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11 practical or unusual books for professional – and aspiring – writers

Here are 11 useful titles for anyone hoping to make a living through the written word.

4. "Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction," by Jack Hart

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Storycraft is a practical guide and useful overview to narrative journalism or creative nonfiction—that is, the kind of writing that often appears in magazines like The New Yorker or even Rolling Stone. In these magazines, the writer sometimes inserts herself into the story, providing personal thoughts, impressions, and anecdotes to bolster other evidence and claims about characters. Most importantly, the book provides useful information that traditional journalists often haven’t picked up: How to craft and sustain plot and story and recreate plausible, complex characters without embellishing or misrepresenting the truth. As it turns out, the craft bears resemblance to fiction-writing, but involves a lot more fact-checking and research.

The book shouldn’t be read as the final word on narrative nonfiction. It contains some overly simplistic advice influenced by the author’s preference for “happy endings,” but it’s a great starting point.

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