My piece in the current edition of Writing.ie here describes the path I travelled in writing my nonfiction book The Veiled Woman of Achill and the challenge of staying true to the facts of the story while building a compelling narrative around the 1894 dark events at the Valley House, Achill.
Delighted to get this review of The Veiled Woman of Achill by Aine Ryan in the Mayo News:
I have been absent from this blog while getting the book over the finish line. The Veiled Woman of Achill will be published by the Collins Press in April. There will be a launch in my home city of Limerick in late April and a launch / reading at the Valley House, Achill in early May.
It was good to come across this blog for readers of Creative Nonfiction. While aimed at readers, it’s packed with useful resources, tips and links for the nonfiction writer.
I’m wrestling at the moment with my manuscript that is based on true events and deals with a West of Ireland historical crime in the nineteenth century. The research is done and the task now is to dramatise the story using fiction techniques.
This blog is helping me through the maze. Read more here.
Interested in hearing from any writers out there who are working through a creative nonfiction story.
Becoming a Writer, Dorothea Brande. Hard to believe this book was first published in 1934, such is its freshness. Brande believes ‘that becoming a writer is mainly a matter of cultivating a writer’s temperament’. She steps the reader through practical ways to build such a temperament.
Writing Short Stories, Alisa Cox. Not a rigid ‘this is the way to do it’, this book is about spinning a yarn in many different ways and the theme running through of the relationship between the cinema and the short story is fascinating.
How to Write a Damn Good Novel, James N Frey. The sub-title to this book tells it all: ‘A Step-by-stp no nonsense guide to dramatic storytelling’. Even if you’ve no interest in doing that novel, you will get great tips on producing dynamic prose. In summary, he says, ‘your prose should have time, color, textural density, convey a sense of motion, appeal to the senses…’
Writing Creative Nonfiction, eds Carolyn Forche and Philip Gerard. This book works by having a section on the art and craft of creative nonfiction and its various sub-genres followed by a selection of excerpts from a wide variety of contemporary writers. And the hairy chestnut of truthfulness in the genre is well covered.
The Making of a Poem by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland. If you’ve ever wrestled with poetic form in writing or reading poems, this book makes it all so simple. The approach is to take the form (Villanelle, Sestina, Ballad …..) and summarise it in a few bullet points, give a short bit of history and then show the form being used by contemporary poets.
Writing for Success, Patricia O’Reilly. A no-nonsense gallop through pages of practical advice on the publishing process across the spectrum of fiction, non-fiction, radio and print journalism. A great resource book to have to hand.
That’s my list then. I’ll pile all these books back on the shelf now and then get on with it – the writing, that is.