This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Write That Nonfiction Book
The Whole Process
QUILLIFUL PUBLICATIONS Beaverton, Oregon
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK: THE WHOLE PROCESS By Katherine Ploeger Copyright © 2010 by Katherine Ploeger First Edition Released as an e-book in the United States of America Published by Quilliful Publications, 2850 Cedar Hills Blvd, #244 Beaverton, OR, 97005 USA Quillifulpublications.com This material may not be copied and distributed without the express written permission of the publisher. All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. Important Notice to Readers: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This information is sold with the understanding that the author and publisher are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or any other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Therefore, the Author and Publisher assume no responsibility to any person or persons in connection with the use of this publication, and this publication is sold with this understanding and none other. Using this book does not guarantee an increase in writing sales nor an increase in the quality of the writing. ISBN 978-0-938482-53-6 – e-book ISBN 978-0-938482-51-2 – printed book
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, Perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, However measured or far away. -- Henry David Thoreau --
“If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -- Toni Morrison --
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS LESSON 1 WELCOME About this Course Benefits for You. the Writer Objectives of the Course About the Author (Briefly) The Writing Process in Brief Should You Write a Book at All? Select Your Book Project Action Steps for Lesson 1 LESSON 2 DEFINE YOUR BOOK IDEA Your Initial Book Vision Sources of Nonfiction Book Ideas Analyze Your Initial Motivations To Write Your Book Action Step for Lesson 2 LESSON 3 EXPLORE YOUR AUDIENCE AND BOOK IDEA IN MORE DETAIL Who is Your Audience? Brainstorm About Your Book’s Content What Problem Are You Solving? What Solutions Are You Offering? Bring Your Book Ideas Together Action Steps for Lesson 3 7 8 13 13 13 14 17 18 22 24 24 26 28 29 30 30 33 38 39 39 40 41 41 54 55 56 58 85 88 89 89 LESSON 4 ORGANIZE YOUR IDEAS AND NOTES Organize and Review Your Notes & Resources Action Steps for Lesson 4 LESSON 5 DECIDE ON CONTENT AND FORMAT How Long Should Your Book Be? Develop Your Chapter Plan Formatting Your Manuscript Action Steps for Lesson 5 LESSON 6 RESEARCH YOUR CONTENT Research Your Book’s Content © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com .
com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 5 Action Steps for Lesson 6 LESSON 7 RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITION Benefits of Researching Your Competition How Do You Find Your Competition? Analyze your Competition Action Step for Lesson 7 LESSON 8 FINALIZE YOUR EXTENDED OUTLINE The Extended Outline Action Steps for Lesson 8 LESSON 9 DRAFT AND SIMMER Write the First Draft Simmer Action Steps for Lesson 9 LESSON 10 REVISION Benefits of Revision The Six Points of Revision The Process of Revision Revision Tips Action Steps for Lesson 10 LESSON 11 EDIT THE MANUSCRIPT Basic Editing Tips Your Writing Should be… The Editing Process Consistency Sentence Boundary Errors Modifiers Other issues at the Sentence Level Word Choices Punctuation Action Step for Lesson 11 LESSON 12 FINISH THE MANUSCRIPT Finishing Tasks before Pagination is Complete Finishing Tasks After Pagination is Complete Action Steps for Lesson 12 © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved 94 95 95 96 97 117 118 118 122 123 123 130 133 134 135 136 140 154 155 156 156 157 158 161 166 167 171 174 179 183 184 185 187 189 quillifulpublications.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 6 CONCLUSION References About Katherine Ploeger Other Quilliful Publications by Katherine Ploeger 189 191 192 194 © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com .
You must also shift your thinking. whether digitally or between paper covers. You. Others want to entertain readers with their humor or challenge them with their arguments or philosophy. daunting task easier since it is broken into smaller chunks of work.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 7 LESSON 1 WELCOME TO THE COURSE Many people want to write a book. sometimes overwhelming when viewed as an entire project. and. more than 85% of the adults in America want to write a book of some kind. This course presents just such a process. devoting thought and energy to the process. as a writer. Many people find that writing a book can be a daunting experience. but still. And a lot of frustrated writers or wannabe writers.com . can write the book you’ve been dreaming of writing all these months or years but haven’t done so yet. see your book in print. giving up other activities in order to achieve your goals. if you have a step-by-step process to follow. making the huge. I’m sure that number would include novels as well as nonfiction. more than likely. Then you will write the book you were meant to write. You must make writing the book a priority in your life. that’s a lot of potential books to be written. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Some people want to write about their life experiences while others want to discuss solutions they’ve found to a problem they have encountered. According to one statistic I read somewhere.
Of course. but this course is written for the publishing writer. You will. money is only one possible. if you will – for you to complete. The old “font and vessel” method of teaching – with the teacher as the font of knowledge and the students as the receiving vessel – has long been proven less effective than other methods of instruction. if you follow the BookNotes in the course. By participating in the activities in this course. In instructional terms. you are more involved than if you were simply reading a book or listening to a lecture or ipod presentation. your primary motivation is to help your readers overcome the problem you are writing about. • The course has a major project associated with it. Why are these materials presented as a course? This question plagued me in the beginning and throughout the development of this course: should it be a course or just a book? I decided on the course for the following reasons: • The materials present action steps and exercises – homework. Hopefully. No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money. ABOUT THIS COURSE Write That Nonfiction Book: The Whole Process focuses on the entire writing process and presents techniques to accomplish that goal. With these activities. you practice the techniques and information taught. That’s fine for them. complete a nonfiction book manuscript by the end of the course. without the intention of ever being published. There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 8 Why do people write books? Some people write for their own enjoyment. • People learn better if they are fully engaged in the learning process. Even watching a dvd. that is a term project. Alan Loy McGinnis said. desirable outcome. engaging two of © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Samuel Johnson said.com .
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
the three learning faculties (hearing and seeing) is less effective than using all three, as this course uses. • As a long time, (now former) college English professor, I think of materials in terms of course materials – topics and exercises – though I have written many books as well. I simply enjoy course development a little more than writing books, which I thoroughly love as well, by the way. So these materials are presented, and called, a course. This course can be used to write any nonfiction book, regardless of genre or topic, length, or publication route chosen by the author. Some of the content addresses writing to be published in printed form (hardcover and paperback books), while some refers to e-books and other information products. I’ve had (and currently am having) experience with both, so I write from personal experience. Although the nonfiction book writing process presented here is applicable to any length of book, from a 10-page e-book to a 300-page manuscript, the focus is on writing longer manuscripts for full-length books. You should use it for the book project you want to write. Take what works and leave the rest for another project. Whatever the publication route chosen by the author – whether that involves being published by a traditional publisher or self-publishing – the process of writing the manuscript is the same. Thus this course will mention, only in passing, information about the publication route. That’s a topic for another publication entirely. This course is aimed at the beginning to intermediate writer although I’m sure some advanced writers might find some tidbits useful. If you have some writing credits on your resume, then you’re ahead of the game because you’ve developed some habits and processes that work for you. If you don’t have any writing credits, or haven’t written a book yet, don’t worry. We all started with a blank resume page. Take a deep breath and plunge right in.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
The focus here is to provide you, the writer, with practical, tested techniques, step-by-step instructions, insights and helpful tips that will enable you to write nonfiction books. Try the process for yourself. If it doesn’t work, or works only partially, then change the system to suit your own needs and go from there. The most important achievement is to write and have that written work out in the world where it can help others. One more idea: unless you’re writing a ten-page e-book that is essentially a list of ideas or points, you should not expect this process to be quick or simple. Writing a nonfiction book aimed at being published - at least 100 manuscript pages – is a complicated task. Yet, if you break the writing process into manageable chunks and perform each chunk in sequence, the mountain becomes a series of manageable molehills, and the task becomes achievable. You can WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! Eleanor Roosevelt said: It takes as much energy to wish as to plan.
Action Steps and BookNotes
Throughout the course, you will be doing two kinds of exercises: • Action Steps are included after each lesson. They will enable you to practice the general skills and techniques offered, but the results will not be part of your book project. • BookNotes are those manageable chunks of the book writing process. Finishing them will enable you to write your own book project. They are described in the BookNote boxes. Do these tasks on separate pieces of paper and add them to your project binder. Often a grid or table will be described, which you can use to create a worksheet using your word processing software. Many of these Action Steps and BookNotes use brainstorming or freewriting techniques. Let me explain each of these techniques for generating writing ideas:
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
• Brainstorming involves listing ideas in short phrases or single words, generating quantity without evaluating the results. The brainstorming rules are described later in this course. • Freewriting involves writing whatever comes to mind about the topic, including all your detours of thought, for about five to ten minutes, or until you hand gives out. Write the thoughts that come to you, no matter how weird or off the track. Again, go for quantity of words, and DON’T STOP WRITING until the time is up. Then analyze your results for ideas to use in your book. Samuel Johnson said: What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.
How to Prepare for Success
To be successful with this course and to finish the book project you select, • Set aside time for the work each week. Pick a day and time (the same day and time each week would be great) of enough hours to get the work done. Make sure you can eliminate as many distractions as possible. • The time set aside should be a block of several hours, if that is at all possible. • Take any feedback received as useful criticism offered to help you achieve your goals. Don’t take it personally; they are not saying you are a bad person, just that your words don’t make sense. • If you have downloaded the course, print it out and place it in a 3-ring binder (at least 2”), with tabs for each chapter or section, as you desire. Then you can highlight and add notes at will. • Have a separate binder for your book project, to include your notes and writing generated from the Booknotes. The project binder is also the location for your growing manuscript. That way, they’re all in one place. Writing a book takes commitment, time and energy, as well as a continuing level of passion. Put it all together, and you can write your book.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
and you want to add notes to a section or chapter. suddenly the work will finish itself. The tabs will keep you organized. You might want to put a small stack of binder paper in the back of the binder for those times when you’re away from your computer. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate. BookNote #1 CREATE YOUR PROJECT BINDER Create your project binder with tabs to your preference. And yet. I have found Faulkner right about this. to hold together all your notes and drafts for the manuscript you’ll be creating while working through this course. which is disappointing but reality: William Faulkner The word never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you will wake up somebody. create a project binder for the results of the BookNote actions. Your Project Binder As previously mentioned.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 12 Isak Dinesen said: When you have a great and difficult task. something perhaps almost impossible. or a section for describing the problem and another for the solution. too. if you only work a little at a time.com . every day a little. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said: Perseverance is a great element of success. one for each chapter of your book project. Include at least ten or twelve tabs or dividers. You might also want to have a different set of tabs for the various large topics for research and discussion.
Here are few tidbits about me that will help you feel more confident about my capabilities to present this course. • Have a completed nonfiction book manuscript. I developed and presented private © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. mostly writing and business writing. OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE By the end of the course.F. I am a professional educator. divided into manageable chunks with techniques scattered throughout to help facilitate the process. It’s your choice. Take a week to do three chapters or a day to do one BookNote. a home study course.A. I have developed many courses and written/published materials for those courses over the years. At one time. ready for publishers or self-publishing. step-by-step process. Franklin D. M. M.com . • The course is presented in a practical. you should have the following: • Know and understand the process of writing a nonfiction book. you should gain a few benefits: • This course is self-paced.A. having taught at the college/university level for more than 15 years in English courses. You can do it as fast or as slow as you want.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 13 BENEFITS OF COMPLETING THE COURSE If you complete this course. ABOUT THE AUTHOR (BRIEFLY) I am Katherine Ploeger. Roosevelt said: Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. • Have a reference (the course materials) to help you do it again with your next book..
writing ability.F. trying to find the fastest. given your situation. knowledge of the topic. I have written books. Prewriting Activities Prewriting involves all the activities used to prepare for the first draft. with a few other groups thrown in for good measure. I developed the process presented in this course during many years of writing nonfiction books.A. A more detailed biography can be found at the back of this course.quillifulpublications. travelers. your first draft should be fairly easy to write. These hard-earned lessons and techniques took years to realize. THE WRITING PROCESS IN BRIEF I write using a six-step process. doing preliminary content research. www. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. just for fun. With enough preparation.com . 1. articles. They are passed on to you in the hopes that you don’t have to struggle as much as I did. The prewriting stage involves deciding on your vision for the book. and adolescent novels.A. The process is fairly standard.) in Screenwriting from Chapman University (2005). and typing speed. with a few added extras I’ve found useful during my many years of writing. I am a published writer. I hold a Master’s degree (M. and ends with creating an Extended Outline. I’ve focused on serving writers. easiest. and lots of other publications. and most successful process. booklets.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 14 workshops for writers in Orange County. educators and students. This course is actually based on one of those workshops. course materials.) in English – Composition (teaching people to write better) from San Francisco State University (1994) and an Master of Fine Arts degree (M. I also write cryptograms. exploring that vision.com/about). having self-published and been published by traditional publishers more than 40 titles. (You can see my Publication Credits on my website. family film screenplays. CA.
Simmering Simmering forces you away from the finished first draft. Revision takes at least 50% of your project time. This stage is not the time to edit for commas. get published or help others with your written wisdom. if ever.com . you’ll rarely. 3. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. 2. so don’t show it to anyone. talk to potential readers and other writers about your book idea. Just accept that fact – it’s one reality of writing. 4. You will read the manuscript many times before finishing this stage – or at least you should. Getting Feedback: once you have a really good version of your book. The first draft is a way to get your ideas and vision out of your mind and onto paper where you can work with it (called ‘revision’).WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 15 Getting Feedback: at this stage of the process. What questions would they expect to be answered in your book? What thoughts do they have about the topic. enlist the people on your reader list to critique the manuscript. It’s not going to be pretty or good. Drafting Drafting creates the first draft of the manuscript. Leave the editing until later. to give you time to recuperate from the intense process of creating the draft and to allow you to see the draft more clearly when you return. If you skimp on this stage. The first draft is essentially a dump of your knowledge and ideas onto paper or the computer file. create a list of potential readers. the market. the audiences? Would they be willing to read nearly completed or finished drafts and give honest feedback? Also. Revising Revising focuses on the ideas you’ve presented in your manuscript. one you are happy with (you will have revised it many times to get to this point). their organization and development. whom you will approach later to read your near-final manuscript.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 16 5. then having a reader unfamiliar with the topic isn’t as important because the audience is more sophisticated. They need to be good readers of nonfiction books. and send the manuscript out into the world. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. spelling. this “unfamiliar” reader is essential. at least one reader should have no clue about your topic because she will ask the questions beginners to your material will ask. consistency of format and headers. do one final read-through. Always give them a few weeks to read and comment on your manuscript. You know the ideas are organized and developed the way you want them. Revise from this editor’s comments. In fact. and you have revised enough. and other issues. Getting Feedback: after your readers are done with your manuscript. Of course. But for a book aimed at the general consumer audience. They don’t necessarily have to understand the topic you’re writing about. that everything is explained and illustrated well. Editing Editing corrects all those surface errors of grammar. hanging over their shoulder. usage. 6. and so on. simmer.com . This stage involves checking references and resources. that there aren’t any duplications of content. concise. if your materials are aimed at the advanced or practitioner level. Finishing Finishing involves tasks to make sure the manuscript is accurate and consistent. reading with publication in mind. Finding Ideal Readers to Critique Your Manuscript Your ideal readers to critique your manuscript are those who are willing to read carefully and comment honestly. Don’t be a pest. It’s your choice. Your task with editing is to make sure these are expressed well. that is. and complete. that is the time to have a professional editor critique the manuscript for both content and editing issues. but she might point out some interesting gaps. You need a pair of trained eyes looking at the manuscript. Let them read in their own time. the writing is clear. people who read a lot and have the rhythm of the written language in their minds.
