfiction should never have the option of lying to the reader, falsifying the facts to make them more interesting; taking leaps of imagination; or creating character composites.

category: resources


Anonymous Taryn said...

Interesting take on Frey for sure.

Just heard this morning about a humorous song by Christine Lavin that was inspired by Frey. You can listen to it here:

2:14 PM  
Blogger Lois said...

Thanks for the link! (& the laugh)

10:36 AM  
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7:36 PM  
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11:00 PM  

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