Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Nonfictionary

Karen Blumenthal

The Good Thing about Bad Words

It’s mid-Jan­u­ary, I have this Non­fic­tionary dead­line, and all I can think about is Pres­i­dent Trump’s lat­est vul­gar­i­ty. His recent word choice about cer­tain coun­tries jumped from my phone like an elec­tri­cal charge, lit­er­al­ly and phys­i­cal­ly jolt­ing me back­wards. For the rest of the day and beyond, my soul hurt and my spir­it sagged. But […]

Karen Blumenthal

A Picture and a Thousand Words

As a reporter and edi­tor for decades, I often heard peo­ple accuse my col­leagues and me of “bias,” of hav­ing a par­tic­u­lar slant on a story—usually a point of view that the accuser dis­put­ed. It was a com­mon charge, espe­cial­ly if the issue was con­tro­ver­sial. But in truth, reporters are no dif­fer­ent than any­one else. […]

Melissa Stewart

Why Young Writers Need an Authentic Audience

For me, writ­ing non­fic­tion is a fun adven­ture. A game to play. A puz­zle to solve. A chal­lenge to over­come. But many stu­dents don’t feel the same way. Accord­ing to them, research is bor­ing. Mak­ing a writ­ing plan is a waste of time. And revi­sion is more than frus­trat­ing. It’s down­right painful. Why do young […]

Pamela S. Turner

Getting Inside the Head of the Long Dead

Don’t be alarmed by the ghoul­ish­ness of my title. Try­ing to res­ur­rect the life of some­one who turned to dust cen­turies ago is a chal­lenge, espe­cial­ly if the per­son left behind no per­son­al writ­ings such as let­ters or diaries. But it can be done. In prepa­ra­tion for writ­ing Samu­rai Ris­ing: The Epic Life of Minamo­to […]

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Qualifying Credibility

I long for the good ol’ days when every­one agreed that facts were true and fic­tion was make-believe and made-up facts were lies. Sev­er­al years ago, the dis­sem­i­nat­ing of cur­rent events entered the truthi­ness zone—only to emerge in today’s sur­re­al “alter­nate facts” par­al­lel uni­verse. It is under­stand­ably dif­fi­cult for many people—and espe­cial­ly young people—to know […]

Susan Latta

Unearthing the Good Stuff

Five Steps to a Suc­cess­ful Non­fic­tion Inter­view I love flow­ers but no one would ever call my thumb green. Each spring how­ev­er, I drag the pots to the front step, fill them with soil, plant red gera­ni­ums sur­round­ed by marigolds, and water when nature for­gets. And when the school bus­es rum­ble down the street, I […]

Melissa Stewart

Three Tips for Writing Teachers

Teach­ers often feel frus­trat­ed when the revi­sions stu­dents make to their writ­ing aren’t improve­ments. And so they ask me how to help the chil­dren make their man­u­scripts bet­ter. I wish I had an easy answer for these teach­ers and for their stu­dents, but here’s the truth: Revi­sion is messy. It’s fraught with detours. Even expe­ri­enced […]

Melissa Stewart

What the Heck is Creative Nonfiction?

The term cre­ative non­fic­tion was first used by Lee Gutkind in the 1980s as a syn­onym for nar­ra­tive non­fic­tion. Gutkind wished to con­vey the idea that non­fic­tion wasn’t always dry and util­i­tar­i­an. By employ­ing such ele­ments as char­ac­ter, dia­logue, scene build­ing, strong voice, inno­v­a­tive struc­ture, point of view, and lit­er­ary devices, writ­ers could craft non­fic­tion […]

Melissa Stewart

Why Students Copy Their Research Sources,
and How to Break the Habit

By third grade, near­ly all stu­dents know what pla­gia­rism is and under­stand that it’s both immoral and ille­gal, and yet, again and again, we catch them copy­ing their sources. Why don’t stu­dents express ideas and infor­ma­tion in their own words? Because they haven’t tak­en the time or don’t have the skills to ana­lyze and syn­the­size […]