Present Information in a Useful Order

The nonfiction equivalent to plot and structure is Presentation and Flow. The events of your story, or the information in prescriptive nonfiction, should be like links in a chain—connected and in the right order. If you haven’t already, get the Elements of Nonfiction Editing Checklist As much as possible, present …

Avoid Making Real People One-Dimensional

A two-sided hazard of narrative nonfiction—whether you’re writing about your own life or someone else’s—is of making the good guys impossibly perfect and the bad guys impossibly evil. Novelists face the same problem, of course, but in nonfiction the problem is magnified because you’re writing about real human beings. Creating …

Populate Your Book with Engaging People

We’ve talked about what sort of nonfiction you may be writing and why it’s important to use stories to make your point. Now we’re ready to dig into the Nonfiction Checklist. The first category, Personality, is equivalent to Character in fiction. The type of nonfiction you’re writing will determine whether …

Leverage the Power of Story

In fiction writing, we often say “story is king.” Remember how I define that: Character + Plot = Story To make your nonfiction engaging, use stories either on a small scale, like anecdotes, or on a large scale, as in a memoir. A story may be brief, like Jesus’ parable …

Identify Your Nonfiction Genre

Before we can start editing our nonfiction, we need to know what kind of nonfiction we’re dealing with so we can meet the expectations of the genre. In fiction editing, we have to keep in mind, for example, the different needs of contemporary women’s fiction compared to futuristic science fiction. …

How to Edit Your Nonfiction Book

I spent nearly a year discussing the Elements of Fiction, with 92 posts altogether on the topic. Those of you who are writing nonfiction may have wondered when I was going to get to you. As it happens, I’m teaching Edit Like a Pro: Elements of Nonfiction at the Speak …

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