Writing a Book That Makes a Difference

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9781884910449: Writing a Book That Makes a Difference
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Why did Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, a memoir of his poverty-stricken childhood, touch millions? Why did John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle incite social change and become literary classics? Why did Sebastian Yunger's real-life adventure A Perfect Storm leap onto the bestseller list? In this book, Philip Gerard analyzes books that made a difference-fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary-distilling out the elusive ingredients that make a work memorable, one that changes our minds and our lives. Beginning with the importance of choosing powerful subjects and themes, Gerard encourages writers to explore what is closest to their hearts. He then presents dozens of practical storytelling strategies that engage readers and move them- to tears and laughter, or to action. As in his much-praised Creative Nonfiction, Gerard's instruction is always accessible and a pleasure to read. Anyone who dreams of writing a book that makes a difference will come away with a clear understanding of what it takes to succeed.

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Review:

There are countless would-be authors out there who would be thrilled to write a book, any book. Writing a Book That Makes a Difference is not for them. It is for those writers ready to tackle what its author, Philip Gerard, calls the Big Book, "the book that will take the best that is in [them] and every bit of craft [they] can muster." Think The Grapes of Wrath, Angela's Ashes, The Perfect Storm. Those with ambitions to write a book that will change their lives and the lives of their readers will find Gerard a wise companion, with guidance on choosing and researching your subject, discovering your themes, and building your book, be it fiction or nonfiction. Respect your subject, your material, yourself, and your reader, Gerard urges. Work with integrity, and don't let your experiences (or lack thereof) restrict you. According to Gerard, "No subject is off limits. To any writer. Ever." --Jane Steinberg

About the Author:

Philip Gerard is the author of three novels, most recently Desert Kill, and a memoir, Brilliant Passage. He is also the author of Creative Nonfiction, published by Story Press. His fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in numerous magazines, and his radio essays are heard regularly on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. He is the director of the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

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