You shouldn’t be writing because the process will cause you too much pain.and those are the only reasons you write . Margaret Mead said: I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 17 SHOULD YOU WRITE A BOOK AT ALL? Writing a book can take a lot of time. Know your reasons for writing. any book. A good idea at this point is to understand (and write down) your reasons for wanting to write a book. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. and sacrifice. of creating articles and books for your readers. If you write for fame and fortune from your published work. then continue. They should be voracious readers and admire those who can write instead. on the other hand. or other external benefits . But it can be done if you put your mind to it. you can continue to think about writing the book until the idea simply fades away with age – its age and yours. These people should not write a book. and you won’t accomplish much anyway. You’re in the right mindset to write a nonfiction book. or speak in front of large crowds who applaud your efforts. passion.com . If. John Goddard said: Some people wait so long for their ship to come in. effort.then get out of this business. to appear on all the talk shows. you write because you love the moment-by-moment process of putting words on paper. their pier collapses. energy. found at the end of this lesson. Some people may dream of writing a book. or sharing your knowledge and experience to help your readers. It gives you a few questions to answer regarding your reasons for writing a book. Then again. You might want to do Action Step #1 now. but the process is simply too painful or exhausting.
go with that feeling and list those stirring ideas. press on to select your book project idea. So right now. Step 1: Find Possible Book Project Ideas List all nonfiction book ideas you’ve had that still interest you. shoeboxes. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. is a kind of joy that is almost unequaled. and old ideas may no longer be relevant to our lives. If you have only one project in mind. I wanted to know what I was going to say.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 18 SELECT YOUR BOOK PROJECT One of the aims of this course is for you to practice the steps while completing a nonfiction book manuscript by the end of the course. we all grow and change. The old ideas may have lost their luster. you need to select one idea to work on. to me. You might want to go through all your files. or you are adamant about doing one idea. But some may stir your heart again. Otherwise. so they won’t be viable. and notes (computer and paper) to remind yourself of those ideas that seemed great at the time but that you have now forgotten. Lawrence Welk said: To be granted some usable talent and to be able to use it to the fullest extent of which you are capable – that.com . folders. Sharon O’Brien said: Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work each morning. then you can skip this process.
Your topic might require a manuscript of between 100 and 300 pages. Use these ideas as criteria for your selection. Use the criteria that are essential for your fulfillment and enjoyment with this project. Step 2: Determine Criteria for Selecting Your Book Project Select the criteria you know to be important for this decision. Or use your own. requiring fewer pages. as some misguided gurus advocate. Realize that once you get going. it is my belief that the money and fame may (or may not) follow. If you follow your passions.com . the project may expand in length and scope as you get excited about the topic and add © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Here are a few ideas to use for selecting your book project. coming up with ideas you truly want to spend time on. • It should involve a book length that you feel comfortable writing. preferably one you’ve been fascinated and worked with for many years. The writing process described in this course works on all lengths of nonfiction books. Please don’t pick a topic that will require you to pull a lot of materials from other authors. with your tested solutions and experiences. training. Don’t worry about whether the book will make you rich or famous. but at least you’ve spent time on a project and topic you truly enjoy. But if that scares you just a bit (or a lot). • The topic or problem should involve a personal passion. and experience. Don’t just rehash the content of others. • It should use your expertise through credentials. from 10 or 1000 pages (both of which I have done). Think about your expectations for the writing experience and the outcome (the good ones). pick a simpler topic. This first book should be from your mind.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 19 BookNote #2 LIST POSSIBLE BOOK IDEAS Brainstorm all viable book project ideas.
The last column holds the Total Points.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 20 confidence about your writing ability.com . Continue with the selection process. one point per column. Label the next columns with the criteria to be used. BookNote #3 SELECT CRITERIA FOR YOUR BOOK PROJECT Brainstorm your list of criteria to use in selecting your project idea. Just make sure that you come up with an idea you are committed to writing by the end of this lesson. Pick the most important ideas. Pick a goal that is slightly beyond your comfort zone. creating the second volume in your series or a second book on the topic. Step 3: Rate Your Book Project Idea Rate your ideas generated in Step 1 to the criteria generated in Step 2. • The number of rows = number of titles + 1. Or you can use your own. List the titles of your possible book projects in the first column (to form the rows). Create a grid or table with several columns and rows. Below is one technique for this rating. • The project or topic should challenge you but not put you into a panic. Your grid should look like this: TITLES CRITERIA #1 CRITERIA #2 CRITERIA #3 TOTAL POINTS TITLE #1 TITLE #2 TITLE #3 TITLE #4 © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. You may even have to cut it down or split it in half. as follows • The number of columns = number of points of criteria for the rating + 2.
When you are done. BookNote #4 SELECT YOUR BOOK IDEA Rate your book ideas with your criteria.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 21 For each book idea. put a check mark in that box. We’ll get to them later. several versions of your Table of Contents. these are preliminary ideas. ask yourself if the idea meets that point. as you see it right now. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. total the checks and write the total in the right hand column. Talk to your readers and friends about it. Pick one that satisfies all the criteria decided upon earlier. or whatever. about your book project: 1. If you have a box full of notes. That’s the book that best meets your needs as a writer. The row with the most points wins. If not. leave the box blank. just jot down your ideas as you see the book project. Right now. Then commit to the idea. On a separate piece of paper or computer file. One paragraph synopsis – what is the problem to be addressed? What are the solutions you will offer? How will you structure and organize the book? 4. Any other ideas or visions you have for the book. titled “I Have Decided to Write About…” note the following information. Remember. They will change before your final manuscript goes to market. put them aside for now. napkins with diagrams. One or two sentences of description 3. Decide on Your Book Project The last task for this lesson is to decide on the book project you’ll write with this course. If it does.com . A working title 2.
Tinker with the process until it works well for you. What do you. with as much detail as possible. Keep this write-up handy and compare it to the process described in this course. hope to gain from writing a book (what benefits)? c. Be realistic about your schedule. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. 2. personally. List the blocks of time you have available to write. Start small and build as the momentum for the project (and its priority in your life) builds. a. write out your current writing process. What are your fantasies about your writing career? File your answers after this page in your Course binder. change your own process to eliminate the frustrating bits. you will always be able to see farther. Add other notes and ideas as they occur to you. Brainstorm or freewriting about your reasons for wanting to write a book. any book. as much as possible. Note your frustrations with your process. Commit to as many chunks as possible. Implement the new process and see if it works any better than the old one. What are your reasons for wanting to write a book (any book)? b. What do you hope your readers will gain? d. If it would help.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 22 BookNote #5 I HAVE DECIDED TO WRITE ABOUT… Answer the four questions about your chosen book project. Write down your answers now and add to your list as you continue with the course and with life. Schedule your writing time to work on this course and your book project.com . 3. ACTI ON STEP S F OR LE SSON #1 1. Zig Zigler said: Go as far as you can see and when you get there.
Start a list of people who might agree to critique your writing.com . Flatter helps here. one by one. with your intention to write your book (and complete this course). Mention your need for a great reader and your need for honest criticism. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 23 4. Begin to approach them.
com . © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you’ll spend time writing that you could or should be doing something else. (And make sure your family and support system understand the importance of this project to you. translations into many languages. Realize that you’ll have to make sacrifices to write your book.the fantasies can be endless. a new home. Les Brown said: When you face your fear. Visions of millions of printed copies flying off bookstore shelves. You’re finally ready to get serious about writing your book. a huge impact on many lives. awards. It empowers us to overcome obstacles so we can live our dreams. That’s only natural. We all need some form of deeply rooted powerful motivation. most of the time you will discover that it wasn’t really such a big threat after all.) You’re actually going to WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! William Makepeace Thackeray said: There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. personally and for your career as a writer. The book has become important to you. At the very least. a fat bank account .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 24 LESSON 2 DEFINE YOUR BOOK IDEA Congratulations! You’ve got a book project you’ll turn into a manuscript. YOUR INITIAL BOOK VISION I’m sure you’ve fantasized about this book you’re about to write. You’ve passed a milestone many would-be writers never overcome: taking action to actually write the book rather than just daydream or talk about it endlessly.
start to observe books you like. lose something. describe them in writing. Add to your collection of visions over the next few days or weeks. text font. but use your writer’s (or selfpublisher’s) eyes rather than your reader’s eyes. as they occur to you. such as inform in an entertaining or humorous way? • Benefits for your readers . workshops. and so on? Will it be printed or electronic. awards. cover art.com . or not. persuade. gain something. colors. Keep writing and brainstorming until you are exhausted. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. These books can be about your topic. illustrations. workshops.What do you want to gain from this book’s success: money. shape. Dream beyond the realms of “what’s possible. What works that you’d like to include in your own book? What doesn’t work. make them better people? • Benefits for yourself . but for right now. Look at the ways the author and publisher present the materials. more books)? • Other dreams. Also. or entertain? Or do you want to do a combination. talk shows might you become involved with to talk about your topic and book? • Future projects – What might this book lead to (consulting. college classes. fame.What will it actually look like: dimensions.Will the book help them solve a problem. so you can leave that out of your book? You’ll do a detailed analysis of your competition later in the course. or the joy of writing a book? • Audience or target markets – Who are your readers? • Encounters with readers – Where will you encounter your readers? • Speaking engagements – What conferences.” Here are some topics to think and write about: • Content ideas – What topics do you see included in your book? Will you include exercises? Pictures? Tables or figures? • Physical appearance . webinars.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 25 Acknowledge your fantasies about your book project. Let your imagination run wild. on the bestseller list? Or satisfaction from helping people with a problem.” or worse “what’s probable. just observe the design and content details you like and don’t like. or both? • Purpose – Do you want to inform.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. The last ones will be the best ones. This personal need might have come from a challenging situation that needed a solution that you found. outside your circle of personal contacts. Often the really creative ideas will come after all the predictable ones have been stated. SOURCES OF NONFICTION BOOK IDEAS This question is one of the most common topics asked of successful writers by beginners: where do you get your ideas? The answer is. In discussing your solution with others.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 26 BookNote #6 INITIAL VISIONS OF MY BOOK PROJECT Brainstorm about your vision for this book project. creating essential energy for the writing process. Michael LeBoeuf said: The creative person is the master rather than the slave of his imagination. the impetus for a project often comes from a personal need. Thus. This source is one of the best sources because your book project is fueled by your personal experience. mine each of these sources for the gems you can unearth. rather than 10 predictable ones.” In brainstorming about your book project. From Personal Needs and Experiences For nonfiction books. Dig deeply. “Everywhere. you learned that it worked for them as well. Anne-Sophie Swetchine said: To have ideas is to gather flowers. To think is to weave them into garlands. you want to share these successful strategies with others. Go for 20 or 30 ideas. discussing the points mentioned.
you might be the one to write the book. I have found this need for information has generated more book ideas than I could ever write. or any other area of life. From a Personal Passion or Expertise Of course. can become a book. Eavesdropping on strangers’ complaints is also a valuable source of ideas. write the book yourself. Writers are natural born eavesdroppers for good reason: the conversations can be invaluable. education and expertise about the topic. as Toni Morrison said in the opening quote for this course. if you’ve spent so much time with a topic to become an expert in it. and create the book. but a book brought forth from a personal passion. your business life. institutions. follow your passion. Eric Hoffler said: It still holds true that man is most uniquely human when he turns obstacles into opportunities. From Complaints and Comments of Others You might find book ideas while listening to friends or clients complain about specific issues. or at least many years. Go with your heart.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 27 Another personal need is a need for the information. These needs can involve your personal life. With these complaints. you may hear a different perspective from your own. your career. Obviously. The seed comes from deep within. If you have a lot of personal experience and knowledge.com . passion is required for any writing project. perhaps one you’ve found fascinating since childhood. thus giving you added insight into the topic. it is probably one of your passions in life. or at least hear the problem described differently. and problems. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. If you can’t find the information anywhere else.
Think about the following questions to get you started: • Do you remember the details surrounding your own involvement in the problem? • Did you experience the problem.com . or was it a friend’s or client’s problem? • How did you feel about the problem? • What were the symptoms or elements of the problem? • How did the problem present itself? • How did it affect those around you? • How did you feel about your ability to solve it? At first? Later on? Eventually. other issues concerning the problem? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. BookNote #7 BRAINSTORM YOUR SOURCES OF IDEAS Brainstorm about the sources for your book project. ANALYZE YOUR INITIAL MOTIVATIONS TO WRITE YOUR BOOK Think back to that moment you realized you needed or wanted to write a book about a problem or situation. and with your personal twist on it. it becomes a new book.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 28 From Outside Sources Outside sources also provide copious ideas for writers. distractions. Record your ideas either as brainstorming or freewriting. whether you wrote the original article or not. You might find material that needs updating. A magazine article can spur you to expand on the topic and write the book. from newspaper or Internet articles to televised news reports. complaints. when the problem was solved? • What were your doubts or misgivings? • What were your fears.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 29 • How did your ability to solve the problem change over time. Add to it as more ideas and realizations of expertise hit you. not necessarily related to your current book project. or attempts at solutions? BookNote #8 ANALYZE YOUR INITIAL MOTIVATIONS TO WRITE THIS BOOK Freewrite (or brainstorm) about your initial realization that you had this book in you. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. This list could provide writing projects for years to come. Actio n St ep fo r Lesson #2 1. Look at your hobbies. Play with this list. etc. and it wanted out. topics friends ask your advice about. Brainstorm about each source of information for ideas and areas of expertise you feel comfortable writing about.com . knowledge. with more experience. Examine your entire life experience for areas of passion and expertise.
