Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Creative Nonfiction Reveals Edits on Published Pieces

Where to begin? If you’ve ever had the sneaking suspicion that your story, essay, novel, etc. isn’t really beginning where it should, you’re not alone.

Creative Nonfiction magazine pulls back the curtain on the editing process on their website in the “First Lede, Real Lead” feature. Here, they show several essays that the editors trimmed, to get to the “real beginning”:

“During the editing process for this issue, with the permission of the writers, we eliminated the original beginnings of three essays and started them a few paragraphs or pages later. Our goal was to make the beginnings more immediate, to eliminate some writerly throat-clearing, to help plunge readers into the heart of the story--the action, the theme, the substance--from the very beginning.”

Instructive and interesting, especially to read how the authors and readers respond to the suggested edits. Go here, and scroll down to click on the essays marked “First Lede, Real Lead.”


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.