Explore Harvard's Nieman network Nieman Fellowships Nieman Lab Nieman Reports Nieman Storyboard

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


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