Use those questions you think might help you understand your audience better: • What age? Is your book aimed at a specific age group. say younger people.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 30 LESSON 3 EXPLORE YOUR AUDIENCE AND BOOK IDEA IN MORE DETAIL Before setting words to the first draft.com . and serve their needs with your book. you must explore your book topic. including the knowledge you already have and the questions you need to answer. Answer the following questions about your audiences. what does that gender prefer with books or information products? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. WHO IS YOUR AUDIENCE? Learn as much as you can about your audience so you can write for them. • What gender? Does your book cater to a specific gender or both? If only one. reach them through your marketing. you can acquire a fuller picture of your book’s content and marketplace. or is it appropriate for any adult? Your audience’s age will greatly impact your writing style and the information presented. What groups do they fall into? Be creative and really stretch your mind to find all those who might use your book. Using the techniques in this lesson. Talk to others about your book and ask them who else might be interested or helped by your book.
and some of the information will be hard to find. as with experiencing the solutions with hands-on exercises? Do they need step-by-step instructions. should pictures be included for each step? Brainstorm how you can include these styles and techniques of learning. Take your topic and break it down into smaller chunks. and shorter words. you don’t want to waste too many words on the basics. • How do they best process information? How do they best learn – through hearing (audio). The lower the education level. Start your research about your audience here. shorter sentences. they may want additional details.com . • What do they want to know? Beyond basic needs about the topic. But I would recommend two main avenues to find this information. If you are catering to college-educated adults. a workbook. but remember that your goal is to communicate. You’ll learn more about your audience in Lesson 7.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 31 • How well educated are they? What is their typical reading level? Your writing style must cater to your audience’s reading levels. or by doing activities. It might take some testing rather than research to find the answers. so keeping the language simple is a good idea. you can write at a higher level. or on dvd). If it is appropriate to your audience. If they are at an intermediate level. • What other topics are they interested in? Related interests might generate ideas for related books. • Your own personal experience and knowledge. • What information do they need to know to solve the problem or use the information in your book? The answer will dictate your book’s content. the simpler the writing must be: shorter chapters. Brainstorm all the possible spin-offs you might create. You should be able to answer some of the questions out of your own experiences and © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. seeing (reading. a CD of a presentation. • What is the audience’s knowledge about your topic? You don’t want to write too simply nor beyond their comprehension. How to Find Audience Information The questions above are complicated. Each chunk might become a more detailed book. then add it to your list of future projects. when you analyze your competition. so that they can understand and implement your techniques and actions. Look at products offered.
read books and determine the information yourself from your analysis of the reading. but it was difficult. I finally did find some figures of market size to use in a book proposal. BookNote #9 WHO IS MY AUDIENCE? Record the information you know and learn about your audience. will take some time and effort. you’ll probably find the information you need. Remember back to when the topic was new: o What questions did you have? o What frustrated you? o Where did you seek help? o What were the results? o Did you have to try several solutions before finding the one that actually worked for you? Realize that today information is much more accessible on the Internet than it was twenty years ago. For example. The main goal here is learn as much as you can in the beginning of your process.com . but when I went to the Internet and typed in “book market size” and the topic. unless someone else had already done the research for you. Get on the Internet. then try the second method. while maintaining your vision as much as possible. • Research. After all. Brainstorm or freewrite about each question and see what comes up. talk to your audience members. But eventually. If nothing comes. research. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you have been a reader and have experienced the topic of your book before you became a writer.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 32 knowledge. This focus will reduce the amount of wasted time spent on writing information that won’t be part of the book. read blogs and get involved with online forums. I was trying to find out the market size for a particular topic of book. I got everything but the information I wanted. so you can tailor your content to your readers. So tap that knowledge. And it will take creativity with search words and other places to look. So realize that learning about your target market.
along with my own rules. Add © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Every idea is of equal value at this stage of the process. as well as with my own writing efforts. Realize the first 10 ideas will be predictable. I’ve one question. Give yourself a time limit and write (or type) as fast as you can. crazy. Write them all down. • Go for speed. • Go for the silly. It can be planted again and again and is always ready for further use. • List every idea that hits your mind. • Go for quantity. Get as many ideas as you can down in that time period. • Do not evaluate any idea as it is written down. Do not ponder negative consequences of an idea. Here are the rules of brainstorming: • Know the purpose of the brainstorming session before starting. Write the goal at the top of your page. Myron Allen said: An idea is a kind of wonderful seed. Be both realistic and fantastic with your ideas.com . Dr. one focus at a time. The later ones will result from tapping into your creative imagination. The Rules of Brainstorming Before we get into my technique. taken from the six reporter’s questions of journalism. impossible ideas. You can read more about Osborne’s techniques and wisdom in Applied Imagination (1963). based on my experiences with clients and students. exaggerated.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 33 BRAINSTORM ABOUT YOUR BOOK’S CONTENT I have developed a technique called Expanded Brainstorming Questions. Use the questions you list to force your mind to think about all aspects of your book’s content. you need to understand the rules of brainstorming. no matter how silly or impossible. These are based on the rules Alex Osborne came up with for his consulting work with advertising clients. bringing the count to seven questions.
which leads to another. Write the idea down. using one idea to jump into another. and about brainstorming. If you can answer all the questions presented. Expanded Brainstorming Questions Technique Now that you know more about your audience. or have a lot of paper on hand because you will do a lot of writing for this exercise. those questions journalists and reporters ask to learn and write about all the details necessary for an article. Come up with at least ten questions for each reporter’s question. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. which will occur. you can brainstorm about the details of your book project. The Expanded Brainstorming Questions technique asks you to brainstorm as many questions as possible for each reporter’s question: • Who • What • Where • When • Why • How • How much or how many (Quantity) I’ve added the seventh question that relates to quantity: how much or how many.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 34 to the list as ideas occur when you’re doing other activities. then get back to your purpose for the brainstorming session. Step 1: Write Your Questions For each of the seven questions. Here is the process for the Expanded Brainstorming Questions Technique. • Piggyback on ideas.com . One of the best idea generating techniques uses the reporter’s questions. write as many questions as you can that start with that word. you will form a complete picture of your topic. Use the silly ideas to generate great ideas that will actually work. Take some time to do this (perhaps a few days). Don’t worry about detours that seem to go off your purpose. Open a new computer file.
“What is the ideal method for marketing this © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. put it into the Question Doesn’t Fit category at the end. If something doesn’t fit. These categories may become the chapters in your book. However. Step 4: Move/Rewrite the Questions to their Categories Rewrite or move each question into its appropriate category. if you think better with a pen in hand. Add any other questions that occur to you that should be in the category. Combine and reword any questions that involve the same idea. you might write: • Who is involved? • Who cares? • Who benefits? • Who works with the topic? • Who is opposed to this topic? • Who sets the industry standards? • Who has organized groups related to the topic? Do this exercise on the computer. or they may be tossed.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 35 For example. These questions may generate additional categories. so you can move questions around in later stages of the exercise. Step 3: Sequence Your Categories Put your categories into a reasonable. b.com . Create space on this file or a new one so that you can do the next step. For example. Step 5: Check the Questions in Each Category Read through all the questions for each category and do the following: a. Step 2: Label Each Question as to its Category Read through the questions you’ve generated and determine the major categories or groups into which your questions will fit. you’ve identified categories of information that should fit into your book. you might ask. for Who. logical sequence. At the very least. then type them into the computer later. Often the same idea will be repeated in two or three question groups. write these out.
” Could you use an analogy in your book. or cross them out. to be ignored from now on. Development Methods as Idea Triggers Another idea generating technique uses the development methods used in writing essays and other college writing assignments (usually taught in Freshman Composition).com . If in doubt. Step 6: Identify Usable Questions for Your Book Identify the questions to use in your book. You can always eliminate it later. you might write “How should I market this book?” These two questions are asking the same thing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 36 book?” and then later. Step 7: Answer the Questions Chosen Your answers to the chosen questions will produce the content for your book. the first method is “Analogy. include it on your list of questions to answer. For each development method. either to explain a complicated section or to explain the entire problem or solution? Remember that an analogy is really an extended © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Identify any questions that simply won’t help with your book. brainstorm all the ways you could use this method with your book project. BookNote #10 USE THE EXPANDED BRAINSTORMING QUESTIONS TECHNIQUE Use this technique with your own book project. c. For example. Either move them to the “Questions Don’t Fit” box. Take the one that best describes your intention and cross out the other one.
The readers understand the freeway system.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 37 metaphor. Thus you have a string of causes. or discuss a causal string. but creating your own is much more fun. and so on to describe the various aspects of the human body. or consequence. types. which discusses a cause that leads to an effect. functions. with several (5 or 6) points of similarity between the two items being compared. traits. preferably one you have created that fits the group.com . in describing the human system of blood flow. For example. That’s an analogy. You could discuss speed limits and blood flow. and the exit ramps equating to the capillaries.an item can go in only one category – and each group has a name. result. examples. benefits. • Description (write of the physical traits of the item using all five senses) • Division (divide the big thing into small groups of things) • Example or illustration (these examples can be a few words or a whole chapter. and so on. • Analysis (dividing the whole into parts and then discussing the relationships of the parts to each other and to the whole) • Cause and Effect (discuss one cause and its effect. discuss its denotative and connotative meanings. Here is the list of development methods to use: • Analogy (with 5 to 6 or more points of similarity) Hint: start with the major points you want to emphasize. users. • Compare (show similarities between two or more things) • Contrast (show differences between two or more things) • Classification (create a system of categories or groupings so that the groups’ members are mutually exclusive . and they will learn to understand your points about the human body’s blood flow system. • Definition (define the item. You can use other people’s classification systems if you have to. they can be phrases or case histories or other ways of telling about an object) • Metaphor and Simile (comparing two items with one similar named trait) © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. with the main freeways equating to the main arteries. you could use the analogy of a freeway system. then find something that has the same points that you can use for the analogy. the parts. its history. which becomes a cause for the next effect. car crashes and blood clots.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 38 • Process Analysis (the step-by-step instructions or general advice of accomplishing some goal or performing some operation) • Reasons (reasons and evidence back up an argument) • Summary (summaries state the key points made) BookNote #11 USE DEVELOPMENT METHODS AS IDEA TRIGGERS Use this technique with your book project. WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU SOLVING? Most nonfiction books solve a problem of some kind. the discussion is still probably trying to solve a reader’s problem.com . You must know and understand the problem in order to write your book. Your book’s problem might be fairly common. explore your book’s problem. Albert Einstein wrote: We can’t solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking that we used when we created them. Make sure the problem is fairly focused to be useful. Even if the treatment of the topic is subtle at its core. one problem per book. or it might be an issue for a small portion of the population (make sure it is large enough to justify writing a book on it). BookNote #12 WHAT PROBLEM AM I SOLVING? Using either of the techniques described in this lesson (or both).
Briefly. or your solution may involve several steps or phases. For each solution. For the BookNote called “My Book is About…” answer the following questions: 1. each taking a chapter. With this information. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. using either or both of the techniques in this lesson. discussing the structure and content of the book. 2. You may offer several solutions with one per chapter. And you’ve made a good start on your book. In one or two sentences. BRING YOUR BOOK IDEAS TOGETHER Bring together all your ideas from the previous BookNotes. what is your book’s topic or subject matter? 3.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 39 WHAT SOLUTIONS ARE YOU OFFERING? The solutions to the problem will take up most of your book. what is your book about? 4. Write out a description of your book. as much as you now know. What is the title of your book at this point? It’s okay if it’s only a working title. use one or both of the idea generating techniques described in this lesson to explore the solutions you plan to offer. you’ve got something to play with. Again. to make sure your solution makes sense and won’t harm the people you are trying to help. make sure you have personally tested the technique on other people as well as yourself (if you have suffered from the problem).com . BookNote #13 WHAT SOLUTIONS AM I OFFERING? Explore the solutions you will offer your readers.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 40 5. How will your book be different from the other books on the market? 9. 10. primary research you’ll do. make a list of other problems you’d like to write about. make a list of gathering places (both physical and in cyberspace) for these people. Record other ideas that have occurred to you. Which features indicate that a professional produced them with thought and expertise? And which seem to have been thrown together during a weekend. Study books in general for their content and design features. ACTI ON STEP S F OR LE SSON #3 1. other authors’ works and ideas. 3. What problem are you writing about? 6. What sources will you use for your book’s content? And what percentage will each use of the total? How much of your own experiences or expertise. If you think you’ll be writing most of your books for the same audience. How do you want your readers to benefit from the book? 11. Who are your readers (your target market)? BookNote #14 MY BOOK IS ABOUT… Answer the 12 questions about your book project. What do you like and not like? Why? Start a file with full citation information (so you can find the materials again) or print them if they are on the Internet. Become a presence with them.com . Talk to them about their information and book needs. or other sources? 8. What schedule have you decided upon to write your book? How far along are you in the process? Where and when will you devote specific chunks of time to writing this book? Commit to a schedule. If you’ll be producing information products (electronic). What solutions are you offering? How will you organize them? 7. Then go meet them. How do you want to benefit from the book? 12. For future books. then focus your study on these products. and how can you tell? 2.
These steps can occur over months or years before I actually start work on the book © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 41 LESSON 4 ORGANIZE YOUR IDEAS AND NOTES So far. you’ve explored your book project with two idea generation techniques. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction. but it really does work. self-worth. ORGANIZE AND REVIEW YOUR NOTES AND RESOURCES The process described here may sound silly at times. Your book project will become more real with each step taken. and personal satisfaction – the things that constitute real success – is not earning as much as you can but in performing as well as you can something that you consider worthwhile. especially about the floor as a sorting place. John F.com . with each ounce of effort spent on this goal. William Raspberry said: The best shot at happiness. Kennedy said: There are risks and costs to a program of action. Write Initial Notes and Visions about Your Book Project Here’s my process before I “get started” with a book project. Now is the time to prepare your writing space and gather all your notes and resources for that idea and see it as a real book-to-be.
Start Your Research Questions List Your Research Questions List contains questions and points you know you’ll need to learn more about before or while writing the book. or don’t want to think about my current project for a few moments).” realizations that tell you you’ve got more work to do on this book than initially thought. AND I think it would be interesting to write (that is. Every time I get another idea or find information relevant to that idea. you may use another system – shoeboxes or piles on the floor always works. have a system of some kind. I write it down and date the paper. my readers need it. from a wispy idea to a solid idea. 4. I gather together ideas that relate to the same project. 3. This list is the central location for all those “oh. fantasies. visions. Of course. I jot down new ideas. Every time I get an idea for writing (regardless of the intended length). Whichever way you decide to sort and store your book ideas. I create a file folder for the idea. Creating the folder tells my subconscious that the idea has jumped up a notch on my project list. Realize that you may add notes to a folder for months or years before actually starting on the project.com . I include them here because I’ve talked with beginning writers who didn’t know where to start. Every once in a while (usually when I am stuck with my writing. and I toss the rest of them back into the slot. I file the ideas that belong in existing folders. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. I will go through this pile to read the ideas I’ve accumulated. Some ideas in that slot have been there for years. This new folder is then filed with all of the other idea folders for that subject area. I file all my idea notes in a catchall slot in an organizer on my desk. and additions to existing ideas. 5. 2. I’d have fun writing it. and stick it in the folder. I start with those initial notes. as follows: 1. I write it down. date the note. If one idea has several notes about it.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 42 project. rats. That’s called incubation. and the market has a place for it). or need a distraction. rehashes of old ideas.
when you dig into the research. If you are lucky. Do this now so you don’t have to interrupt your process to go to the office supply store. do the best you can. If not. Keep the list handy. as ideas will come to you at all times of the day or night. but being required to move your notes with each meal will become frustrating. a space no one will disturb on threat of death or worse. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Or you might want to just list your ideas as they come to you. Add to Prepare Your Writing Space and Gather Your Office Supplies When you’re ready to actually start working on your book project (that means. BookNote #15 START THE RESEARCH QUESTIONS LIST Start the Research Questions List. Using the dining room table will work in the beginning. but it’s yours and it’s for writing. it as new questions arise. It may be only a small card table jammed into a corner of the family room or garage. Now). organizing the questions by chapter or section later. I recommend that you have a workspace dedicated to your writing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 43 You might want to organize this list by category or topic from the beginning. if at all possible. you’ll have a space where you can actually close the door to block unwanted distractions. So find a space you can leave your notes and materials laying around. Next. when working on the project or preparing dinner. gather some office supplies.com . It’s amazing how this simple act will get you in the mood and serious about writing your book.
• Some binder dividers. do it now. then you’ll probably need 25 or 30 dividers. Make sure they are fairly sturdy because they’ll get a lot of use while you’re working on this project. and other stuff gathered that goes into a binder. plus front matter (1 folder) and back matter (several folders). Get dividers that won’t annoy you. gather all the books. It’s step one to becoming serious about this book. say five to seven pages. the pile is usually fairly substantial. one per chapter. when I get to this point with the book idea. The pile may be surprisingly meager (and disappointing) or overwhelming because there’s so much. print out any computer files created. one topic per folder. In my case. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Have at least a dozen file folders. brochures. articles. • File folders. • 3-hole paper puncher for those copies. or more if you think you’ll have more chapters. and other larger pieces of information of research you’ve accumulated for the book project. • 3-hole filler paper for added notes when away from the computer. Gather Your Notes and Resources Pull out all of your folder(s) of notes. so you are ready to work on your book. If you see the chapters as being fairly short. BookNote #16 CREATE YOUR WRITING SPACE. You might also use them to gather research notes for major research topics. Have at least 12 to 15 dividers. So you’re staring at the pile of ideas and resources you’ve gathered for your book. printouts. • You’ll also need labels for the folders.com . You’ll use one folder for each chapter. If not. GATHER OFFICE SUPPLIES Create your writing space and gather your office supplies.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 44 You should have a supply of the following: • Your project binder should already be created.
