Book Review: The Art Of Nonfiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

TheArtOfNonfiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 19, 2017

Collated from prior presentations that Ayn Rand undertook, The Art Of Nonfiction is a straight forward foray into Rand’s considerations, techniques and process of writing nonfiction.

Written in a cogent and methodical fashion, some of the main points Rand addresses are (1) subject and theme, (2) creating an outline, (3) writing the draft, (4) editing, (5) style, which is addressed at length, and even (6) writing books as well.  The prior list is not exhaustive, but merely a sampling of the range of ideas Rand undertook.

While some of the rules Rand expounds upon could be seen as mechanical if acted upon rigidly, they need not be.  Writing is as much an art as it is a science; using the rules she suggests as guidelines will certainly help one’s writing in a sound manner, as long as one doesn’t fuse themselves to a mechanistic process.

Be that as it may, two of the main points which Rand stressed considerably were that of clarity, and the importance of an outline.  These are two parts of writing which all writers struggle with sooner or later, but they are also components that will net some of the greatest benefits if one executes them properly.

On the point of clarity, Rand elucidates:

“If you cannot write something down clearly and objectively, then you do not really know it.  Any vagueness or indecision on any fundamental aspect of your article will be disastrous.  That which you cannot name you know only approximately.”[2]

Translation: Know what you know, know what you don’t know, and be crystal clear and precise about it.

Along the same avenue, on the point of outlines, Rand states:

“The Outline’s level of detail depends on how clear the subject is in your mind, and how complex the article is.  I suggest the following test.  If in making an outline you feel vaguely that some point is difficult to formulate though you “kind of” know what you mean, then you need more detail.  On the other hand, if you begin to feel bored – if all you need are a few lines on some point but you are writing a volume – then you are being too detailed.  As in all mental activity, you are the only judge.”[2]

For a book whose information wasn’t meant to be part of a book at the outset, it flows seamlessly.  Given that The Art Of Nonfiction was collated from a set of oral lectures, the editing done by Robert Mayhew is extremely precise, and Rand’s thoughts are easy to follow.

For good measure, the book even includes selected outlines used by Ayn Rand in some of her articles.  This helps the reader view an outline through Rand’s eyes.  Though this section isn’t lengthy, the precision in execution is flawless and aids in the reader setting their crosshairs on what a correctly created outline format will look like.

In light of the breadth and scope of information provided in such a small package, The Art Of Nonfiction would be a mainstay in any nonfiction writer’s arsenal.  Incisive individuals who wish to apprise themselves of sound writing tips that will be guideposts for their writing endeavors would be wise learn the tenets in these books, for they are as important as they are timeless.

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Footnotes:

[1]  Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction, p. 17.
[2] Ibid., pp. 44-45.
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This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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BreakawayConsciousness

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who regularly studies subjects such as: Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more. His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world. My work can also be found on https://steemit.com/@zyphrex.

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