By Jack Hart
University of Chicago Press, $15.00, 266 pages

Storycraft is the ultimate how-to manual for writing narrative nonfiction from a veteran in the field. Jack Hart, former long-time editor at the Oregonian, covers everything writer, reporters, journalists, editors and readers need to know about the genre in a straightforward, teacher-to-student manner. He discusses all aspects of story making, including character, scene, action and dialogue. He also explains the different types of nonfiction narratives, such as story narrative, explanatory narrative, vignette and personal essay. In addition, he talks about the ethics involved in writing such pieces.

“Ultimately, the common ingredient in all great storytelling is the love of the story itself.”

This is an authoritative resource jammed with concrete writing advice that is easy to implement, logical and fully supported with helpful examples. The text exposes Hart’s voice brilliantly and speaks in second person. Everything about this book screams deceptively simple – the ideas it contains, if used, will completely overhaul the reader’s writing. This is not a harsh critique of beginning writers, though. Despite Hart’s impressive credentials and background, he writes with an understanding and sincerity that will appeal to novices and pros alike. There is no condescension or pompousness. For serious writers, Storycraft should be as necessary as a pen.

Reviewed by Andrea Klein

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