Good morning! Today’s Thursday Quick-Write is courtesy of guest author Nancy Castaldo, whose fabulous works of nonfiction include SNIFFER DOGS: HOW DOGS (AND THEIR NOSES) SAVE THE WORLD and THE STORY OF SEEDS. She joins us today to talk about weaving facts into narrative…
Turning Facts into a Scene
Fact nerd alert! I confess that I love facts. For me, facts are the jumping off points to creating story. They could be something simple like – Humans use their eyes. A dog uses its nose. That fact will lead to questions and questions help flesh out the story – in this case the story of sniffer dogs.
Let’s look at a sentence from my book SNIFFER DOGS: HOW DOGS (AND THEIR NOSES) SAVE THE WORLD):
“I’m crouched behind a pine tree in a North Carolina forest waiting patiently for Lex, a mixed-breed live-find dog to locate me.”
This sentence begins to expand that fact into a scene by introducing character and setting. Let’s take another look at that section.
“The woods are quiet except to the occasional bird whistle. And then I hear it – the bell on Lex’s collar!”
Now I’ve introduced other senses into the scene, which gives the reader a stronger experience. These techniques are also used for fiction writing. Take a look at how the writer incorporates theses techniques on the page of any narrative nonfiction.
Today’s assignment: Expand one of the basic facts below into a scene using character, setting, and perhaps dialogue (must be authentic for nonfiction! ). Keep in mind that there are many other techniques to use – for example, suspense. Don’t be afraid to do a little research. Write on!
Fact #1 Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the fall.
Fact #2 Journalist Nellie Bly raced around the world.
Feel free to share a paragraph or two of today’s writing in the comments if you’d like!