The Secret Weapon

The Secret Weapon "How many attempts it takes to finally write a powerful story depends on two factors: your ability, and the difficulty of the stories you choose.  Neither reflects your own worth. Your current ability is a starting point only; what counts isn’t where you begin but where you finish." – Jon Franklin

It moved with me and then sat on an office shelf in our basement for years. I acquired what I’ll name “the secret weapon” several years ago at a college bookstore. It was one of several texts required for a feature news writing class. I don’t think I've ever been as excited about a nonfiction book as I am about this one. As a college student making my way through the class reading assignments, I remember thinking even then that this book would be so helpful when I write a book someday. It didn't make it to the bookstore buy-back. Instead, it got shoved with a bunch of other books, then sat collecting dust. 

What did I first do when I decided to write that book? I retrieved this secret weapon. ’s Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by a Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner. The basic premise of the book is to use dramatic fiction form to write non-fiction feature stories. I turn Franklin’s premise back on itself, using his method of nonfiction feature-writing to write fiction. The book is incredibly helpful in teaching writing technique, but teaches it in a way that is not dry and boring. I find myself thinking as I read: Yes! Yes! So true! I've noticed this as well. Franklin puts into words what most writers may have, but can't describe. If you've ever wanted to know The Secret of Writing, start here.

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