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Frank's Book Log

Literature is a relative term.

Draft No. 4

On the Writing Process
2013 | Nonfiction
A cover of Draft No. 4 by John McPhee (2013)
C: 3 stars (out of 5)
on Sep 11, 2022

A series of essays concerning John McPhee’s writing process. Given how interview-driven non-fiction dominates his work, these speak to how he conducts the interviews, conducts research, and structures the pieces. If Stephen King’s On Writing is a 101-level writing class, Draft No. 4 is a higher-level elective.

That said, McPhee offers an anecdote about fact-checking, worth reading by all:

The worst checking error is calling people dead who are not dead. In the words of Joshua Hersh, “It really annoys them.” Sara remembers a reader in a nursing home who read in The New Yorker that he was “the late” reader in the nursing home. He wrote demanding a correction. The New Yorker, in its next issue, of course complied, inadvertently doubling the error, because the reader died over the weekend while the magazine was being printed.

I laughed even harder when I realized it was too preposterous to include in a fictional story.

Reading History

    Sun Sep 11, 2022 via Audible (Read by John McPhee)