Tag: Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer: Writing is like Rock Climbing

El Capitan, Yosemite. Photo by daveynin via Flickr, (Creative Commons)

This week I’ve been making my way through a collection of interviews called The New New Journalism: Conversations with America’s Best Nonfiction Writers on Their Craft. It’s an interesting read. The writers—everyone from Gay Talese to Eric Schlosser and Susan Orlean—describe how they work, from story idea through interviewing to writing and editing.

In one section, Jon Krakauer explains his use of outlines. It involves a lot of hand-written scenes pinned to his office wall in sequence. The book’s author, Robert S. Boynton, asks him where he got the technique.

Here’s Krakauer’s reply:

Rock climbing. When you embark on a really big climb like, say, the Salathé wall of El Capitan, which rises three thousand vertical feet from the floor of Yosemite Valley, the enormity of the undertaking can be paralyzing. So a climber breaks down the ascent into rope-lengths, or pitches. If you can think of the climb as a series of twenty or thirty pitches, and focus on each of these pitches to the exclusion of all the scary pitches that still lie above, climbing El Cap suddenly isn’t such an intimidating prospect. By following an outline I can focus on the chapter that’s in front of me… It makes writing a book much less terrifying.

Jon Krakauer Talks Chris McCandless and Pat Tillman

In this Daily Beast interview, the “Into the Wild” author talks about his new book on the NFL star-turned-soldier, and what Tillman and McCandless had in common:

They were both uncommonly idealistic. They were both pretty hardass in their ideals and sticking to them. But they chose such different paths—McCandless dropped out of society, while Tillman was all about living in this world and doing your duty. They were both very similar and very different.

Krakauer also explains why “Into the Wild” is his favorite of his four books. (Via The Book Bench)

World Hum Travel Movie Club: ‘Into The Wild’

By now, you know the story. In 1990, a 22-year-old college grad named Christopher McCandless renounced his privileged upbringing, adopted the nom de drifter Alexander Supertramp, and turned to a new life of vagabonding. Two years later, Alaskan moose hunters found his corpse in an abandoned Fairbanks city bus outside Denali National Park. Jon Krakauer pieced together Chris’s odyssey and wrote the bestseller Into the Wild. Sean Penn‘s movie version of the book, which hit theaters last fall, arrives today on DVD. Eva Holland and Eli Ellison gave the disc a spin, exchanged e-mails and debated Hollywood’s adaptation of Into the Wild in the debut of the World Hum Travel Movie Club.

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