2017-06-21 - Writing Revisions

As I’m starting to think about the transformation of the dissertation into a book, I am thinking a lot about audience in particular. I think my topic has good cross-market appeal, and as such I’m spending a lot of time thinking about the re-writing process. I’ll use this space to keep jotting down ideas and resources.


I have a smattering of posts on Pinboard about writing, but I want to highlight a few of those here.

Metafilter, “There has to be tension. There has to be an adversary.”

There are plenty of writing guides by the old guard, so how about a master class in writing narrative nonfiction with Susan Orlean, Isabel Wilkerson, Jacqui Banaszynski, Katherine Boo, Lillian Ross, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Sonia Nazario and many more women journalists.

Jonathan Wilson, “Writing History as if it Matters (to Lots of People)

Plenty of academically trained historians today want to tell stories non-academics will read. I say “tell stories” because fundamentally that is what historians do, even when it doesn’t look like it. (Even stories about big impersonal forces are still stories.) The problem—besides having so many other demands on our time—is that we are not always prepared to tell stories that make sense to non-initiates.

Alane Salierno Mason, “Nine Tips for Academics Writing for a General Audience

…the more successfully you can write about people, and use their stories to carry the weight of your research, the more likely the book is to reach a wide audience. It is, of course, not the only way to do so. In some great books, an idea or a place is really the protagonist. Making the reader care as much about the idea or place as he or she might about a human character is hard to do, but a literary achievement when it happens.


  • Kevin Kruse, One Nation Under God
  • Dan Fagin, Toms River