Need some advice

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satyesu

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I'll try not to make this too long.

I've been working on a project I had originally intended to be a sort of "generation book" for millennials explaining us in "our" own words, with me as a sort of presenter. I failed miserably at getting a decent amount of submissions of perspectives on a survey I made too long, so now I'm trying to do the same thing, only less crowdsourced. I'm starting with what Gen Y thinks of the politics of our lifetimes. No one born in the 90s was too involved with the stuff then, so I'm starting with George W Bush, 9/11, and the War on Terror, but it's coming out as a history even on my second try. I'm thinking maybe I don't have a solid enough concept of what I want the book to be or how to make it worth writing. Would anyone make some suggestions on what I should do - either how to write this or how to figure out what I want to write? :)
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If you're not an outliner, I would give it a go. If you want to trade publish it, you'll need an outline anyway. Try it several ways if necessary.

If you've already got an outline, then take a step back and ask what you really want to do with this book, why you're writing it. That may answer your questions.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

satyesu

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Any specific way you find best?
 

Siri Kirpal

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Are you asking me how to outline?

The way I do for non-fic is make a list of everything I want to include in the book. I do this by hand. Then I take a look at the list and decide which items need to go together, what chapters I need, what order those chapters should go in.

Since you want other people's input, I'd suggest including a list of what types of info you want from those other sources and include where you might put that information in each chapter.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

The Otter

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It depends on what you want to accomplish with this book. If it's a self-reflective exploration, a good approach might be how the political events of the nineties and early 2000s shaped the mentality and beliefs of this generation. Or how growing up with the Internet changed the culture. You don't necessarily need to do your own research, since there's already a lot of it out there that you can draw on. But I think you need an angle more specific than just "a book about millennials."
 

Boethius

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I've written three non-fiction books. The first one wrote itself-- the subject had its own logic and I didn't have to think much about organization. But my second book threw me. I had a lot of good ideas, but I couldn't seem to get it organized.

One morning, after a night of fretting and still in the dark before dawn, I remembered that long ago in college, I had taken a class from a retiring professor who was renown for his clear and readable prose and had written several best-sellers.

He set aside a class to talk about how he wrote his books.

His method was to take all his notes on 3x5 slips of paper. One thought per slip. He had shoe boxes full of slips. When he was in the mood to write a book, he took his boxes of slips and went through, collecting a pile of slips that felt like they might go into a book. Then he took the pile and started to sift them into piles that stuck together into chapters. He continued the process until he had a structure that made sense, then started working through the piles, writing.

The next day, I started collecting my ideas for a second book on slips. Then I proceeded to structure the slips into chapters. In a week I had managed to put together a reasonable proposal for the book, which my publisher accepted and I wrote. The book was not a best-seller by any means, the subject was rather obscure, but I was satisfied with the organization.

I used the same method for my third book. Not a best seller, but it did better than my second book and I like the results.

This method might work for you. I've tried to do it on computer, but there is something about shuffling physical slips of paper that is magic for me. It is really very simple. Put your ideas on slips, one idea to a slip, then shuffle the slips until you have a structure that feels right, then go.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away