The Conflict Among Narrative & Explanation

January 29, 2013, David Quammen was interviewed by David Dobbs from the OpenNoteBook.com on his process as a writer. A key point of the article included Quammen’s evolution into science non-fiction writing. He started off heavily influenced by William Faulkner, and began his career writing in fiction.

Now as David’s style and themes in writing have changed so has the need for balance between narrative and explanation grown. With non-fiction, Quammen discusses tackling the delivery of “expository material” all the while keeping the reader entertained. This seems to be a rather interesting challenge. Quammen says the narrative is the easy part, he draws a lot of his writing from his own experiences and so the words flow onto the pages like water.

I can’t help but feel this looks like a sort of hybrid between scientific journals and narrative fiction. In between lies creative fiction, and as Quammen has identified, the need for balance between learning and fun.

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