Put them aside for later. Take a deep breath. If that’s not possible. When you’re through reading. Skim through the larger piece of information. so it can go into the right pile later in this process. You might want to note in the top right corner the name of the subtopic this piece relates to. without distractions because you need to concentrate and allow your mind to put it all together. you’re staring at that pile of notes.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 45 Take a deep breath. But before digging into that pile. Don’t make any notes just yet. BookNote #17 GATHER YOUR NOTES AND RESOURCES Gather your notes and resources for this book project and put them in one pile on your desk. Just read. take a break. the articles and books and copies of stuff from the Internet. Go get a cup of coffee or take a walk.com . And keep reading. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you’re going to read everything on that pile. Try to do this in one sitting. Read Everything You’ve Gathered Okay. Now. preferably starting with the oldest notes first and then working forward so you can get the progression of the idea back into your mind. and stuff for your book. You’re not ready. you need to do something so you are ready to catch the thoughts when they flit through your mind. books. file folders. because they’re all mixed up. then just start reading the first piece of paper on the pile. You’ll probably find that you’ve created several versions of the book’s outline.
especially when stuck. Refresh your memory of the information you have available. Christie refers to performing nonverbal activities as a sure way to attract ideas into your mind. You can always change locations later. If your writing space is too small. Nonverbal activities are best done when you’re incubating or simmering a project. A. Organize Your Notes Into Piles by Topic Now you get to organize your notes and resources. so that when you do it. washing the car. and exercise are all useful to a writer. Make sure all windows and doors are closed to avoid those unexpected drafts that can destroy your sorting process. Milne said: Organizing is what you do before you do something. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Don’t worry if some notes feel like they belong in two chapters. BookNote #18 READ EVERYTHING YOU’VE GATHERED Read the notes and skim the resources gathered.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 46 Agatha Christie said: The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. it’s not all mixed up. Gardening. especially since they get you away from the desk for a while and open your mind to words. Margo Kaufman said: One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system. cleaning the house.com . But put each note somewhere right now. Sit on your chair and create piles all around you. Sort them into logical piles by topic. A. I find the floor is an excellent sorting place for this step. put the note in the most logical place.
Does each piece of paper fit with your chapter’s topic? A few might have slipped past the first sort. leaving you frustrated that you’ve spent time on an idea that really wasn’t all the great in the first place. put it aside until you figure out where it does. But keep it as long as you can. put it where it does. It may go into another book or eventually be tossed as irrelevant to your writing. What if you don’t have a pile of notes or resources? If this is your case. They can fade quickly. shiny new ideas. BookNote #19 ORGANIZE & REVIEW YOUR NOTES & RESOURCES Organize your notes into piles by topic or chapter. Be cautious of those bright. if at all possible. Review and Organize Each Pile of Notes Review the contents of each pile of notes. You may find that some information won’t end up in this book. Make sure this is an order most useful for your readers. If it doesn’t belong anywhere. then the idea is probably too new right now. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. If you find a note that doesn’t belong.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 47 And finally. haunting ideas. Jessica Duquette said: Clutter always begins in your mind and then it ends up on the floor. something that feels right and comfortable. Make sure you’re working with one of those older.com . The order will probably change during the course of writing the book but get an initial order now. Put them in some semblance of order. ripened. something you can work with. Read through the piles and make sure each pile is unified. Organize each pile into a logical sequence.
For example. making the whole work visible on a few pages. • Outlines can reveal holes in the logic or content of the material. Thus.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 48 Outlining is Helpful to Writers And now for a brief pause in the action. • Outlines reveal the plan of the book to the writer.com . This header is often called H1 or Header 1. Using Travel Agents. • Outlines provide the basis for the later Table of Contents. a little more detailed than the major section. a major section will be placed against the left margin and receive a roman numeral (I. Please. Remember that an outline has several purposes (and benefits for the writer): • Outlines offer a way to organize the information • Outlines allow the writer to see how best to break up larger topics into smaller chunks at the same detail level. . That is. Denzel Washington’s Mom Do what you have to do so you can do what you want to do. bad) when forced to outline. will receive a capital letter (A. B. This header is called H2 or Header 2.Questions: Who are the stakeholders of this company? Why do they care about this problem? How do they vote on related issues? . • Outlines are brief snap shots of a large work. III).Verbal Phrases: Going it Alone. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. A minor section. You can go three or four levels on your outline. • The indentation level shows the level of detail (specificity) for each section. And don’t cringe. Outlines carry a few requirements with them. Outlines really are helpful to writers. they all have the same grammatical structure. Traveling with Friends. remembering your high school experiences (I assume. they will all be questions or verbal phrases. Make them consistent. C). which can be used when translating this outline into the Table of Contents: • All section headings are parallel. Outlines are used to organize the material in the most logical structure possible. don’t skip this section or this activity. II.
the) are not capitalized. to give more detail to the reader who is glancing at your Table of Contents. The Basic Outline contains the chapter topics (perhaps titles. A.. • In many outlines. if you have an A. If you have an i. Follow the practices in your industry or field with the introduction and conclusion.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 49 • In your Table of Contents. and distractions can really gum up the works. Or you could use I. presented in a sequence that works for now. • The numbering system includes both roman numerals and numbers as follows. A Basic Outline contains the chapter titles of your book. Create the Basic Outline After taking a break from your topic piles. It might also include major sections within the chapters. i. then just include that subsection as part of the major section’s information. It presents the overall organization and sequence of materials for the book. Do not create an indented item for that one issue. Usually prepositions (on. Hopefully this sequence is best for the reader. 1. the Introduction and Conclusion are not numbered in the outlines. as they are not considered points of the discussion. In other words. the first chapter is often an introduction. probably not) for your book. the following will show five levels of detail: I. you’ll have at least an ii. in a book. You can also choose to show deeper levels if that information will help the reader. you will probably go use only Header 1 titles. 1. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. (i). It will become the Table of Contents. • Capitalization: for titles. an. usually ½ inch. if a major section has only one subsection. For example. Each number indicates a further indentation. Always keep your readers forefront in your mind. the most important words are usually capitalized. you will also have at least a B. not necessarily the easiest to write. find a few hours with few or no distractions.com . in and a lot of others) and articles (a. (a). but you may want to use Header 2 titles as well. a. However. • You must have two or more subsections to include subsections on the outline. A. You’ll need to focus. For example.
over and over. There’s plenty of time later to do that. in your mind and on paper. It’s a great start to writing your nonfiction book. Remember that being away from the writing at this point can be as productive as sitting there. or find new materials during the research process. Keep the old outlines for future references. Creating this Basic Outline is a way of organizing the materials. that’s okay. Format the outline as an outline. and jot notes to yourself on your outline for future research or thinking. Make notes for your chapter folders about content to include. Don’t do anything with your notes and resources at this point. Put them all aside and find the right sequence that works for now. or does one chapter logically belong inside another? • Is one chapter enormous. You should add to this outline as you think of new ideas. with each indentation indicating a smaller and smaller piece of information. Once you have the Basic Outline on the computer. Write that down and continue to the next chapter. not only on paper but in your mind.com . It’s amazing how relieved you’ll feel once this outline feels solid and real.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 50 You may have been creating this outline for weeks or months. How much information should you put on your Basic Outline? I’d say put as much detail as you have right now. then read it over (probably after a break) and see if the sequence makes sense. That’s normal. Just go through the notes and create the outline. so that you’ll need to divide it into two or more chapters? With a complete Basic Outline. you have a foundation on which to build the book. Go through each topic’s pile of notes and write down the major topics addressed. but don’t strain yourself to fill in gaps. if needed. have realizations about the content. It will change during the writing process. If all you have is a topic label for the chapter. • Are all the chapter topics at about the same level or size. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. struggling against hunger and fatigue because you want to finish it.
discussed (and done) in Lesson 8. labeled “front matter. In one file.) You can always add or delete later. so they are arranged in the directory as they will be in the book: © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Any other anticipated pages (refer to Lesson 5 for a list of potential front matter pages. even if the pages have only a label on them.” create several pages. Print these pages out. Front matter includes all the pages before Chapter 1. one page for each of the following: 1. I like to label my computer files as follows. I feel the opposite. Table of Contents 4. Verna Gibson said: Early in my career. Create a Front Matter Computer File Shift positions and fire up your computer. Labeling Your Computer Files Create a computer file labeling system that makes sense to you. Copyright page 3. Title page 2. BookNote #20 CREATE A BASIC OUTLINE Create the Basic Outline for your book. Put them in your binder before the Chapter 1 divider. Whereas now.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 51 Eventually all of these notes will be used to create the Extended Outline. You’ll now create some computer files to put stuff into as you get it. Discipline is the concrete that allows you to be creative. I felt that organization would destroy my creativity.com .
so all of Part I are grouped together. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. so it lands first on the list. and so on. thus Frontmatter names the first file. Print them out and file them in your project binder.” Add that information to your Basic Outline. • For the Chapter number. • I also like to remind myself of the main topic of each file. You might have one part for the chapters about your problem and one for your solution(s). come up with an abbreviation or one word title to use as shorthand. I use 00 for the front matter.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 52 Book title – Chapter number – Chapter Topic Title-00-Frontmatter For example: HistGames-00-frontmatter HistGames-01-Introduction • For title. Come up with your own labeling system that works for you. Just be consistent.com . Add Parts or Sections if you see that the content bunches into a few major “Parts. Chapter 1 will be labeled 01. Your labeling system should add the part number before the chapter number. For example. Histgames-I-02-EnglandCastles BookNote #21 CREATE ONE FRONT MATTER COMPUTER FILE Create your Front Matter computer file with the pages you intend for your book.
and with the labeling system developed create a computer file for each chapter. It’s a basic reference now.com . behind the appropriate tabs. Copy all material typed and saved on your computer into the appropriate chapter file. called the Extended Outline. Don’t revise yet. BookNote #22 CREATE CHAPTER COMPUTER FILES Create a computer file for each chapter of the book. Print all of these pages and place them in your binder. Create a computer file for Back matter. discussed in Lesson 8. Copy each chapter’s section from the Basic Outline (you might be calling it your Table of Contents now). Mary Todd Lincoln said: My evil genius Procrastination has whispered me to tarry ‘til a more convenient season. Copy that chapter’s section from the Basic Outline into the computer file. it will be replaced by a more detailed outline later. Create a file for Back Matter (all pages after the last page of the last chapter). and paste it into each chapter’s computer file. Just copy the files and go on to the next chunk to copy.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 53 Create Computer Files for Each Chapter Using the Basic Outline as your guide. This creates a skeleton guide for writing each chapter later. Don Marquis said: Procrastination is the art of keep up with yesterday. even if you see obvious duplication of content. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. We’ll discuss the pages of back matter later.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 54 Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #4 1. and you could use their consideration (and quiet). 2. Enlist the support of your family or housemates. You can also put your writing notebook pages here.com . This book is important to you. if you decide to tear the notebook apart as you use it. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Set up a place (if you haven’t already done so) you can toss writing ideas as they come to you.
you will save yourself a lot of time later changing the headers © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Why should you decide on this stuff now. tools. I’ve found this true in many activities. as you have probably experienced. the less you have to actually struggle to do with the implementation. For example. trusting your information because you have put it together in a logical and consistent manner. before you’ve even written a word? Good planning saves time with a writing project. the better the plan. and examples? • Will you create exercises for the reader to practice the techniques presented? • Will you include a glossary defining terms of your highly technical topic? Being consistent in the sequence in which the various aspects of content are presented allows the reader to feel more at ease. Aristotle said: Well begun is half done. So take the time to do the planning. if you decide about your headers and follow that guide (called the Header Plan) throughout your writing -.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 55 LESSON 5 DECIDE ON CONTENT AND FORMAT Knowing about potential content can help with your planning and writing processes. Disorganized books can be annoying to readers. • What material will you include in your text: strategies. from writing books to making movies. techniques. so don’t duplicate that problem in your book.com . as you are doing with this course.not after you’ve written all of those pages -. In other words.
Your decision should be based on three aspects of your project: 1. Your situation (your time and finances). The Material Do you have enough material for a full-length book? Most nonfiction books. You will have to make some changes. The material 2. come in at around 150 to 200 pages. E-books can be as short as 10 pages or as long as 300. to a 1000 page manuscript. Each route has its advantages and disadvantages (which is a topic for another book). but you need to evaluate the project before deciding on the length. any more and the page count makes the book too costly to produce for the money received. The Marketplace You must also understand the marketplace for books these days. say an e-book of less than 50 pages or even a booklet or report. then consider a shorter book. whether soft cover or hard cover. I had to do that once.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 56 to make them consistent. The marketplace 3. If you want to produce a book in printed (paper) form. If you don’t have enough material for a full-length book. HOW LONG SHOULD YOUR BOOK BE? Everyone dreams of producing a hardcover best seller. you have three major publishing routes to consider: subsidy publishing. Finding a small publisher to accept your perfect manuscript (forget New York unless you are famous or have outstanding credentials and are a known © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Believe me. but the bulk of them will be fine – if you’ve followed your Header Plan. in printed form. being published by a traditional publisher.com . it’s a given as your ideas and content will change through the writing process. or self-publishing. with the price usually matching the page count and content’s uniqueness.
at least a small print run? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you create the manuscript to your specifications. you need to create a book proposal and then wait until you sign the contract before completing the project. • Do you have time to write a full-length nonfiction book in about a year? That is the usual time allotted by a publisher once the contract is signed. Hopefully. Realize that the first draft is only a vague approximation of the final project. sales. or whether you can even finish it? My advice is to follow the process described in this book and see what you produce in the first draft. Your Own Situation Your own situation should also dictate the route and manner in which you produce your book. With each of these publishing routes comes decisions about your book that should be made early in the process. along with a wonderful manuscript. distribution. you can evaluate the approximate length of the finished book or whether you want to continue. With that as your basis.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 57 presence) can be difficult as the market is filled with people who have books they want someone else to publish to make them rich and famous. and so on. even if done a few at a time (called POD or print on demand). If you want your book to start or stay in the electronic realm. What if you don’t know how long the book is. And it usually requires a lot of knowledge about many areas: production. then you need a website. whereas with a selfpublished book. you know which type of writer you are. • Do you have the financial resources to self-publish. and a whole host of other topics just to get started. Some people (such as myself) overwrite their drafts and have to cut them down to fit the length required or decided upon. Others write underwritten drafts and must add to the draft to make the book sellable. if you are going the small publisher route.com . For example. so you can estimate the final length with some degree of accuracy from the first draft’s content. Self-publishing in print can be expensive. marketing. knowledge of e-book software and marketing.
