Kidder & Todd's Good Prose
A Narratively Short where the art of non-fiction storytelling is discussed and the future of journalism is debated.
In January, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder and his longtime editor, Richard Todd, author of The Thing Itself and the former executive editor of the Atlantic Monthly, put out an excellent book about non-fiction writing called Good Prose. Given that narrative non-fiction is what we do at Narratively, I decided to ring the two vets up. We ended up speaking at length about a variety of topics—cultivating editorial relationships, our age of snippets and bits, Joseph Mitchell’s sleight of hand, and finding honesty in one’s work—to kick off Narratively Shorts’ first ever Shop Talk.
Narratively: Good Prose is a book about the art of writing, as well as collaboration. What's the key to a good writer/editor relationship? Is there an elevator pitch? Richard Todd: (Laughing) Avoid elevator pitches at all costs, if you can. Get the guy trapped between floors.
Is there a key? Or is it more a question of getting to know a person, more of a process?
Tracy Kidder: …