Book review: ‘Draft No. 4’ by John McPhee

Essays on factual writing.

Draft No. 4

I can’t remember where I heard about this book. In fact, I’d forgotten all about it until I came across an obscure note I’d made about it yonks ago, and thought it sounded worth checking out.

Draft No. 4 comprises a number of pieces by veteran American non-fiction journalist and author John McPhee. The pieces are mainly about the process of writing long-form non-fiction articles (or ‘factual’ articles, as Higgs sometimes, more sensibly, refers to them). The individual chapters contain plenty of good advice and entertaining anecdotes—although I could have done without one multi-page account of an obsolete, bespoke text editor application!

A good read for non-fiction writers.

Note: I will receive a small referral fee if you buy this book via one of the above links.

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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On the Moor

This is a lovely book. I really enjoyed it—partly, I suspect, because I have a similar sense of humour to that of the author and also because I am generally curious about life. [...] The author is good at explanations. I like that. Eclectic—that’s what this book is. And rambling—in a good way (after all, these are walks). I liked it. I hope Richard Carter is writing another volume of his thoughts. I’ll buy it.
Mark Avery, author and former director of conservation at the RSPB, Sunday Book Review

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