Chapter Structure – the basic text. 2. and different ways to present the information within the text. Then create a Chapter Plan to remind yourself of all the information and elements that will go into each chapter. This will allow your drafting to be done much more easily. Your goals for inclusion include helpfulness for the reader and consistency of content. Front Matter – everything before the first page of Chapter 1. DEVELOP YOUR CHAPTER PLAN Chapter Plan is simply a sequenced list of items to include in each or most chapters. unless you decide. through the good times and bad? BookNote #23 DECIDE THE BOOK’S PROPOSED LENGTH Decide your book’s length. headers. deliberately. A book’s potential content is discussed here in four sections: 1. marketplace. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. and situation for your project. based on the material. It is a checklist to remind you while writing your draft and revising the manuscript. A Chinese Proverb says: The person who moves a mountain begins by carrying small stones.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 58 • Do you have the knowledge and experience (or the desire and ability to learn) to produce e-books? Are you capable of producing such products and marketing them to the public? • Do you have the passion for the project to keep your activity sustained over a long period of time.com . Decide about the pages you’d like to include in your book. to change the plan. based on the information in this Lesson. You will think out the plan ahead of time and then follow it.
Table of data about the topic 3. Sample of exercise already filled in 6.com . You’ll create your own Chapter Plan after you’ve learned of the various parts possible but start marking notes now. from the Chapter title to the lowest level of header you plan to use. Look at other books in your field and note their header strategies. 4. Each section’s items are divided into two categories: 1. definitions of the topic 2. Which ones do you find most appealing? Least appealing? Clarity is the key with © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. For example. Chapter Elements –larger pieces such as exercises. This plan can then be used to format the style sheet on your word processor and follow as a guide when adding headers to your manuscript. include: 1. Optional – These items can be included. Blank exercise (on its own page)” I’ve included a blank Chapter Plan checklist later in this lesson for you to start with. explanations. 2. if they will enhance your book’s contents and will be of benefit to the reader. Back Matter – everything after the last page of the last chapter. Type your Chapter Plan to include all items. you might want to include the following. They can often be used later in your marketing as blog posts or articles. in the sequence you desire. Required – These items are found in most professionally produced books. quizzes. Instructions. being consistent in sequence: “For each section. Exercise instructions 5. Don’t pad your manuscript just to increase page count. for each point you discuss. Create a Header Plan A Header Plan lays out the format for each level of header and subheader. to include in your book. Make sure you have a valid reason for including everything. free reports or other giveaways to your readers.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 59 3. and checklists to add to the chapter’s usefulness. Examples of using the technique 4.
Using headers offers several benefits to the writer and reader: • Each header identifies the topic of its section. set against the left margin in the font and size of the body text. making the text more readable and enticing. are you eager to read the page? Probably not.com . type out a sample of header in outline form. A smaller header. Continue with each level of header you anticipate using in your manuscript. Generally. Using headers is essential to good nonfiction writing. If it’s in color. typed exactly as it would appear in the text. Underline. with more indentation on the outline. certain looks indicate a higher level of information. or Normal Underline or Normal normal quillifulpublications. you could type: SECTION HEAD This listing would indicate that the header is typed in caps. both with dividing the text into sections and identifying the level of detail for each section. one that is broader in nature. When you see a whole page of text with only paragraph breaks. bolded. • Breaking up the text with headers creates more white space. the Plan will show the color. Thus.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 60 headers. • The level of header tells the reader the level of detail for that section. • Reading the headers alone gives the reader an idea of the skeleton of the writing. Look of the Type You have many options when choosing the look of your headers. for a Header 1 (first level header). means a more specific level of detail for that information. It serves as an outline within the text. THIS INDICATES A HIGHER LEVEL OF INFORMATION IN HEADERS CAPS Bold Italic Underlining © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved THAN THIS DOES Upper/Lower case (Up/Low or U/L) Italic. To create the Header Plan. • Headers allow you to add color to the text. just don’t overdo it.
before the first line of text for that header. Last line of the previous paragraph x SubSubsection header (third level = H3) – The text starts on the same line as the header. Look at how this e-course has been formatted.com . If you have one blank line before the header. x Subsection header (second level = H2) Text begins here. you will not have any blank lines below it. This spacing allows the new section to be obvious to the reader’s eye. underlined. you will have one blank line below it before the text starts. The third level header can be bolded. The H1 (first level) headers have two blank lines before then and one after before the text starts. Last line of the previous paragraph.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 61 Spacing of the Header to the Text Generally. In addition. If you have two blank lines before the header. Examples are presented below. or colon. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you will include twice as many lines above the header as you do below the header. x x SECTION HEADER (first level = H1) x This section’s text begins here. Last line of text from the previous paragraph. dash. the text will start on the very next line. with the X indicating a blank line. if the text starts on the line below the header. the section is considered broader and more important than if the text starts on the same line as the header. These headers are often used for individual points of a generalization. or set off by a period. The H2 (second level) headers have one blank line before and no blanks between the header and the text.
Number of Columns Most books are presented in one or two column formats. Chapter titles also fall into this category. This discussion is only cursory. Create a Page Plan A Page Plan is useful for self-publishers. more focused or a smaller piece of a larger topic. as a summary of the section or chapter) or quotations from other authors. centered text within the text is considered extraneous to the text. use as many levels as you think you’ll need.com . thus identifying a section of the text. (People have written whole books about page design.) You will need to study the issue in more depth to use the options well in order to create the best look. Yet bolded. It is a plan concerning the look of the page. someone else will design the pages. than the header against the left margin. Headers that are indented into the text are considered subtopics. so you can skip this section. The width of the column impacts readability since readers can lose their place if the column is too wide and the text too small © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Consider the following issues when designing your pages.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 62 Location of the Header Headers that are set against the left margin are considered part of the text. which is why you bold and center pull quotes (your words pulled out of the text and made prominent. Post this Header Plan near your writing space and refer to it while typing. due to space considerations. depending on the width of the page. as has been done in this course: they are usually not part of the flow of words of your text. If you are going with a traditional publisher. BookNote #24 CREATE A HEADER PLAN Create a header plan.
which avoids adding weird spaces that occur with right hand justification (all the lines on the right margin end on the space place). to accommodate the holes or binding. If your readers are older. If you are printing the book. The page will look amateurish. or double spaced are the usual choices for line spacing. which can be all it takes for the reader to put your work down and move on to another author’s book. the letters are straight up and down. Use serif type for headers only. you might want to use 1. Margins One-inch margins all around are standard for book manuscripts. Line Spacing Single-spaced. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.5 spaced. Printed books’ margins will vary due to a variety of factors.5 spacing. or if it will be printed by your reader to be placed in a binder. These curlies read well on the printed page. Losing one’s place can only cause frustration.5 inch margins on the left. Font Style Use a standard font that most computers can read. and don’t clutter your page with too many font styles and sizes. (This paragraph is in Helvetica.) You can see how the two paragraphs differ in their ease of readability. Many books use a ragged right margin (as this book does). you might want to use 1. when you reader wonʼt have to read too many of those words. unless that will increase the size of the book too much (as it would have with this book). 1. Go for whatever spacing is best for your readers. allowing the eye to flow from one letter to the next.com . For printed books and pdf downloads (to be printed by the reader).WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 63 for the eye to easily scan. • San Serif type has no curlies on the letters. • Serif type has those little curlies on the bottom of the letters. use a serif type for the body text and a san serif type for headers.
All at 14 point: • Times Roman (a proportional type) • Courier (a non proportional type. Here are examples of common serif type fonts. Type that is too large is just as hard to read as if it is too small. Some fonts are smaller than others. Font Size Most body text is between 10 and 14 point.com . making the text hard to read. so if they’re your audience. That spacing might be a consideration for your book. body and header. Check out your industry’s books and find a typical font you like and use it. For example. these fonts are all at 14 point type: Times Roman Example Courier Example Baskerville Example Notice how Baskerville is so much smaller than Courier. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. use a larger and clearer font. But remember that smaller fonts are harder to read for some people. so find a font size that fits your text’s publication method and use the correct size for the page. especially older people. depending on the font chosen. use a san serif type for all text.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 64 For electronic readers or viewing. The san serif type is easier to read electronically. Those little curlies have a tendency to blur on the electronic readers. used in manuscripts to publishers because it’s easier to estimate word count) • Garamond (a proportional type) • Georgia (a larger proportional type) Typical San Serif types (all at 14 point) are: • Helvetica (example) • Arial (example) • Verdana (example) Note how much larger Verdana is to Helvetica.
or want to do it anyway. they break up the page and add white space. Confront a page of solid. Books can include up to 20 pages of front matter. and you will turn away unless you are highly motivated to read. Text in all italics is almost as bad as all caps. Decide on the pages you want to include and create a placeholder page in your computer file. with few breaks for paragraphs or headers. so you have a place to make notes and fill in information as you get it. making the text less readable than normal text. Use italics for emphasis. White space is encouraged. or to point out words used as illustrations.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 65 A Few Other Tips DO NOT USE ALL CAPS IN YOUR BODY TEXT. AS THIS TEXT IS MORE DIFFICULT TO READ THAN REGULAR TEXT. IT ALSO FEELS LIKE YOU’RE SHOUTING AT THE READER. That’s why headers are so nice. if you simply want to create a manuscript without any fancy page design. Post your final plan in front of you to refer to while typing. Decide on Your Front Matter Pages Front matter includes all those pages before the first page of chapter 1. do a Page Plan. especially with electronic readers. black ink on a page. And some of the front matter pages can be several pages long. Do not use reverse type (white lettering on black background) as that also makes the text less readable. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com . Later in this lesson is a list of Standard Manuscript format tips. BookNote #25 CREATE A PAGE PLAN If you are self-publishing.
Sometimes the item or element will continue on for two or more pages. then the decisions are yours. Front Matter – Required pages Three pages are required for front matter: 1. It includes the full title and subtitle. This situation is indicated by [starts on R] or [starts on L]. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. author. if lengthy. usage. [R] is the page to the right. if this service is available to your publisher (it isn’t to beginning selfpublishers). This page also includes the CIP (from the Library of Congress) information. and other information from the publisher. publishing information.com . You may put your disclaimer here or on another page. Table of Contents Full Title page [R] The Title page includes the book’s title. author. Sometimes it also shows an illustration. Examine several copyright pages.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 66 If you will be submitting your manuscript to a publisher. and publishing company name and city. Copyright page [L] This single page is on the reverse side of the Full Title page. If you are self-publishing. rights. Full Title Page 2. [L] is the page to the left of the center fold. Copyright page 3. but put a placeholder in your manuscript for those pages you’d like to see included. the publisher will decide on many of these pages. reprint information. edition and printing number (if other than first). A note about the [L] and [R] abbreviations. edition. ISBN for all editions. especially those in your topic area and decide the pieces you want or need to provide your readers. These letters indicate the side of the printed book on which this page usually falls.
Acknowledgements 5. and it is placed at the top of the page. Testimonials. centered. Foreword (written by a famous person in your topic area) 10. if not included in the first chapter Half Title page [R] This page offers the title and author only.com . List of Illustrations 8. Each section can be on its own line with a page number. Dedication [R] This brief statement of thanks names someone special for helping you with the book. Half Title Page 2. or the major section title can be listed with the page number and subsections can run as a paragraph without page numbers. 1.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 67 Table of Contents [starts on R] The Table of Contents lists the major sections of your book. or Reviews [start on R] These statements are short positive comments about your book generally placed on the first pages of a book to generate excitement for the reader and credibility for you. It might also include subsections as well. Brief Table of Contents (usually used in textbooks) 7. testimonials. then skip these pages. reviews 3. That’s it. Dedication 4. a summary of the book). It’s placed in front of the Full Title Page. This list is in the usual sequence of most professionally published books. If you don’t have any. Endorsements. Formats differ by publisher. The rest of the page is blank. Front Matter – Optional Pages Several pages can be added to your front matter. Publisher’s Preface 9. the publisher’s name and logo may be at the bottom. such as a mother or spouse. Disclaimer 6. Endorsements. Introduction (written by you. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. your family for their infinite patience while you were writing the book. Foreword [R] The foreword is an introduction and praise of the book written by another person. which usually fits on one page. preferably someone famous in your field. as with textbooks. It offers the chapter titles and perhaps major sections. Start with the top person on your list and work your way down until someone says yes. You’ll be amazed who might say yes (because they get credit and publicity for their works as well).com . Publisher preface [R] Your publisher might want to include a publisher’s note as to why this book is being published or other notes to the reader. The greater the name.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 68 Acknowledgements [R] This section more extensive thanks. List of Illustrations [L] Include a list all your illustrations if you have included a lot of visuals. Thank your editor. Check out the common points included in disclaimers of your topic or industry and duplicate the ideas in your own words. your publisher. This page is located after the Table of Contents. the better the publicity and credibility you will gather. and all those people who read your manuscript over and over. Disclaimer [R] This statement is a legal statement that disavows the author and publisher from any harm done by the contents of the book. you might want to include a Brief Table of Contents. This page goes before the Full Table of Contents. Brief Table of Contents [starts on R] If your Table of Contents is lengthy.
or illustrations. Your page numbering can start here. Introductions are often simplified summaries of the entire book. samples. Many of these aspects also add to the page visually. BookNote #26 DECIDE ON THE FRONT MATTER Decide on the front matter page to include in your book. such as exercises. Write a good one. List them on your Chapter Plan. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. each author will write his or her own introduction. the headings. Chapter structure does not include the extras you can include in a chapter. focusing on the benefits the readers will gain from reading and using the book. making the Introduction page 1. discussed later. Some people read the introduction in the bookstore and make their decision based on that and the Table of Contents.com . labeled appropriately. The text is broken up in any number of ways. Decide on Your Chapter Structure Chapter structure involves all those pieces of text that make up the main structure of the chapter: the body text in its various forms. The page is not simply blocks of blank ink on white paper.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 69 Introduction [R] This section is your introduction to the reader. Those are called Chapter Elements. and the methods you plan to use to describe your topic. If you have two authors.
So. simply label the quote with a bookmark stuck into the reference book as 4.com . • Rework a cliché or pun. though not all do. which is the whole point. File labeling is easier if you include a number. Make the chapter titles approximately the same length. Be consistent (parallel) with the grammatical structure of your chapter titles. This practice enables you to find that information later. Chapter title 2. “Cooking with Paprika”). Chapter number.The chapter tells the answer. Your Basic Outline (discussed in Lesson 4) should have these numbers right. (Do Something…) -. if you find a great quote to be inserted into section 4. You can construct the title in a number of ways: • State the topic directly (such as. Be careful with these.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 70 Chapter Structure – Required Pages Two items are required for chapter structure: 1. Decide your numbering strategy before writing the first word. This will allow easier formatting and show consistency to the reader (much more reassuring). but that’s your decision. Chapter title Every chapter has a title that indicates the main topic of the chapter. as they are often overdone and may not be funny to the reader.3.The chapter tells how to do it. Chapter Number Most books number their chapter. Start with a gerund or verbal phrase – the chapter tells how to do it. • Ask a question (Why Do Writers Write?) -. you can use the section numbers from your outline to label your reference materials. when you need it during the drafting or revision stage. One tip: If you are pulling materials from a lot of different sources. • Give a command by starting with the verb.3 and put the reference away until you need it. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.
Explanations 12. to set it off and to ensure that the reader understands that the preview is not the start of the text. Web links (live or not) 15. or start with some general information that leads nicely into the chapter’s topic. Resources 14. Techniques 7. if your approach allows for this. Chapter introduction 3. Chapter Introduction Include a one to three paragraph introduction to the chapter. Chapter Summary 17. Instructions 8. General advice or tips 9. Definitions 13.com . © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. If you have several sections within the chapter. Some might not. You can use bullets and one to two word topics or multiple word descriptions. throughout chapter) 4. Action steps Chapter Preview It is nice to tell the reader the specific issues you’ll be discussing in the chapter. you could summarize how far the reader has progressed so far (in other words. Pull quotes 5. You can box this preview. Chapter preview 2. name each one in the preview. Last paragraph leads to next chapter 16. Examples 11. Strategies 6. Quotations from famous authors (to introduce chapter. Concerns or warnings 10. In this introduction. review progress from past chapters).WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 71 Chapter Structure – Optional Pages Many possibilities are available for your chapter’s structure: 1.
