Basically, it's fact-based storytelling that makes people want to keep reading.Forms of creative nonfiction include literary journalism, the memoir, the lyric essay, the prose poem, and the nonfiction short.
Nieman Narrative Conference Three threats to narrative journalism that New York Times editor Bill Killer is not buying (Beth Macy, 4-27-10, reporting on Keller's talk at Nieman Narrative conference) Tips from Nieman Narrative: What Works for Readers, Editors & Sources (Bill Kirtz, Poynter) Nieman Narrations: Tips and Tales from Top Storytellers (Bill Kirtz, Poynter, 3-17-08) Tips and Tales from Some of the Best in the Business (Bll Kirtz on Nieman 2006, 11-20-06, updated 3-3-11) Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference(Grapevine, Texas, July) As experienced by Sam Eifling and described in I Heard It While in Grapevine (Columbia Journalism Review, 7-28-09) Mark Bowden on the value of beginners mind. Again, the importance of outlines (Talese's is shown) and the building of tension in the story, collecting fly-on-the-wall details ("Harlan Ellison's boots") by tracking down Harlan Ellison the next day and questioning him about the fight scene.
"That's what's wonderful about narrative nonficton: you don't have to lie, but you can write deeply about people," but "you have to put in your time." On Frank Sinatra has a cold" (about minute 34 on): Where is the story? On "B matter," the necessary information that can't come too soon or too late in a story. 300 Little Words: How to Write Narrative Short and Good (Roy Peter Clark's talk, which starts at about minute 9 or 10) What It Takes: Getting Stories Told in the New World of Narrative Nonfiction (panelists Ken Auletta, Jill Abramson, Hampton Sides, Amanda Urban, and John Stauffer discuss what it takes to be a long-form narrative nonfiction writer in todays fast-evolving technological world) Clearing Space for the Agenda: Setting Narrative in Digital Journalism (Dean Sparkman) Jill Abramson: The Power of Narrative The Moth & Friends: The Rise of Stories Out Loud (Jay Allison, independent broadcast journalist, curator and producer of The Moth Radio Hour) Beyond the "Like" Button: Digitally Addictive Storytelling and the Brain (Amy OLeary, a news editor and multimedia producer for The New York Times) Reaching New Audiences with Digital Devices (Jill Abramson, Managing Editor for the New York Times) The Power of Narrative: The Rebirth of Storytelling (about storytelling in all kinds of media, on all kinds of platforms--held at Boston University).
Cousin of the now-suspended Nieman Narrative Nonfiction conference. Here's one participant's reports: 10 Highlights from #BUNarrative (Susan Johnston, The Urban Muse, 4-10-13).
With narrative nonfiction you don't present the main point in the first paragraphcompelling narrative keeps the reader reading to find out what happens, and the journey to the epiphany is half the point.
Narrative nonfiction--joining good research with compelling, character-driven storytelling--reads like a novel.
Helpful tips from a Harvard writers conference (Livia Blackburn's blog, A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing) The Storytellers Summit blog . Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing, by Francis Flaherty (excellent short takes on the architecture, bones, & tendrils of story and character development, especially for journalism) Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction by James Stewart To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction by Phillip Lopate Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, by Janet Burroway Now Write!