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my Project Genesis

Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.


Dead presidents live forever.
Super Member
Jun 16, 2009
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Louisville, KY
I haven’t been on Absolute Write in a few years. Writing dropped a few notches in my priorities over the past several years, thanks to some life changes which included an unwanted divorce and job promotion and relocation to another state.

My latest book project is the one I never wanted to write, because it will be controversial and alienate some family members and friends. But I don’t care anymore, because a divorce shows you who your true friends are anyway. Though it has already been done elsewhere, my book will debunk the creation myth from the first two chapters of Genesis. Though I am not a scientist or an academic scholar of any type, I will not shy away from geology, astronomy, botany, anthropology, paleontology, or history in researching and writing the book.
My research will include “field trips” to geological sites throughout the Midwest to include the Devonian fossil beds at the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, and museums, botanical gardens, zoos, observatories and planetariums, and yes, even Kentucky’s two shrines to creationism, the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter.

I was raised in a very strict Christian home, and attended grade school in a Christian grade school that taught creationism in science class. We were taught that scientists who believe that the Earth is billions of years old are heretics and are going to hell. I believe that until the first semester of my freshman year in college, when my courses included World Civilization and Earth Science. I learned that the origins of the human race predated biblical times by tens of thousands of years. I rejected the young Earth creationism I was taught as a child, and accepted the scientific evidence that the earth is billions of years old, as is the entire universe.

I began to examine the Bible with more scrutiny. I didn’t make it past the first chapter of Genesis. God created light before he created the sun, which is the source of the Earth’s light. He created vegetation before he created the sun. Plants need sunlight to survive. Though he took most of the first six days to create the Earth, he created the “heavens,” i.e. the billions and billions of galaxies in the universe, almost as an afterthought on the fourth day. God created two “lights,” the sun and the moon. The moon does not create its own light-it reflects sunlight. These troubling issues demonstrated to me that Genesis was written by a human, not an all-knowing god.

Genesis fell apart, and with that, my entire Christian faith fell apart. I kept my new-found atheism to myself for 35 years. Not only did I have a staunchly conservative Christian family, but I lived in a solidly red state, Kentucky. Revealing my true beliefs would have meant certain rejection from virtually everyone. A few events in my life changed all of that. In addition to my divorce, my oldest daughter came out as gay, and my youngest daughter came out as a transgender male and began the transition process. Most of my family and friends turned on me. Desiring a new start elsewhere, I sought and received a promotion with my company, and relocated to Ohio. I ready now to write the book that is a lifetime in the making.

Though this book is inspired by my life experience, it will not be autobiographical at all. I am not famous, and autobiographies by non-famous people are the ultimate exercise in vanity. The only parts of the book that will be written in first person are the introduction, and the chapters on my field trips. The rest will be written in third person.

My first foray into book publishing was nine years ago, and it was an unmitigated disaster. My self-published book was an epic flop. I was in a rush to get it published, and the finished product was poorly written, edited, designed and produced. I got my ass handed to me, and lost money on it. I will not follow that model again.

Though I quit writing for a while, I never quit brainstorming, if you could call it that. I am constantly writing down my ideas on legal pads and on the memo app on my phone. I have had probably a dozen book ideas that never got off the ground. A plastic tote in my garage is the graveyard for my ideas. I am confident that this one will not end up there. Though I will work hard on it, I will not rush it to publication. If it takes ten years to research and write, so be it.

It is great to be writing again. I am excited about this project, and it has given me something to do when I am not at work. My only regret is that for 36 years, I didn’t have the courage to take on this project.

Keith W. Norris
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Super Member
Jun 20, 2015
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Congratulations on finding your passion. Now, while you're researching and writing, you will need to also research establishing a platform.

A platform will show that you have people who want to read what you write because, as you already know, being passionate about a subject is only part of the equation in nonfiction. You also have to establish there's an interest in what you espouse. And when you say it's been done before, you need to show what new twist or angle you bring to it. What do you bring to the game? And why should anyone want to read your theories? There are many books arguing both sides and some that present a case that they can co-exist. Most are written by experts: theologians, religious scholars, biblical researchers, scientists in a variety of fields. Without academic chops or some professional connection, I think it would be hard to build a case as to why anyone would want to read your case for or against the subject.

I'd recommend seeing what it will take to ultimately publish commercially, unless you plan on self-publishing, in which case I know literally nothing about that and can only wish you well.

And, as an aside, an autobiography by a non-famous person is usually more a memoir and can be quite fascinating and memorable, so don't dismiss the form entirely. I've read some very good ones.

I hope this journey brings you peace and fulfillment.

New Pastoralist

Jun 24, 2019
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This sounds like an interesting project. Like Mewellsmfu said, think about what you bring to the table. Since you are not a scientist, it might be interesting to hear about this as the story of your personal journey. Think of it as a kind of conversion story, just a conversion to atheism. Was it shocking to find yourself convinced of evolution? Liberating? How did rejecting the Genesis creation lead you to atheism? This may seem like an obvious question, but lots of Christians are comfortable with evolution. The Catholic Church, for example, allows for the possibility of evolution, just arguing that it was divinely guided. So think about why it was that when you rejected a literal seven-day creation, you became an atheist. I think people might be more receptive if you frame it as "This is what it means to me" rather than "I want to debunk these guys' cherished beliefs."

One thing you might want to think about is why the issue of creation vs. evolution blew up at the particular time it did. It had been bubbling under the surface for a while, but came to a head in the late 90's early 2000s. I have some suspicions, but haven't actually read up on it. There are likely good books and articles about it. Reading up on that might help give you some direction to your project. (Now I'm curious about what has been written. I may poke around a bit and will let you know if I come up with something interesting.)

You might find this article from the Biblical Archaeology Society interesting: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/creation-stories-in-genesis/?mqsc=E4066061&dk=ZE9A63Z40&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_medium=BHDWeek%20in%20Review%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=ZE9A63Z40 It discusses how the ancient Israelites would have understood their creation story.
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Elizabeth George's book Write Away