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The Basics of Good Writing in Any Form

I was delighted to find that nonfiction prose can also carry meaning in its structures and, like poetry, can tolerate all sorts of figurative language, as well as alliteration and even rhyme. The range of rhythms in prose is larger and grander than it is in poetry, and it can handle discursive ideas and plain information as well as character and story. It can do everything. I felt as though I had switched from a single reed instrument to a full orchestra.

—ANNIE DILLARD

I am working with a group of novice nonfiction writers, and we’re about two-thirds of the way through our time together. My students have plumbed their lives in ways they never thought possible: as environmental records, as living history, ...

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