Advice from the Masters: Jack Hart

May 24, 2017 | Better Writing

Jack Hart knows a thing or two about writing. He’s written books and articles. He’s been the Oregonian’s managing editor, training editor, and writing coach. And, oh yes, he has a PhD in Journalism. That’s impressive, but for me the man’s most important credential is that he wrote the book Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction. That’s where I found the following bit of advice.

“The kind of roman numeral outline that Mrs. Grundy taught you in the fourth grade will work fine for a news report, a thesis, or an instructional book like this one. But it won’t uncover the patterns at the heart of story. I suspect that topical outlines flow from the verbal part of the brain, the speech center in the left hemisphere. Stephen Hall’s little experiment with storytelling during an MRI brain scan strongly suggests that story blueprints emerge from the right brain, and that the neural networks that help us visualize a story’s shape are closely linked to the visual cortex.”

I wrote something similar in the post, “Outlining is an Unnatural Act.”

Want more? Check out the complete list of Advice from the Masters posts

If you want even more writing advice from writers, check out Jon Winokur’s blog, “AdvicetoWriters.”

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