Make sure the quote expresses sentiments you feel are important for your topic. You can also place these quotes within the text. used to summarize or highlight an idea. so be cautious of using them and leaving a negative impression in the mind of the reader. Using them is your choice. Or do both. laid out in a logical sequence. established method or procedure to accomplish a task. They might be set off with stars or lines of some kind. to accomplish a larger goal. They give the author’s name and sometimes a date or source. so use them as well. placing them close to the relevant point being made. well thought out in advance. Strategy A strategy is a long-term plan. Pull Quotes These are your own words. but the oldies are indeed wonderful. Your whole book might be one big strategy. When selecting quotes. They can be overused or used to pad the length of a too-short book.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 72 Quotations From Famous Authors You might want to quote well-known authors at the beginning of the chapter. or each chapter might involve a separate strategy to solve the problem. It includes many tasks or actions. at the very least. and bolded. They are generally centered. in a larger font.com . A strategy is different from a set of instructions in that a strategy is more flexible. A set of instructions must be followed in sequence or dire consequences might result. the operation won’t work well or at all. Technique A technique is a specific. a reader unfamiliar with the quote may ponder. Use techniques that you have personally developed or found to be © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. A reader familiar with the quote will chuckle and nod. They are often in italic or some other fancy font to set them off from the body text. find the ones most relevant to your topic. but be consistent. That’s up to you and the information you have available. able to change as situations change. pulled from the text. Try to find some quotes that most people are not familiar with.
Many of the techniques offered in this e-course are my own creation. take out all automatic numbering that your computer may have added. you might even include a link to the author’s or publisher’s website. This is especially true when working with electricity or tools that could harm someone. Instructions are often numbered. or issues around solutions that might be dangerous or cause further problems to the reader. For example.com . either physically. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. I am sure other writers have come up with the similar techniques in their struggles as well. They have to add the numbers themselves. One caution: If you are submitting a manuscript to a publisher. or whatever. either about consequences of not addressing and solving the problem. which usually won’t translate to the publisher’s software. but all tips are important. Concerns or Warnings You might include concerns or warnings to readers. but I present them here as mine since I didn’t get them from anyone else. please give credit. General Advice or Tips General advice or tips are instructions without a set sequence.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 73 useful. All items are important. mentally. Instructions Step-by-step instructions are often given when dealing with a machine or some type of technology: they are used when a goal requires the user to perform a set of tasks in a specific and required order. six tips about getting your book on the Amazon. Often instructions are accompanied by illustrations that show the user how to perform the task. spiritually.com bestseller list might not have a sequence. socially. in that I developed them out of my own needs as a writer. such as putting together a bookshelf. If another author has developed them. For electronic books.
Make sure you also sort them by category.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 74 Examples Examples can be short. website addresses). If the book is digital. one-sentence anecdotes or entire chapters telling a case history. They further explain the issue at hand by showing practical situations in which the issue is used or addressed. Include only those references that you can personally vouch for. Much of your text will be explanations. or any reference you recommend readers contact for their services. that’s your choice). or further expound on the topic with useful information. Also include these links in the Resources section at the back of the book. have used or know are of high quality. Resources List resources within the text (book titles. or information. Readers might come back to you and complain about your reference if something goes wrong. Set the link in a different color. then the links can be made live (or not. I advise clients to put links in a sidebar so that they are easy to find in the © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Web Links Mention links to websites that might be useful to the readers at that point in the chapter. Definitions Definitions convey the meaning of an abstract term through the definition without using the word itself. justifications for an argument. so be careful with these. They are often effective teaching tools. products. blue is often used for links. Explanations You can offer reasons for a cause or result. in the Resources Section of the back matter. You can use the denotative meaning (from the dictionary) or the connotative meaning (the implied meanings associated with the word).
so if it isn’t live when they read your book. Action steps Create action steps and exercises if they are appropriate for your topic. This way you have introduced the content in the Chapter Preview. Last paragraph Leads to the Next Chapter Keep up the reader’s excitement with a preview of coming attractions. They should get it. The reader can take these actions to implement the solution(s) suggested in this chapter or practice a technique or skill offered in the book. But people do understand that links change frequently. when needed. Chapter Summary Chapter summaries relate the main points of your chapter. decreasing their confidence in your credibility. Note these ideas on your Chapter Plan. Decide if you will use the element in each chapter or only occasionally. and summarized the points at the end. Including web links forces more frequent revision to update the links. usually complete unto themselves. then that’s life. But if all of your links are bad. then they know the book is dated. discussed the points in the text. perhaps using bullets and labeled Summary or Conclusion.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 75 text (if not in a different color) and easy to update. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. BookNote #27 DECIDE YOUR CHAPTER STRUCTURE Decide the chapter structure you’ll use. Select those elements most useful for your readers. List them on your Chapter Plan page. Decide on the Chapter Elements Chapter elements are larger additions to the body text.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Samples of letters. proposals. contracts. You could have blocks of text. as a final wrap up of the chapter’s materials. Samples If you are writing about a topic that includes written work. already filled out 3. Grids or Tables 6. proposals. These are “real” and complete documents. Or you can offer the exercises at the end of the chapter. such as letters. then you can offer blank exercises in the back (with permission to copy for personal use only).com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 76 Chapter Elements – Required Elements There are no required chapter elements. then you might want to include samples. Sidebars (a separate piece of information. Checklists 9. with the written permission of the author. Quizzes Exercises Exercises facilitate practice concerning a specific aspect of your topic. such as hotel details in a travel article) 7. Chapter Elements – Optional Elements You have many possibilities to enhance your chapter’s content and your reader’s experience with your book. Exercises 2. The reader can copy the exercise or write in the book. or you can make up your samples. but that action is not recommended. • full-sized workbook pages that give space to write out the answers. Illustrations (tables or figures) 8. contracts. Exercises come in two main forms: • a list of questions or instructions for the reader to do on another piece of paper. You might want to include a completed sample exercise at that point it refers to in the text. Forms 5. You can use real documents. Lists 10. Worksheets 4. 1.
The data accumulated and verified is then transferred to a final document. Worksheets Worksheets are often associated with financial analysis and actions.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 77 Either way. They often have several columns. either individually or as part of a collection of samples. They © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Fill in the blanks. Samples can also be placed in the back matter as an appendix. attach a resume. hopefully getting the job.com . Forms A form is a document that has spaces to fill in. Sidebars are those boxes at the side of the article that include names and addresses of hotels for a travel article. make sure they are the best versions of the document you can find because some readers will copy them verbatim or with minor changes to suit the reader’s individual situation. and hand it in. or a list of spices for use when starting a new kitchen. nothing is left out unless some box is left blank. or recording brainstorming sessions. for instance a cash flow statement. Worksheets are offer places to record preliminary thoughts or actions. enabling the user to accomplish a task. to present the information in a logical manner for the reader. with the user filling in the columns of information. A job application form is a perfect example. Grids or Tables Grids or tables can be filled with information. They are also useful as places for the reader to “work” at the idea or technique. or you can present blank grids as exercises for them to fill in to practice the techniques in the chapter. Sidebars The term “sidebar” comes from article writing practices. Forms prompt the user to record all the needed information for the transaction or task.
Checklists A checklist is a list of items to be done. or goal. so that the user can put a checkmark in the box when that item is taken care of. they are not instructions with a specific order to be done. chart. computer screen dumps. line drawing. to make the page look more interesting and so the reader doesn’t have to go to the glossary to look up the word. Sidebars can be longer boxes of text. routes or itineraries shown on a map. The order of a checklist generally isn’t as important as doing or noting each item on the checklist sometime during the process. say using an exclamation point in the margin. You can also use sidebars for indicating an important issue or statement in the text. Use your imagination and think how best to serve your readers. Usually a checklist has a box to the left side of the item. consider presenting it as a sidebar. that is.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 78 are chunks of information that can be taken out of the text without harm to the chapter’s content. task. And the sidebar offers a different visual element in the chapter. \ • Figure – A figure is any graphic that is not a table. They can be used to present the steps to accomplish a purpose. maps. as with a To Do list. organizational or decision chart. You might include a glossary definition in a sidebar. say lists of addresses or names. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. such as a photograph. graph. They come in a wide variety of forms but have only two labels: • Table – A table is data presented in rows and columns. Illustrations Illustrations are any non-text addition that enhances the text (not replaces it). They are often not sequence-sensitive. or small boxes with a tip or caution in it. making the text more interesting. All illustrations should be discussed and referenced in your text. diagram.com . flow chart. Anytime you have a small chunk of information that seems complete by itself. Illustrations add to the text by showing the text’s information in visual form.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 79 Lists Lists can convey a lot of information in a small amount of space. Decide on your Back Matter Pages Back matter is all of the stuff at the back of the book. Lists often use bullets. Are you ready for college? Do you have what it takes to be a teacher? How’s your social life? They are complete unto themselves. With any quiz. Quizzes Readers love to take quizzes. which add visually to the text. only if you are quoting or paraphrasing other authors’ works. Back Matter – Required Pages Only one required page or section appears in most nonfiction books: • Reference Page or Works Cited Page. You could even start the chapter with a quiz to qualify the reader to use that chapter. after the last chapter ends. BookNote #28 DECIDE ON YOUR CHAPTER ELEMENTS Decide on the chapter elements you will include. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. They can be placed in a sidebar or within the chapter as an exercise. you can always use it later as an article or promotional piece for your book. Will you offer the element in each chapter or only in specific chapters? List this information on your Chapter Plan. Lists can be contained within the text or added as a sidebar.com .
Use the referencing method most often used for your field. Works Cited with MLA (Modern Language Association). Here are the typical back matter sections: • Appendices • Answer key to exercises with a “right” answer • Resources • Glossary • Endnotes • Index • About the Author • Information about other publications from the publisher • Order form Appendices Anything can be placed in an appendix. you don’t clutter your text up with whole pages of documents that break up the flow of reading. • Blank Exercises and Worksheets – Put a blank copy of each fill-in exercise or worksheet here so they can copy and use it. Using them depends on your topic and the usual back matter sections included in other books of your field. Include © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 80 References/Works Cited/Bibliography If you cite (quote or paraphrase) another author’s work (in Fair Use or with Permission). Here are a few examples: • Samples – Include your samples. Having the samples here makes finding them easier. That way. Back Matter – Optional Pages Many options are available to you for back matter. you need to include the full citation of that work on this page. Put chunks of information useful to the reader as a reference source as an appendix when their inclusion in the text would slow down the flow of reading. as well.com . as an appendix (either individually or as a collection of samples). A Bibliography often includes works referenced but not cited. This page is titled References with APA (American Psychological Association) referencing.
Think of your users when you list resources. You can include reference information and additional notes for the reader. Figure out the easiest way for readers to use your information and go with that. they appear at the end of the chapter. which. I found one book that listed all the websites mentioned in the e-book (hundreds of them) alphabetically. Endnotes Endnotes are like footnotes. The most useful resource sections have the listings categorized for easier searching. Most word processing programs will automatically number the endnotes and keep the sequence of numbers accurate if you insert a new end notes. Glossary If you are dealing with a highly technical topic. Check out how your field uses endnotes. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Resources Most nonfiction books these days offer resources. If digital. include a glossary and indicate in the text that a word is included in the glossary (use an asterisk or bold the word). one which has its own vocabulary. as often happens. except that instead of the notation appearing at the bottom of the page. you can link the word to its definition in the back. have to be updated as websites change with the wind and disappear as fast. include an answer key so readers can check their answers. Answer Key If your exercises have “correct” or single answers. naturally. as that would violate copyright laws. or put the definition in a sidebar with the word’s first mention.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 81 another permission notice that the copying is done only for personal use of the purchaser and not to be resold. if at all. which was no use at all to me.com .
in formal. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. It takes a lot of time. and your first indexes will be your learning indexes. Indexes should be created by professional indexers. Describe your publications. BookNote #29 DECIDE ON THE BACK MATTER Decide the Back Matter pages you’ll include in your book. Other Publications and Order Form If you are self-publishing. in finding something. informal. an alphabetical listing of key words from the text with pages numbers. I’ve seen this as part of the front matter and I’ve seen it as part of the back matter. an addition to the Table of Contents. but then placing it in front does allow you to show your credibility to the reader. List them in your Chapter Plan.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 82 Index Many printed books include an index. here is your chance to do a little marketing. while others are quite useful to the reader. but you can do it yourself if you must. Some indexes are so skimpy (a few pages) that they are pointless and a waste of paper. mention and link to your website. They are essential for people doing research and handy for casual readers as well. Frankly. or comedic tone). I think the content is more important than the author. About the Author This piece is your biography (1st or 3rd person. so they’ll be of only moderate quality. or according to your field or industry standard.com . and include an order form. Place it where you want to.
testimonials.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 83 Finalize Your Chapter Plan Now you can finalize your Chapter Plan.com . THE SEQUENCE OF ITEMS: © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. reviews • Half title page • Title page • Copyright Page • Dedication • Acknowledgements • Disclaimer • Brief Table of Contents • Table of Contents • List of Illustrations • Publisher’s Preface • Foreword • Introduction CHAPTER STRUCTURE • Chapter # and title • Chapter preview • Chapter introduction • Quotations from famous authors • Pull quotes • Strategies • Techniques • Instructions • General advice or tips • Concerns or Warnings • Examples • Explanations • Definitions • Resources including web links • Last paragraph leading to next chapter • Chapter summary • Action Steps FOR EACH SECTION OR TOPIC. FRONT MATTER • Endorsements. Here is a list of all the pages and elements you can include in the Chapter Plan.
contracts.com . forms. Print it out and place it in the front of your project binder. proposals. etc. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 84 • • • • • Instructions Definitions Explanations Examples Exercise with a samples already filled in CHAPTER ELEMENTS • Exercises • Samples of letters. • Worksheets (usually financial) • Forms • Grids • Sidebars • Illustrations • Checklists • Lists • Quizzes BACK MATTER • Reference page (Works Cited) • Appendixes • Answer key • Resources • Glossary • Endnotes • Index • About the Author • Other products and order form BookNote #30 FINALIZE YOUR CHAPTER PLAN Finalize your Chapter Plan from notes made while working through this Lesson.
• Text spacing: Double spaced (not 1. Standard Manuscript Format Guidelines Here are the Standard Manuscript Format guidelines to use for preparing a manuscript for a publisher. This goes for all text. knowing you’ll have to convert it their demands later. you can put your text in proper format as much as possible. consider using these guidelines to format your manuscript. but why have to change the entire book if you don’t have to. then you can ignore this section. Do NOT use right hand justification (it make judging length and word © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. If you are self-publishing. But for now. as they don’t convert well to the publisher’s software system and are added by the page designer. including footnotes.5 spacing). This practice is standard for manuscript style. Before you submit the manuscript to a publisher. Here are the guidelines: • Margins: 1 inch margin on all sides at the very least. Why decide this stuff now? As you type. Of course.25 to 1. you’ll make changes to some of it. and editing processes move more smoothly. • Margin Justification: Left margin justified (also known as flush left). revision.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 85 FORMATTING YOUR MANUSCRIPT If you plan to submit the manuscript to a publisher. don’t worry about it. most publishers will ask you to remove all automatic numbering and bullets from the manuscript. if you use them. If you can’t. you will be given instructions on the format preferred. since you don’t know which publisher you’ll be going with nor the format they will require. type the text in a font and size comfortable for you.5 inches on the side margins allow the editor to make notes on your manuscript.com . 1. Type it into proper format if you can. This preparation will help your drafting. For example. as you have already done a Page Plan.
