Monday, July 17, 2006

The Making of a Biography

I was interested to read Michael Kazin’s review of The Most Famous Man in America, not only because Debby Applegate’s biography of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher seems so interesting. I have been waiting for this book to come out for more than four years, because of the hype it received in Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato’s excellent book: Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction – and Get It Published.

The Rabiner and Fortunato book is the single best book I found on how to think about a book of serious non-fiction – the questions a book must pose and the narrative a book must follow. Most of the tomes on writing book proposals focus on “How-To” books, which wasn’t very helpful to me when I was thinking about writing a biography. I must have read Thinking Like Your Editor a half-dozen times while getting my own proposal together.

Rabiner is Applegate’s agent, and uses Applegate’s book proposal and a sample chapter as a central focus of the book. And from the early reviews the book has lived up to its hype. (By the way, the title original suggested for the book was Breach of Faith. I like that better than .)

JON CARROLL of the San Francisco Chronicle has a good column on book reading, collecting and reviewing.

The LitBlog Coop has recommended a new summer read: Michael Martone’sMichael Martone.” (I kid you not.)

Tin House, one of the hippest literary journals around, hosts an annual fiction conference each summer in Oregon. Here's a report on the goings on. (Via Elegant Varietion)


renee said...

Just a correction: the LitBlog Coop's summer read is "Michael Martone."

But regardless, it sounds great... will have to pick one up.

Frances said...

Thanks for the correction!