They’re primarily fiction authors but have a few nonfiction books about storytelling, writing, and publishing. I liked what they had to say about storytelling and nonfiction:
But if you’re a nonfiction author, take heart! We’re nonfiction authors, too (evidence of this is in your hands or on your screen), so we have a ton to say about nonfiction as well. If you’re a nonfiction writer and find yourself in the middle of a section detailing series novels or story narrative, we suggest you keep reading. The best nonfiction is full of story.
When you think of the 10,000 hour rule you think of Malcolm Gladwell. You might be quick to point out that it’s based on other people’s studies or that other people wrote about talent and hours also. Still, that rule is tied to him because he told the best stories about talent and practice.
Still, even Gladwell looks up to other writers. He’s said that he’s amazed by the stories that Michael Lewis is able to put together. Gladwell says he himself can take a a topic and stretch the story over a chapter but Lewis can take a topic and keep the narrative interesting over the course of a book.
Here’s a common trope in nonfiction reviews: someone says the book could have been an outline but the publisher probably forced the author to write 200 pages. So it’s filled with fluff. (Sometimes it is!) The best nonfiction books have stories that make the ideas stick. In most cases, you can get the gist of the book in the introduction. You can capture the main ideas in an outline. You can consume an outline in ten minutes and forget about it by the next hour.
If you have an idea worth spreading, your best bet is to spread it through a good story. Not to say they all need to be 200 pages, but it’s worth learning how to wrap your message in stories.
It’d be great if you could read outlines, look at the Nike logo on your shirt, then go and just do whatever the outlines said. Eat less, work out more. Close your browser, write more. Put your phone away, be present.
Eat less because you’ve seen that the story can lead to immobility and low energy. Write more because all the authors you look up to wrote a ton and stacked up rejection slips. Put your phone away because you know we’re slowly turning into the couch potatoes from Wall-E. (Or Idiocracy—whichever one will be more likely to make you put your phone away.)