Writing Naturally: A Down-To-Earth Guide to Nature Writing

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9781555662738: Writing Naturally: A Down-To-Earth Guide to Nature Writing

Thanks to the increasing popularity of outdoor recreation, Writing Naturally fills a well-defined market niche. The book's four areas of primary emphasis include learning to read as a writer (dissecting, digesting, and learning from the work of other writers, good and bad); purposeful writing practice; tireless revision; and objective self-criticism. Petersen stresses the importance of keeping journals and authenticity of voice, and he enhances the book with well-chosen, useful, and user-friendly exercises. Writing Naturally guides writers from idea to outline to research to writing to re-writing to re-re-writing and publication.

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Review:

Most writers spend their days confined by four walls. Not so the nature writer. Nature writers, says David Petersen, author of Writing Naturally, "must spend every minute [they] can manage out there, in the most natural (wildest) possible environs." Nature writing, for Petersen's purposes, is nonfiction prose, usually in the first person, that celebrates "wild nature." That is, not pop science and not "gadget-flacking" outdoor recreation. Petersen's specificity about his subject, his infectious passion for it, and his just-plain-sensible advice make Writing Naturally utterly engaging and eminently useful. His suggestions concern, among other things, subject matter, length, and research: "Shoot for a thorough, detailed, yet tenably limited discussion of a limited topic," he says, "painted as concisely as possible without making the reader feel cramped." Petersen provides ample examples from the works of such beloved nature writers as Edward Abbey, Tim Cahill, and Terry Tempest Williams. And for those who guiltily shirk the writing exercises in books such as this, Petersen offers relief: his range from "optional" to "utterly optional." Ahhhhh. --Jane Steinberg

About the Author:

David Petersen is a writer’s writer. With a quarter-century of continuous freelancing, overlain by a dozen years as a staff magazine editor and a decade as a college writing instructor, and with hundreds of magazine pieces and eleven nonfiction books (all with nature themes, plus more than forty nonfiction educational children’s titles), this critically acclaimed author is uniquely qualified to write about his genre and craft.

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