The Art Of The Anecdote

Looking for a way to spice up your nonfiction? Anecdotes may be the answer. These humorous little “blurbs” can stand alone as fillers or be used to illustrate main points in your manuscript.

An anecdote is a short narrative—complete with a beginning, middle and end—that reveals a curious or insightful incident, that illustrates a point or reinforces an idea. They can contain dialogue, provide explicit detail and incorporate plays on words or humorous endings to “humanize” a topic.

Article writers know crafting them can be challenging. In How to Write a Book Proposal author and agent Michael Larsen offers this advice. For each potential anecdote, write a brief sketch of the details to jog your memory, note the point you want to illustrate, and indicate where in the book you plan to use the anecdote.

No matter what your book will be based on—your own personal experience, or on the results of research and interviews with contributors—you should have a wealth of material for potential anecdotes.

To learn more about writing anecdotes—and everything else you need to know about writing a writing a winning book proposal—check out the Writing the Nonfiction Book Proposal Workshop from

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