Friday, May 25, 2012

Book Review: A Writer’s Guide to Nonfiction

A Writer’s Guide to Nonfiction, 225 pages, by Elizabeth Lyon is another reference book that I have tabbed, dog-eared, and highlighted. It really resonates with my engineer’s (left) brain, and may be even more useful tocreative right-brain writers.  About 75% of it discusses the mechanics and provides examples of how to organize and write a nonfiction book.  The balance covers marketing and, “What’s next.”   There are many books on basic composition, how to write good sentences and paragraphs; and books for the fiction writer on creating plots and developing characters. This book guides the nonfiction writer on the path of organizing their sentences and paragraphs into cohesive ideas and concepts.  The following chapters are excellent examples:
·         1 - “What Do I Want to Say?” discusses purpose, promise, and making a difference.  This chapter turns your nebulous idea into a concrete mission.
·          5 – “How Do I Begin?” Every journey begins with a single step, and that step is often the hardest. This chapter provides 15 types of lead sentences that can be used individually or in combination to set the tone of your book and start you (and the reader) on a fulfilling journey.
·         6 – “How Do I Develop the Middle?” This chapter discusses 11 methods of organization you can use to maintain the momentum and clarity of your lead.
·         8 through 11- “Writing About… People,...Ideas, …Things,…Places” respectively, provide approaches unique to writing about these subjects.
One of this book's key strengths is that you can find, study, and apply the sections that align with your project and skip or browse the others.  If you have an idea or have started a book or essay but are having difficulty getting traction and making progress, this book may be the answer.

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