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Essays on Craft

From 2006 to 2010, the Nieman Narrative Digest site offered Essays on Craft, generously contributed by veteran journalists to help aspiring storytellers learn the fundamentals of narrative writing. In June 2010, the Nieman Foundation folded key elements of the Digest into the Nieman Storyboard site, including this complete archive of those essays.

Additional essays are available in the archives of our sister site, Nieman Reports, and in the book Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, edited by Wendy Call and former Nieman narrative program director Mark Kramer.

Michael Pollan

Natural Narratives


Peter Manseau

The Four Noble Truths of Religion Writing


Mark Kramer

Voice and Meaning


Bruce DeSilva

Endings


Christopher Scanlan

The Heart Attack Beat


Adam Hochschild

First Person Singular: It’s not just about you


Barry Siegel

Why We Should Care: Writing Well about Endangered Kids


Roy Peter Clark

The Persuasive Narrator


Adrian Nicole LeBlanc

Stories Are Everywhere


Douglas McGill

War-at-Home Narratives, Their Promise and Failures


Rebecca Allen

News Feature v. Narrative: What’s the Difference?


David Hertz

The Akron Beacon Journal’s Narrative Group


Rick Meyer

14 Tips for Building Character


Laurie Hertzel

Six Tips for Crafting Scenes


Ole Soennichsen

Jon Franklin interviewed by Ole Soennichsen


Jack Hart

Building Character: A Checklist


Roy Peter Clark

The Line Between Fact and Fiction


Gay Talese

A New Journalist’s Suggestions for Daily Journalists


Jim Collins

Tips for Reporters


Mark Kramer

Narrative Journalism Comes of Age


Jack Hart

The Comedy of Life


Jack Hart

Building Character in Three Dimensions


Jack Hart

Building Character: What the Fiction Writers Say


Walt Harrington

A Writer’s Essay: Seeking the Extraordinary in the Ordinary


Jack Hart

The Art of the Short Story


Mark Kramer

Breakable Rules for Literary Journalists