Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction
- Binding: Hardcover
- Author: Tracy Kidder;Richard Todd
- Publish Date: 2013-01-15
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS
Good Prose is an inspiring book about writingâabout the creation of good proseâand the record of a warm and productive literary friendship. The story begins in 1973, in the offices of The Atlantic Monthly, in Boston, where a young freelance writer named Tracy Kidder came looking for an assignment. Richard Todd was the editor who encouraged him. From that article grew a lifelong association. Before long, Kidderâs The Soul of a New Machine, the first book the two worked on together, had won the Pulitzer Prize. It was a heady moment, but for Kidder and Todd it was only the beginning of an education in the art of nonfiction.
Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experienceâtheir mistakes as well as accomplishmentsâto demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about the realities of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing.
Good Proseâlike Strunk and Whiteâs The Elements of Styleâis a succinct, authoritative, and entertaining arbiter of standards in contemporary writing, offering guidance for the professional writer and the beginner alike. This wise and useful book is the perfect companion for anyone who loves to read good books and longs to write one.
Praise for Good Prose
âSmart, lucid, and entertaining.ââThe Boston Globe
âYou are in such good companyâcongenial, ironic, a bit old-schoolâthat youâre happy to follow [Kidder and Todd] where they lead you.ââThe Wall Street Journal
â[A] well-structured, to-the-point, genuinely useful, and fun-to-read guide to writing narrative nonfiction, essays, and memoir . . . Crisp, informative, and mind-expanding.ââBooklist Â
âA gem . . . The finer points of creative nonfiction are molded into an inspiring read that will affect the would-be writer as much as Anne Lamottâs Bird by Bird or Stephen Kingâs On Writing. . . . This is a must read for nonfiction writers.ââLibrary Journal
âAs approachable and applicable as any writing manual available.ââAssociated Press