From serious social commentary to truffle-hunting dogs, nonfiction movies are as vibrant and vital as ever. This is actually not a self-help or nonfiction book, but the book that resonates for me is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Her previous book, Cure, hit the New York Times best-seller hardcover nonfiction and science lists. I was writing Lorrie Moore knock-off short stories before I switched to nonfiction. Ten more nonfiction books, including the stunning memoir Leaving Birmingham , followed it.
Now that we have analyzed a creative nonfiction essay together, try your own hand at this process. With each of the following essays, I have included Questions for Consideration to help guide you to some of the key elements that generate particular effects and meanings. Once you have observed how these works make meaning, you might choose one on which to formulate a perspective and then compose a written argument making a case for that perspective. In fact, it was originally offered as a lecture in for the National Academy of Sciences. As you read the work in its written form at calteches. The essays presented in this chapter reveal the potential power of creative nonfiction.
Study the specific format you want to emulate. Linger over 50 lovelorn stories in Modern Love , edited by Daniel Jones. Memorize Daphne Merkin. Write about your obsessions.
An analysis of a piece of nonfiction can identify areas where research could be improved. You probably know this, but you may not know it can be easy to accidentally commit. This is particularly a danger when analyzing nonfiction, since the tone, style and topic of the work could be the same. It may be helpful to structure your essay by assigning different sections of it to different pieces of evidence. While you are providing supporting evidence, you may find it helpful to summarize parts of the text you are critiquing; just be sure not to mirror the text.