You Can't Make This Stuff Up

The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction—from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between

Lee Gutkind

A how-to guide from the "godfather behind creative nonfiction" (Vanity Fair) and founder and editor of Creative Nonfiction.

What is Creative Nonfiction? It's simple: True stories, well told.

And yet—it's not so simple. Telling true stories, well, can be hard work, but worthwhile. It's the hottest genre in the publishing industry. Now, Lee Gutkind offers his unvarnished wisdom to help you write the best creative nonfiction possible, from rags-to-riches-to-rags tell-all memoir to literary journalism and everything in between.

Frank, to-the-point, and always entertaining, Gutkind describes and illustrates each and every aspect of the genre with depth and clarity. Invaluable tools and exercises illuminate key steps, from defining a concept and establishing a writing process to the final product. Offering new ways of understanding the genre, You Can't Make This Stuff Up helps all writers of all skill levels thoroughly expand and stylize their work.


A practical primer on writing “true stories, well told.”

Kirkus Review

July 15, 2012

Reminiscent of Stephen King’s fiction handbook On Writing, YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP will be useful to both new... read more

How to write? Count the ways

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

September 30, 2012

[This] is the kind of book about mastering the writing life we've come to expect from [Gutkind]: brash, clearly written, opinion-... read more