Author(s): Sara Mansfield Taber
The goal of the writer is to live with the keenness of the foreigner. To experience, wide-eyed, the sensations aroused and the events offered up by a peculiar surround and then to evoke them so brightly on the page that the reader, too, experiences the foreigner's frisson. A time-honored way this is accomplished is through the keeping of a field notebook-through the faithful recording of the this and that of life; the atmospheres and incidents; the bells, the beer, the bread.Based on what accomplished nonfiction writer Sara Mansfield Taber learned in her many years of field notebook keeping, Chance Particulars is a unique and handy primer for writers who want to use their experiences to tell a lively, satisfying story. Often, writers try to turn their notes into a memoir, essay, travel piece, or story, only to find that they haven't recorded enough of the concrete, sensory details necessary to create evocative description. To help writers overcome this problem, Taber has composed a true "field notebook for field notebook keepers." Enhanced by beautiful illustrations, this charming and comprehensive guide is a practical manual for anyone who wishes to learn or hone the crafts of writing, ethnography, or journalism.Writers of all levels, genres, and ages, as well as teachers of writing, will appreciate this useful tool for learning how to record the details that build vibrant prose. With this book in hand, you will be able to recreate times and places, conjure up intricate character portraits, and paint pictures of particular landscapes, cultures, and locales.
Sara Mansfield Taber is the author of Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir of a Cold War Spy's Daughter, Dusk on the Campo: A Journey in Patagonia, Bread of Three Rivers: The Story of a French Loaf, and Of Many Lands: Journal of a Traveling Childhood. She has taught writing at Johns Hopkins University, the Bethesda Writer's Center, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Maud Taber-Thomas is a classically trained, Washington, DC-based artist who specializes in oil paintings and charcoal drawings. Her portraits, interiors, and landscapes may be viewed at maudtaber-thomas.com.
Introduction1. Elements of Fine Writing2. Purpose of the NotebookGoal, Quest, Story3. Chance ParticularsUse of the SensesSpecificity, Precision, and Concrete Detail4. PlaceLandscape and NatureTowns, Streets, and Buildings5. PeoplePortraits and InterviewsEncounters, Observations, and Activities6. Facts, History, and CultureBasic Facts, History, and Cultural Observations7. Technical and Other Pertinent InformationInformational Notes8. ChronicleRecord of Daily Activities and Travels9. Personal ResponsesFeelings and Contemplations10. Commonplace NotesQuotations and Thoughts from Experts, Scholars, and Literary Forebears-and Other Miscellanea11. Associations and Figurative LanguageMetaphor and Simile12. ReflectionsThoughts and Musings13. Writing NotesAcknowledgments