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Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling

Write Choices: Elements of Nonfiction Storytelling helps writers cultivate their nonfiction storytelling skills by exploring the universal decisions writers confront when crafting factual narratives. Rather than isolating various forms of narrative nonfiction into categories or genres, Sue Hertz focuses on examining the common choices all true storytellers encounter, whether they are writing memoir, literary journalism, personal essays, or travel stories. Write Choices also includes digital storytelling. No longer confined to paper, today's narrative nonfiction writers must learn to write for electronic media, which may also demand photos, videos, and/​or audio. Integrating not only her own insights and experience as a journalist, nonfiction book author, and writing instructor, but also those of other established nonfiction storytellers, both print and digital, Hertz aims to guide emerging writers through key decisions to tell the best story possible. Blending how-to instruction with illuminating examples and commentaries drawn from original interviews with master storytellers, Write Choices is a valuable resource for all nonfiction writers, from memoirists to essayists to literary journalists, at any stage of their career.


"To write well is hard. To teach writing well might, remarkably, be harder. Sue Hertz has written a gem of a book that makes both the writing and teaching of nonfiction storytelling easier. 'Write Choices' is required reading in my magazine and nonfiction writing classes." Benoit Denizet-Lewis, New York Times Magazine writer and assistant professor of Writing and Publishing at Emerson College

"'Write Choices' by Sue Hertz is a thorough 'anatomy' of the genre. Hertz isolates, explains and provides examples and helpful insight into ideas, approaches, techniques -- a microscopic and truly impressive examination of craft." Lee Gutkind, editor of "Creative Nonfiction"

"A detailed and inspiring resource for any serious student of narrative journalism." Paige Williams, National Magazine Award winner, New Yorker writer, and associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism

"Such a rich resource for teachers and writers of creative nonfiction. Loads of useful information, clearly presented. Answers all the basic questions that occur to writers and anticipates others." Bob Cowser, author of "Dream Season: A Professor Joins America's Oldest Semi-Pro Football Team" and Professor of English at Saint Lawrence University

"Some can write. Some can teach. Sue Hertz does both -- very, very well. "Write Choices" is the go to book for nonfiction storytelling." Sarah Schweitzer, Pulitzer Prize finalist and narrative writer for The Boston Globe

"Throw away your nonfiction handbooks and textbooks! Sue Hertz's interactive, original, practical 'Write Choices' is here!" Faith Adiele, author of "Meeting Faith" and associate professor of writing at California College of the Arts

Selected Works

Cold. Rain. Black flies. Biting dogs. What else could go wrong on this bike vacation?
Yankee Magazine
Alison Hardy has dedicated her career to saving antique windows.
Travel essay published in the anthology "Around the World."
How does one survive biking in Cambridge, the legendary English city of narrow, winding streets, congested traffic, bellowing drivers, and cows? Lots of cows.
Caught between caring for their parents and their own families, members of the sandwich generation struggle to cope with the many challenges of parenting a parent.
Can you be fit and fat? Contrary to common belief, yes you can.
Writer Sue Hertz explores a lifelong ambition – learning to sing on key. Can she? Will she?
With the help of an antiques dealer, nutritionist, and a medieval scholar, Carol Shea-Porter, who had never held public office, beat the Republican incumbent to represent her New Hampshire district in the U.S. Congress.
Remember the warmth, the closeness, the dailiness of the family meal? Neither do we. A Boston Magazine essay exploring the reasons behind the disappearing family dinner and the repercussions.
Hockey great Bobby Orr may have knees like no other, but that doesn't mean the rest of us haven't abused the joint beyond its intention.
Boston Globe Magazine cover story on the gentrification of this seaport city on the coast of New Hampshire
The New Hampshire Historical Society's regal home, one of the state's most renowned structures, celebrates its 100th birthday. The path to the creation of Concord's architectural gem was anything but smooth.
Write Choices blasts through the boundaries between different forms of narrative nonfiction, focusing on the choices all writers of all forms make at every juncture, from choosing an idea, to collecting content, to creating a structure, to revising.
A powerful narrative illustrating the impact of abortion politics on women and health care workers.