Tell It Slant

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A book review of Tell It Slant 3rd Edition: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola

A book review of Tell It Slant 3rd Edition: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne PaolaStars: *****

McGraw Hill (2019)
336 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: “Tell all the Truth but tell it Slant.”
―Emily Dickinson
With these words, Dickinson offers sound advice for nonfiction writers: Tell the truth but become more than mere transcribers of daily life. Since 2003, Tell It Slant has set the standard for creative nonfiction instruction, showing writers how to move beyond mere facts and, instead, make the most of their own “slant” on the world. This revised and updated third edition offers:
• New and expanded chapters on writing about identity, maintaining a productive work/life balance, and navigating the publishing industry
• An anthology with diverse pieces that range from traditional essay to the graphic memoir
• Expanded discussion of contemporary and emerging literary forms
• New “Try It” writing exercises throughout the book
Whether planning a course or learning on your own, Tell It Slant provides everything you need to know to develop a distinctive voice and to craft compelling creative nonfiction. This book provides the basis for a complete education in nonfiction writing, wherever your classroom might be.

Tell It Slant

I can’t speak about the differences between this third edition and it’s previous editions as I’ve not seen them but this book is amazing! I’ve always wanted to write a nonfiction book but didn’t know where to start. It hadn’t occurred to me to that some of what I blog about is already nonfiction and that I can start with smaller pieces like essays and work my way to a book. It seems so obvious now!

The books is FULL to the brim with information on everything related to creative nonfiction from getting started to fleshing out current stories, to editing to publishing and everything in between. Each chapter ends with the Try It writing exercises as mentioned above. There are tons of ideas to put the lesson into practice both as a single individual and/or as a writing group.

In addition to the writing try its, there is a list of related or mentioned resources you can find online, those you can find elsewhere (like bookstores or libraries) and those you can find in the small anthology included at the end of the book to demonstrate many of the points made in the chapters. The third edition comes with it a website with more resources as well.

The parts of the book are:

  • Part 1 – Unearthing Your Material – which discusses getting started including writing about family, gathering history, writing about the physical world, writing about identity and researching for a researching essay.
  • Part 2 – The Many Forms of Creative Nonfiction – talks about the personal essay, the different forms of creative nonfiction and mixed-media/cross-genre/hybrid and digital works.
  • Part 3 – Honing Your Craft – Challenges, basics of good writing, the writing process and revision, writing communities, publishing and editing.
  • Part 4 – Anthology – selected pieces that demonstrate points made throughout the book.

There are also two appendices: Good Habits for Healthy Writers and Writer’s Resources.

I won’t just be putting this book on my bookshelf but actually going back through it and trying the exercises and honing my writing.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.