My recent post on the Brevity blog on the use of visuals in creative nonfiction.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Hanel_author photo_1_3x4 Rachael Hanel

By Rachael Hanel

One question I often ponder as I read creative nonfiction: Why don’t more books include visuals?

I’m a big fan of the ones that do, such as Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi, Body Geographic by Barrie Jean Borich, and Memory of Trees by Gayla Marty. I’m not talking about full-on graphic nonfiction, such as Fun Home by Alison Bechdel or March by John Lewis. I’m talking about primarily text-based books that use visuals to enhance and supplement the story.

My memoir includes a photograph to start each chapter. I was inspired by The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch, where photos at the beginning of each chapter add to the book’s evocative mood. As I was writing my memoir, I had clear images in my head of family photos I had looked at for years, which had sparked my imagination about my family. I wanted my readers to…

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