Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process
From the publisher: "Draft No. 4 is a master class on the writer’s craft. In a series of playful, expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he has gathered over his career and has refined while teaching at Princeton University, where he has nurtured some of the most esteemed writers of recent decades. In one essay, he considers the delicate art of getting sources to tell you what they might not otherwise reveal. In another, he discusses how to use flashback to place a bear encounter in a travel narrative, while observing that 'readers are not supposed to notice the structure. It is meant to be about as visible as someone’s bones.' Draft No. 4 is enriched by multiple diagrams and by personal anecdotes and charming reflections on the life of a writer. Throughout, Draft No. 4 is enlivened by his keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world."
The long-awaited guide to writing long-form nonfiction by the legendary author and teacher.
Draft No. 4 is an elucidation of the writer’s craft by a master practitioner. In a series of playful but expertly wrought essays, John McPhee shares insights he’s gathered over his career and refined during his long-running course at Princeton University, where he has launched some of the most esteemed writers of several generations. McPhee offers a definitive guide to the crucial decisions regarding structure, diction, and tone that shape nonfiction pieces and presents extracts from some of his best-loved work, subjecting them to wry scrutiny. The result is a vivid depiction of the writing process, from reporting to drafting to revising – and revising, and revising.
More than a compendium of advice, Draft No. 4 is enriched by personal detail and charming reflections on the life of a writer. McPhee describes his enduring relationships with The New Yorker and Farrar, Straus and Giroux and recalls his early years at Time magazine. Enlivened by his keen sense of writing as a way of being in the world, Draft No. 4 is the long-awaited master class given by America’s most renowned writing instructor.