This book was a wonderful read for me at this time in my development as a writer. It is a collection of creative non-fiction articles and long-form pieces, all very good examples of what this genre of writing is capable of. The introduction is a collection of very well-written and practical pieces of advice for aspiring writers, the kind that seem to have required the lives and careers of many writers to learn and appreciate.
Written by Annie Dillard, this section was uncannily well-suited to a university student studying writing and having studied it for a few years already. ‘Don’t use passive verb constructions,’ ‘Always locate the reader in time and space,’ ‘If something in your narrative or poem is important, give it proportional space.’ These pieces of advice are simple enough to grasp, but are strategies one only incorporates after having written for a while already. These complimentary strategies assisted my writing profoundly after reading the book earlier this year, during a period where I felt my writing had stagnated. Small conceptual and structural improvements benefitted my writing immensely, and I continue to read over the introduction of the book regularly to improve my writing with these conceptual and structural strategies.
As for the creative non-fiction, it is a genre I find profoundly subjectively relevant to my own skill set as a writer. Marrying creative writing with the information organization that is the hallmark of traditional journalism in my experience is a skill I am eager to develop, and something this book contributes to by exposing me to successful and notable examples of creative non-fiction.
Reference: In Fact; the Best of creative non-fiction by Lee Gutkind. W. W. Norton & Company. 1987