Lines per page: 25 lines per page. the spacing will change and your numbers will end up in the middle of a page. Italics: To indicate italics entered by the page designer (for book titles. Page numbers are usually located in the header box. Have the computer automatically enter these numbers. use the tab key. and so on). Manuscript Header: In the Header box (not part of your text). underline the text. let the computer word wrap the words as the space indicates. making the table look amateurish. Use the computer’s power to make your life easier. The problem with hyphenation is that if you revise the paragraph and change the spacing. film titles. Other publishers may want another font. then place the illustration in a separate file. and it makes editors crazy with all those extra spaces. bold. except for heads and subheads (section labels).com . your hyphen ends up in the © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Hyphenation: Don’t. Again this is useful for estimating length. The publisher’s page designer will add these features.) Font: Courier 12 point (about 25 lines per page. Since your manuscript will have a ragged right margin (no justification). so you don’t have to continuously change them. such as Courier. They always leave a space. about 250 words per page). Fancy type: Avoid italics. Page numbers: Always number your pages. the tab key will always start you at exactly the same place. Never type the page numbers into your manuscript yourself because with revisions. Illustrations: indicate where an illustration will be inserted in the text. Do NOT include a blank line between paragraphs. which affects production costs. used in final books and business writing. placed in the upper right corner of the page. Tables and columns: Use the Table creator in your word processing program. That’s block style. The publisher’s page designer will format these tables.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 86 • • • • • • • • • • count impossible. Paragraphing: Indent ½ inch on the first line of each paragraph. These fonts allow the same spacing for each letter. put your last name and the book’s title against the left margin and the page number against the right margin. You are looking for a non proportional font. Do not use the | key for drawing lines. This spacing helps publishers estimate word count. using the space bar gives you uneven spacing. so the i and the w take up the same space. all caps and any other decorative or symbol fonts or type.
Text color: Use black ink. It is safer to just print out a new copy. Perfect copy: Send a perfect copy.” Your computer might make this an m dash (the width of an m). Section labels: Known as headers and subheaders. Paper: Use standard white copy paper. Double hyphens: These are used without spaces: “this is a new idea— a new paradigm. Let the publisher do that when in production. Use 20 or 24 pound paper. If your computer doesn’t. Single sided pages: Don’t double side the pages to save paper. You can use colors in your illustrations. Always send a nicely printed copy. You will have made all corrections onto the computer and printed out a clean copy. as happened above. but you can if you want to). Buy it by the case. So don’t cause yourself more headaches than are necessary.) © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. but don’t go overboard as color ink cartridges cost more than black ink. these labels should be the same font and size as the body text. placed against the left margin. References or documentation: Use the documentation style most often used in your industry or topic area. If you want to recycle manuscripts. (Remember my advice about buying paper by the case? That’s why. Send the loose pages in a box to the editor. Copies: Never send the original of anything to anyone. The text starts on the next line. endnotes (much easier to deal with). and so on. The End: Type The End at the end of your manuscript. if allowed by the publisher. or as they advise. Follow their rules for footnotes (very old fashioned and rarely used anymore. They are capped.com . They’ll probably ask you to send it in on a disk anyway. make sure there are no coffee stains or other marks on the manuscripts you send out. then use two hyphens.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 87 • • • • • • • • • • middle of the line. citation information in the text. you’ll use a lot of it. use black ink. Binding: None. Digital printing can use color ink. otherwise. and located on their own line. Don’t bind your manuscript with bull clips or staples or any kind of report cover.
com . © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. 3. as if you were designing the book. the page design. Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #5 1. If you are going to use the Standard Manuscript format. create a reference sheet to put up at your writing space. Then decide the structure and elements you would change and know the reason for the change.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 88 BookNote #31 CREATE YOUR MANUSCRIPT FORMATTING PLAN If appropriate for your situation. Examine five books you really have always liked the look of. With a publisher’s eye. Take one of those books you really like the look of and create a Chapter Plan. 2. Print and post these points at your workspace. for quick reference when typing. decide on the basic format for your manuscript. figure out their use of the chapter structure and chapter elements.
with much of it based on your own experiences and solutions. RESEARCH YOUR BOOK’S CONTENT With your existing knowledge about your topic and all of the prewriting done so far.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 89 LESSON 6 RESEARCH YOUR CONTENT You’ve been doing preliminary research on this book’s topic while learning and thinking about your topic. including your Basic Outline. with many questions.com . • fact checking of remembered references. be sure its inclusion won’t date your material too much. current statistics to include. You struggled with the issue. then you tried them on others to make sure they worked. You started as a beginner. and came up with your own solutions. Someone (anonymous) said: To write it. to collect the data in it – all my life. it took three months. Or you may need to find the exact wording of a remembered quote. or the name of the author. to conceive it – three minutes. probably for many years. If the information carries a publication date needed in the text. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. learned from your mistakes. then simply skim this chapter to see if anything will be useful for your process. regardless of your existing knowledge: • quotations from famous. You may need to find additional information. Then you decided to write your book. you’re ready to dig more deeply into your topic. So much of your preliminary research is already done. If you feel you have a firm grasp of your book’s topic.
You might be surprised. If you have a long list of research questions to answer. have several people follow the instructions and examine the results. • Explanations. define abstract terms.com . Make sure you get every step of the process right. Make sure you actually perform the task as described in the instructions before finalizing that part of the book. What Types of Information Can You Use? Many types of information are available to provide content and insight for your readers. • Tips or General Advice usually have no sequence of action. Use this list of information types as an idea generator: brainstorm how you can effectively use each one to enhance your book’s content. You should recognize some of the parts as from the Development Methods as Idea Triggers technique described in an earlier lesson. Realize that even if you answer all of the questions on your Research Questions List. Marston Bates said: Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind. You might present this information in bullet points. you will find more holes while actually writing the draft and revising. and © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Definitions. and Descriptions are to be included in your text. Here are the major choices: • Step-by-step instructions are used if you have a process or procedure that requires the reader to perform one step after another. so accept that you’re not done with research at this point. But you can accomplish a lot at this point. but don’t get bogged down in that process so that you don’t finish the book.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 90 • current resources and web addresses to include as Resources (in the text and in the back matter). have fun with the research. Make sure you explain topics. In fact. I know it’s tempting but do the research you need and then move on to the next step. Often advanced users of a process forget some of the intermediate steps that they have internalized.
Can you create a case history. You might consider including a glossary if the vocabulary might be new to your readers. Use metaphors or analogies for complicated topics. They are considered chapter elements. do an interview. or in tandem with other solutions. relating the events of the problem and the outcomes of implementing other solutions (which didn’t work) and then your solutions (which did work)? With these interviews. described earlier in this course. you are conducting primary research and creating new data.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 91 • • • • • • • • • describe physical objects. This citing also allows the reader to read the study herself. or some other activity in which you create new data and discuss your findings in your book. Checklists or Lists are valuable additions to any book. Conduct a survey. as the writer. Research Study Results involve discussing the primary research of others. so the readers can relate your topic to something they already understand. Interviews can be with experts or sufferers of the problem. on the References page or in the Endnotes to give credit to the authors of the study. as readers love to check off tasks or goals when accomplished. Summarize the findings of several studies or relate each one individually. Primary Research can be valuable to readers and to you. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. so use your personal or client experience in your text. in visual form. Compare/Contrast your topic or action with another related topic or action. Always have written permission for these testimonials. You might want to get testimonials from those whom you have helped. as added credibility for your solutions.com . These are your original illustrations. It shows. Would presenting an argument about your topic help the reader understand your solutions? What are your reasons and evidence for the argument? Would it be helpful to present opposing views and then refute them? Personal anecdotes are wonderful teaching tools. Argument may be necessary if you are dealing with a controversial topic or if you are trying to persuade the reader to take action. Make sure you have successfully tested the technique on as many people as possible. how your solutions work. Conceptual Framework is a visual representation of your theory. either by itself. Offer a new Technique that hasn’t been offered by anyone else. Be sure to reference the source in your text.
Experiment until you find the terms that are the best. but thinking what no one else has thought. Try different words for your topic to see which one yields the best results. Make a list of possible search terms. as I sadly discovered. Be aware that some words are jargon for fields you are not writing for. For example. but for the latest information. Conduct Internet Research These days. I don’t use script as a search term. BookNote #32 WHAT TYPES OF INFORMATION CAN I USE? Brainstorm how you might use each type in your book.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 92 Someone (anonymous) said: Scientific research consists in seeing what everyone else has seen. being as specific as possible. It’s not an exhaustive discussion by any means. Here are a few tips for searching the Internet. the Internet is the first place to start for research. the word script is a shorthand term for a screenplay. Yet it has a completely different and formal meaning in the medical and computer fields. Wernher Von Braun said: Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing. Know Your Search Terms Using the best search terms for your research makes finding information so much easier and faster. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. You may eventually scrounge the stacks of your local bookstore or library. start with the Internet. So when I’m searching for information about screenwriting. but it will get you started.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. and when you’re ready to write the first draft. So you can see if a site might produce any useable information. Your Basic Outline will grow and grow. As you find more chunks of information. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said: By seeking and blundering. add the mention of the topic and source to your Basic Outline at the place it belongs. or other search engines. and not scattered throughout the description. And search at least the first five pages. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of each results page to see all the results.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 93 When you’re searching on Google. It’s all a learning process with the Internet. this outline will have become the Extended Outline. discussed in Lesson 8. Glance through the search results for those websites that have your search terms included in a way that you intended. we learn.com . Search both ways – with and without the quotes – to see the method that produces the best results. And your search terms will be bolded in the site description on the results page. If you want Google to search for a specific phrase. or ten if you can’t find the information you’re looking for or if you’re really persistent. put that phrase in quotation marks in the search field. research quotes and materials. Looking for your search terms clustered as you intend them to be can speed up your research process. The most relevant websites mentioning your keyword search terms will come up first. and other useful information. Google will bring up only those websites that with your entire phrase mentioned in their pages.
Find Tables of Content whose format you especially like and add it to your folder. go through your Samples folder to see if any of your copies trigger any ideas for your own work. While reading – for any topic – note how the author uses information types in the text. Create a file folder for samples of good texts with well presented or formatted chapter structure and elements. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. and so on. This list is different from the one you’re using for your book project. Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #6 1. Then when you are stuck for an idea. front and back matter that works. Evaluate the effectiveness of this usage. make a copy if you can. Start a keyword/search terms list for any topic you think you might be interested in writing about in the future.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 94 BookNote #33 CONTINUE TO RESEARCH YOUR CONTENT Do whatever research you need to do to fill in the gaps of content you’ve detected so far. Add to the list as new ideas strike you.com . 2.
• learn if your ideas are different from your competitors (most important. those that everyone writes. you can identify your own unique contributions to the field. BENEFITS OF RESEARCHING YOUR COMPETITION From this analysis. for the benefits far outweigh the effort involved. With those two points.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 95 LESSON 7 RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITION One key activity for prewriting (yes. you’ll gain many benefits.com . we’re still on prewriting) is to analyze your competition and to determine their approaches to the topic. Identify unique information. or have you discovered unique approaches and solutions to the problem? • identify “general knowledge” statements. Don’t give in to the temptation to skip it. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. from an organizational strategy to solutions offered. Have you realized or discovered the ideas shared by others. especially as indicated by your reactions to the books’ content and reviews by others. The process discussed here will take you some time. specific to a certain author. You can: • learn of the ideas and techniques offered by other authors in your field or with your topic. • acquire an understanding of your audience. Ralph Waldo Emerson said: What you are afraid to do is a clear indication of the next thing you need to do. if you’re looking for a traditional publisher). Compare these ideas to your own.
• develop a list of possible publishers for your work. Give credit to the original author. • find quotations and passages to use. or you may see that many of the authors are self-publishing. and customer reviews (helpful in evaluating a book). you’ll be combining their ideas with your knowledge and experience. • gather information about reader expectations. HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR COMPETITION? To find your competitors.com and other online booksellers. if you choose that route. First. start with your own library. You won’t be stealing their ideas. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. • learn about different organization strategies (the way the content is sequenced). And you’ll discover content that does work because you’ll like it as a reader. Bruce Henderson said: Concentrate your strengths against your competitor’s relative weaknesses. • find ideas about the design of information that works and doesn’t. • find resources to include in your Resources section. You’ll also find out-of-print titles that can indicate trends in publishing. and so on.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 96 • generate new ideas. you should have accumulated quite a library. In brainstorming. to pass along to your readers. including extras such as software. find (print the list) the top 25 or 50 books for your topic area. bounced off of others’ ideas. • discover the content that doesn’t work (you’ll dislike it). as you would want credit given if you came up with the starting idea. • learn more about your topic (always a plus). pick those books that look like they’re most similar to your book’s focus. cds.com . which may lead you to do the same. along with working with it. If you’ve been reading books for years about this topic. Look at the detail page for publisher information. Check out Amazon. it’s called piggybacking. to create new ideas. both in content and presentation. synopsis. Start with these materials and find more.
ANALYZE YOUR COMPETITION The competitive analysis system presented here takes you through the evaluation process step by step.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 97 Ask others in your field for their favorite books. then compare all books. You’ll examine each book thoroughly. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. You might even learn enough to know how to make your book a success. the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environments. then examining them briefly. add them and get copies (maybe borrow your friend’s copy). You will tackle this process in three stages: 1. using a series of Booknotes. Gather and examine all competing books in a preliminary examination. Get actual copies (bought or borrowed) to do this analysis.com . For many consumer books. 2. Add these sources to your list to check out or competition to analyze. since they relate to your book project. Books in Print and Forthcoming Books in Print (at most libraries) will provide you with publisher information. as well as compete against your book. and find anything else that seems likely to provide information about your competition. You’ll start by gathering competing books. If the titles are not on your list. Do Internet searches on your topic and focus. Some sources might be helpful in your own research. the Reference page or section will show sources the author used to create the book. Compare all competing books and determine their patterns. Examine each competing book 3. Charles Darwin said: In the struggle for survival. finishing with a thorough understanding of your book’s market.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 98 Each step involves creating a worksheet (using a table or grid) with columns and rows. adjust your rating strategy: • academic titles. These worksheets are described in detail in each step. you will verify whether it is. so that you are comparing apples to apples. If it is similar to yours. These are often published by University presses or have academic sounding titles. Tone: Does the book take a serious or humorous tone? Is it conversational or academic? Audience: Who is the primary audience: consumers. so that you can record your findings. using the column headers as described below. Rate the following a 1 or 2 as they don’t compete with your book if yours is a consumer book (if it isn’t. Focus/Tone/Audience Focus: list the book’s focus or angle for your topic? Is it a general overview of your topic? Or does it tackle a smaller portion or specific focus? Use the same terminology for all of the competing books. Here are explanations of the columns for the worksheet: Title Record enough significant words to easily identify this book from the others in your analysis. Check them out if you’re not sure.com . competing with your book. indeed. juveniles. which don’t normally compete with consumer books. make it a 1 or 2. or another group? Rating How close is this book to yours? Rate them on a scale of 1 (low) to 4 (high). Step 1: Create an Examination List An Examination List contains titles of books that might compete with your book. rate it a 3 or 4. Create a table or grid on your computer. If it is not for some reason. After a brief examination of each title. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.
