The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing (Paperback)

The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing By Francis Flaherty Cover Image
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“A splendid book for journalists (new or old), fiction writers, essayists, and critics. But it could also be of great use to the intelligent common reader, the man or woman who wonders why it’s impossible to finish reading certain stories and why others carry the reader in a vivid rush to the end.”
—Pete Hamill, author of A Drinking Life


In the spirit of Strunk and White’s classic The Elements of Style, comes The Elements of Story, by Francis Flaherty, longtime story editor at The New York Times. A brilliant blend of memoir and how-to, The Elements of Story offers more than 50 principles that emphasize storytelling aspects rather than simply the mechanics of writing—a relentlessly entertaining, totally accessible writing guide for the novice and the professional alike.

About the Author

Francis Flaherty has worked for more than seventeen years at The New York Times. He has written for Harper's, Atlantic Monthly, Commonweal, and The Progressive and teaches journalism at NYU. He lives with his wife and two children in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise For…

“Frank Flaherty’s The Elements of Story is a model of good sense, a clear, well-lighted path through the jungle of nonfiction narrative. It represents so much accrued wisdom that even veteran writers will want to keep it on hand, and it’s fun to read, too.” — Luc Sante, author of Low Life

“Flaherty’s book will be the classic yardstick for how to grab readers and not let go until they see and hear and think exactly what the author has seen, heard, and thought.” — Andre Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name

“Ailing writers, not to worry. There is a Story Doctor in the house. His name is Frank Flaherty, and his powerful medicine is on every page of The Elements of Story. It belongs on your shelf right there next to that other Elements book.” — Roy Peter Clark, author of “Writing Tools”

“Frank Flaherty has found the perfect voice to guide writers in creating muscular yet nimble prose. He’s encouraging and friendly (exuberant, even!), assured and wry. A delight to read, The Elements of Story makes me itch to write.” — Elizabeth Royte, author of ''Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash'' and ''Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It.''

“A virtual Merck Manual for story doctors, filled with insightful diagnoses and effective prescriptions.” — William G. Connolly, co-author of The New York Times Style Manual of Style and Usage

“Francis Flaherty has turned his love of writing into a book that will help journalists produce nonfiction that provides life enriching articles that can hold their own against the most imaginative fiction.” — Bill Kovach, former managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and author of The Elements of Journalism

“Frank Flaherty’s writing guide is fluid, fun and filled with brilliant advice for anybody who wants to improve their work, break into this country’s top newspapers or get a glimpse into an editor’s mind.” — Susan Shapiro, author of Only As Good As Your Word: Writing Lessons from my Favorite Literary Gurus

Product Details
ISBN: 9780061689154
ISBN-10: 0061689157
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: September 7th, 2010
Pages: 320
Language: English