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Are You a Born Storyteller?

I had a dear friend who had a gift for telling stories about her day. She’d launch into one, and suddenly everyone around her would hush up and lean in, knowing that whatever followed would be pure entertainment. A story of encountering a deer on the highway would involve interludes from the deer’s point of view. Strangers who factored into her tales would get nicknames and imagined backstories of their own. She could make even the most mundane parts of her day—and everyone else’s—seem interesting. She didn’t aspire to be a writer, but she was a born storyteller.

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Why All Nonfiction Should Be Creative Nonfiction

The term creative nonfiction often brings to mind essays that read like poems, memoirs that read like novels, a lyrical way of interpreting the world around us. But the truth is that writing nonfiction—from blog posts to routine news reports to business guides—can (and should) be creative work. And the more creativity you bring to any piece, the better it’s likely to be received, whether your target reader is a friend, a website visitor, an editor or agent, or the public at large.

The March/April 2015 Writer’s Digestgoes on sale today—and this issue delves into the creative sides of many types of nonfiction.

  • Learn seven ways to take a creative approach to any nonfiction book—whether you wish to write a self-help title, a historical retelling, a how-to guide, or something else entirely.
  • Get tips for finding the right voice for your essays, memoirs and other true-to-life works—and see how it’s that voice above all else that can make or break your writing.
  • Delve into our introduction to the nonfiction children’s market—where writers can earn a steady income by opening kids’ eyes to the world around them.
  • And find out what today’s literary agents and publishers are looking for in the increasingly popular narrative nonfiction genre—where books ranging from Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks to Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist to Susan Cain’s Quiet have been reinvigorating the bestseller lists.

Why Readers Love True Stories

“Narrative nonfiction has become more in-demand because it provides additional value; it’s entertaining and educational,” explains agent Laurie Abkemeier in our narrative nonfiction roundtable. “There are many forms of entertainment vying for our attention, and the ones that give us the highest return for our time and money investment are the ones that we gravitate toward.”

So give your readers that amazing return. The articles packed into this informative, diverse and boundary-pushing issue will show you how. Download the complete issue right now, order a print copy, or find it on your favorite newsstand through mid-April.

Jessica Strawser
Editor, Writer’s Digest Magazine
Follow me on Twitter @jessicastrawser

Lisa Jewell | Writer's Digest Interview Quote

The WD Interview: Lisa Jewell

The New York Times-bestselling British author discusses creating thrilling plot twists and developing characters in her 19th novel, The Night She Disappeared, in this interview from the Jan/Feb 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

5 Tips for Successfully Pitching Literary Agents in Person (That Worked for Me at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference)

5 Tips for Successfully Pitching Literary Agents in Person (That Worked for Me at the Writer’s Digest Annual Conference)

Author Anat Deracine found her agent at Writer’s Digest Annual Conference. Now she’s sharing what she’s learned to help other writers become authors. Here are her 5 tips for successfully pitching literary agents in person.

Tips for Reading Poetry in Front of an Audience

8 Tips for Reading Your Poetry in Front of an Audience

Poet's Market editor and published poet Robert Lee Brewer shares eight tips for reading your poetry in front of an audience.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Strength Lost

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Strength Lost

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character lose their powers.

Sharon Short | Point of View Quote 1

Managing Point of View: Mythbusting

In the first of this three-part series, novelist and WD columnist Sharon Short breaks down 7 of the most common myths about choosing which POV is right for your story.

Channel Your Inner Authorpreneur for Your Writing Labor of Love

Channel Your Inner Authorpreneur for Your Writing Labor of Love

As self-publishing continues to become an attractive and popular options for writers, it’s important to know what you’re getting into and to have the right expectations. Here, author and entrepreneur Tom Vaughan shares how to channel your inner “authorpreneur” to help your book find its readers.

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Mark Kurlansky: On Coincidences Driving Memoir

Award-winning author, playwright, and journalist Mark Kurlansky discusses the experience of channeling Ernest Hemingway in his new memoir, The Importance of Not Being Ernest.

In-Between: Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Personal Essay Awards Winner

In-Between: Writer's Digest 2nd Annual Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to Alyssa Rickert, Grand Prize winner of the 2nd Annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's her winning essay, "In Between."

Things To Consider When Writing About Ghosts and the Supernatural in Fiction

Things To Consider When Writing About Ghosts and the Supernatural in Fiction

From maintaining subtlety to visiting haunted places, author J. Fremont shares everything to consider when writing about ghosts and the supernatural in fiction.