For example. These competing books are most similar to your book in topic and focus. If you can’t learn more information. see if you can get the Table of Contents off the Internet. Abbreviate the titles so they’re easier to transfer to future worksheets. according to your publishing route. If you really can’t find a copy. Create a worksheet using the columns you need. Self-publishers will use more columns. but give it a good try. Here are the descriptions and headings for the worksheet’s columns: © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you’ll have ten books or more to analyze. their rating would be a 3. if you can. BookNote #34 CREATE AN EXAMINATION LIST Complete the Examination List for all valid competitors. This task might be a problem. you can eliminate all juvenile titles. eliminate all books for advanced users or practitioners. if you’re writing for beginners. as well as age group and experience levels. Hopefully. Step 2: Create a Competitors List Transfer those books with a rating of 4 on your Examination List to your Competitors List.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 99 • humor books (if yours is not a humor book). For example. • books that are related to your topic area but are obviously not a competing book. At least it will yield some information. especially if the books are out of print. keep it on the Examination List. eliminate the book from your Competitors List. • books not appropriate to your audience’s age group. • books aimed at readers with a different experience level than you’re writing for. not a 4. In other words.com . If in doubt. Get copies of each book. if you are writing for adults. as noted below.
or self-publisher. needing little revision to sell well. not that that’s bad. OP?: Is this book Out of Print? If the book was never repeated. while a 20-year old analysis of a historical event might be fine. You’ll probably recognize the major publisher’s name. or it was a lousy book. Date/Ed/OP? (Date. then this is possibly a hot seller.com . Of course. you have a self-publishing operation. Think about how old this date is for the topic. Or the author might be one of those onebook wonders. small. website. then the book wasn’t a good fit for the times or buying public’s desires. Is this the first edition? Second? Compare the edition date to the copyright date. but the difference between a small publisher and self-publisher can be difficult to detect. or it might be a backlist title. Out of Print) Date: The copyright date is listed with the © symbol. If it’s in its third edition and only three years out from the original copyright date. They can often react to the market place much faster than the huge publishers. then it might not a hot seller. Do your homework and think about what that all might mean. Ed: Look for the edition of the book. mailing address. Edition. and this book is still currently still in the first edition. Look for other authors with that publisher. or it has ever changing information that needs frequent/annual updating. but they probably won’t publish your books. This is the original date of publication for this material. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. also included on the copyright page. it might also indicate that the author and/or publisher didn’t get it right the first times around. other than the owner. and it’s 20 years old.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 100 Publisher The publisher’s name. Find out if this is a major. A two-year old computer book is probably out of date. If one author has written all their books. if that is your intended publishing route. If the copyright date is several years old.
Some books have page 1 starting with Chapter 1. an e-book’s size must fit on an 8. the first page of the book). or somewhere in the front matter. 51995. Page count What is the book’s total page count.5 x 8. At the right side of the bar code is a five-digit number starting with 5. Adjust your page count so that all books you analyze use the same calculating system.5) trade paperback or an odd size? Odd sizes cost more to print because the presses have to be reset for the strange paper size. If you know how you want your own book to be numbered (e-books usually page 1 as the title page. That’s just rude and wasteful. However. which means the price is not available. Of course. I wouldn’t create an e-book (which I have seen). including back matter? Look at their numbering system. If it reads. so consider carefully the advantages and disadvantages of an odd book size if that’s in your book vision. while others have page 1 on the Full Title Page. that is simply a scan of a printed book sized at 6 x 9. otherwise. with the bar code label.com .95.5 x 11 piece of paper. the size is up to you.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 101 FOR SELF-PUBLISHERS. so you’ll need to find it elsewhere. RECORD THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: Price What is the cover price for the book? Amazon usually lists this information. just to be consistent. use that system with your competing books. Font style and size What font do they use for the body text? Is it readable for your target market? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. You can often find it on the back cover. Sometimes this number reads 50000. then the cover price is $19. Book size Is this a standard (5.
That is. BookNote #35 CREATE A COMPETITORS LIST Complete the Competitors List worksheet. • Wire binding is popular with books that need to lay flat. the consumer decides how the book will be bound. Create the worksheet with four columns and record your findings for all the books on your Competitors list. if printed at all.com . • Hardback books. which bookstores hate. But if you’re not using bookstores as your distribution channel. • Perfect binding refers to the standard paperback found in bookstores. For example. but they may not have a spine label. have no binding. which has the book glued into the cover. • E-books. then having a spine is a moot point. Step 3: Examine Overall Book Contents Examine each competing book’s overall contents. such as general focus. by their nature. are more expensive to produce but are much more durable.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 102 Your publication method will also determine this issue. then a larger font is preferable. to be viewed on an electronic device. if the book is an e-book. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. such as cookbooks or reference materials. Here are the explanations for each column: Title Use or abbreviate the title of the book chosen. whether with a dust jacket or with the cover laminated onto the hardback cover. Binding (print versions) Several types of bindings are available. while a print book will probably use a 10 to 12 point type.
Ask a question that is answered with the book . Go through the list and see if any feel right.How to X .# Keys to Success with X .# Critical Issues of X .Before and After X .# Steps for (benefits) with X © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.# Elements for Highly Successful X .Benefits and Costs of X .# Questions to Ask about You and X and their answers . Again.# Step Plan for X . .# Reality Checks for X . Presentation Approach The presentation approach is the way the writer offers the information.A to Z of X .FAQs about X . it’s another focus method.# Critical Elements of X .Do’s and Don’ts of X . etc.# Overlooked/New Strategies for X .# Essential Skills for X . use the same terminology for all books compared so you can compare them easily.# Myths About X .Basics of X . Below is a list of approaches you may use with your topic.Mastering X . record an even closer view of the book. with X representing your topic. for this worksheet.Advantages and Disadvantages of X.# Step Plan for a benefit of X .# Mistakes to Avoid about X . in your gut. .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 103 Focus/Angle Since you’ve already identified the primary focus of the book. This list might also give you a different or more focused idea for your book than you originally had. of using X.# Smart Moves for X .# Essential Tips for X . of Being X.com .
Secrets of Success for X . whose first letter coincides with the letter of the alphabet.X for (target market) .Your X guide to Success .Types of X. Here are some common ones.# Traits or characteristics of people involved with X . and others agree your method works.Secrets to go from (Y) to X . pick the best one for your readers and the one most logical for your topic. processes.Timetable for X . This is tougher than you might think.# Easy Ways to Improve Y (something related to X) Organizational Strategies The Organizational Strategy is the sequence in which the content is presented.com .Planning Guide for X . If your material requires something different. Many books are presented in chronological sequence because the activities must be performed in a specific sequence for the reader to solve the problem. • Chronological: In its proper sequence. • Alphabetical listing: This is the A-to-Z strategy where the author comes up with 26 traits or items about the topic.(Something Bad): An Opportunity for Growth and Change .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 104 . but it is a dramatic way to organize information.(Questions about X): Who.Success Strategies for X . as it appears in time. Why about X . © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. and how to information.Ultimate Guide to X . What.Using X to (chief benefit) .# Things to Remember about X .# Strategies for X success or Strategies for Success with X .# Tips for X .You are an X if… (with thanks to Jeff Foxworthy’s comedy routine) .Your X Checkup . then use your own strategy.Stages of X .Pros and Cons of X .# Ways to Develop (something related to X) . Use this strategy with stories. Several strategies are available. X defined .
discuss the cause of a problem. This strategy can be used with problems or with an argument. BookNote #36 ANALYZE OVERALL BOOK CONTENTS Complete the Overall Book Contents worksheet. or consequences. If you are describing a healing technique that covers the entire body. other than to summarize the key points involved and reveal any new information that would be useful. • FAQ: You might want to use the Frequently Asked Questions approach. discuss the problem. Each section or chapter is framed as a question. Use this strategy with tips or general advice. Travel books are often organized by geography or itinerary. then the effects. • Importance or significance: Start with a lesser solution in difficulty or significance and work up to your most powerful solution as the last chapter. • Cause and Effect: First. reveal your tested solutions to the problem. you may start with the head and work down to the toes. or how-to books.com . Realize that if you are dealing with a cause that many people understand. which are often categorized (with a subhead for each category). presented one per chapter. results. so that you can end with a bang. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. with the answers given. This strategy can be used with general advice/tips. or you might have many techniques or solutions. second. you probably don’t have to dwell on it too much. Your solution might be broken up into parts. First. • Problem and Solution: This strategy is similar to the cause and effect strategy. problem/solutions. arguments.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 105 • Spatial: As it happens in space.
Disclaimer or Warning [R] 8. note this fact on your form. examine the front matter (discussed in greater detail in Lesson 5). Dedication [R] 6. The usual sequence of these pages is as follows: 1. Below is a list of pages and information you can include as Front Matter. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Brief Table of Contents (usually only with textbooks) [R] 9. Foreword [R] 13.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 106 NEXT EXAMINE EACH BOOK’S CONTENTS Step 4: Examine Each Book’s Front Matter For each book on your Competitors list.com . You can also state the number of pages used. Endorsements or Testimonials [R] 2. Publisher’s Preface (often omitted) [R] 12. If the book you are examining contains this page. if that is a concern of yours. Introduction [R] Create a 2-column worksheet with the front matter pages listed in the left column (one page per row) and your comments in the right column. Table of Contents [R] 10. Copyright Page (on the back of the Full title Page) [L] 5. List of Illustrations [L] 11. BookNote #37 ANALYZE FRONT MATTER Complete the Front Matter worksheet. Acknowledgements [R] 7. Full Title Page [R] 4. Half title Page [R] 3.
or do they feel different? Consistency is the sign of a professional. The three © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Create the 5-column worksheet with the following column headings. Chapter Title Write the chapter title out exactly as it is written. using the Table of Contents as your primary source of information. take three representative pages (usually not the first page of the chapter) and count the words exactly. What is the main idea for each chapter? Is the idea part of the problem or solution.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 107 Step 5: Examine Each Book’s Chapter Contents For each book on your Competitors List. like redone clichés or puns? Are the titles in the form of a question? Do they follow the same grammatical format. so you can see patterns between books. or something else? Use your own terminology for each book analyzed.com . Chapter Number Number the chapters sequentially. You might want to make the worksheet horizontal. to give you more space to record the Chapter Title and Chapter Focus. To estimate the word count simply. but if you want to determine the approximate true length of the manuscript (to compare to your own word count). Chapter Focus Determine each chapter’s focus or angle. more manageable lengths? Does the page count for the chapter work for the book? Estimated Word Count This step is optional. you will want to take the time to do this. Page Count How many pages are in each chapter? Should the longer chapters have been broken up into smaller. examine the book’s chapters. in full. Does the author use cutesy titles.
you might find: • Chapter title and number • Chapter preview • Chapter Introduction • Opening quotation of famous author(s) © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. At the beginning of the chapter. BookNote #38 ANALYZE CHAPTER CONTENTS Complete the Chapter Contents worksheet. Then multiply this number by the number of lines per page to get an approximate word count for the page. Step 6: Examine Each Book’s Chapter Structure Chapter Structure refers to those types of information that give structure and substance to the chapter. Your sample counts should be similar. I highly recommend doing this for e-books since their page count is usually deceptively larger than it would be in a printed book. Multiply the page count by the number of pages in the chapter to get the approximate chapter word count. A 200-page e-book with very large type could easily reduce to 100 pages if printed. which is used by most people as the standard measure.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 108 numbers should be similar. Take the average of the three and multiply by the number of pages in the chapter.com . A short cut would be to take a few representative lines (typical for the text) and count the number of words on that line. Make notes of the chapter structure aspects included in most chapters of the book you are examining (which were discussed more fully in Lesson 5). with all of the chapter structure aspects listed in the left column (one aspect per row) and use the right column for your analysis. Create a 2-column worksheet. Remember to include blank lines in your line count.
com . you might find: • Quotations of famous authors • Pull quotes (your own words highlighted as if a famous quotation) • Strategies – long term action plans • Techniques – individual processes to accomplish a goal • Instructions or step by step • General advice or tips • Concerns or warnings for dangerous actions • Examples. Examine each book to see if the author added chapter elements consistently. Step 7: Examine Each Book’s Chapter Elements Chapter Elements are those larger pieces of a chapter added to enhance the reading and/or learning experience (as described in Lesson 5). Is the pattern of inclusion most helpful to the reader? Should some elements have been added for a better book? Or omitted for the same reason.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 109 Within the text. Create a 2-column worksheet with the elements listed (one per row) in the left column and your findings in the right column. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. of varying lengths • Explanations • Definitions • Resources that might be helpful to the reader • Web links At the end of the chapter • Last paragraph introduces the next chapter’s topic • Chapter summary – bulleted list of main ideas covered in chapter • Action steps to implement ideas or techniques learned in chapter BookNote #39 ANALYZE CHAPTER STRUCTURE Complete the Chapter Structure worksheet.
and other information.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 110 Chapter elements to look for include: • Exercises • Samples of letters. or other documentation page • Index These sections are more fully described in Lesson 5.com . • Answer key to exercises. • Worksheets • Forms • Grids or • Sidebars • Illustrations • Checklists • Lists • Quizzes BookNote #40 ANALYZE CHAPTER ELEMENTS Complete the Chapter elements worksheet. forms. Create a 2-column worksheet. with the back matter pages in the left column (one page per row) and your findings in the right column. Step 8: Examine Each Book’s Back Matter Back matter includes all those pages after the last page of the last chapter. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. if applicable • Glossary • End notes • References. proposals. letters. Works Cited. Here are the typical back matter pages: • Appendices • Resources • Samples of exercises. forms. contracts. and other information.
Consider answering the following questions about each author’s bio: • Is the biography presented in first or third person? • How long is the bio? A few short paragraphs. as well as the credibility of the author. Decide the most effective way for your book.com . notice your reaction to their content? Find the best techniques for your own book. Step 9: Examine Each Book’s Author Information and Other Pages At this point. examine the following information: • About the Author • The Foreword • The Introduction • The Disclaimer. a few pages? • How does the length make you feel about the author? • What tone is taken? Is it serious or humorous? Does that tone fit with the book’s contents? • Does the biography read like a story or a list of credentials and accomplishments? Which method do you find more effective and more engaging as a reader? • What credentials does the author relate? Are they related to the book’s topic? • Are specific numbers of clients or situations included? Are specific clients’ names included (with their permission)? Does this help with credibility? • What information is included that relates specifically to the book’s © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. As you read other books.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 111 BookNote #41 ANALYZE BACK MATTER Complete the Back Matter worksheet. a page. About the Author “About the Author” can be presented in a myriad of ways. from short stories to long lists of credentials and accomplishments. Determine the effectiveness of each page in increasing the usefulness of the book for the reader.
For each of your competitors.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 112 topic? • Is the author information at the front or back of the book? • Overall. the author. write your notes about each competing book’s use of the author bio. The Foreword A famous person in the field will usually write the foreword. Include their byline. It might also include a How to Use this Book section or other explanations. write your notes about each competing book’s use of the foreword. The famous person’s participation gives you. note the following: • Does the book include an introduction? • What information is included? • How effective is this Introduction? On a separate piece of paper.com . more credibility. how do you feel about the author after reading the bio? On a separate piece of paper. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. On a separate piece of paper. write your notes about each competing book’s use of the Introduction. book titles. Look at each of your competing books and determine: • Does the book have a foreword? • Has a famous person written the foreword? • How effective is this foreword? • Does the foreword writer impress you and add credibility for the book’s author? What famous people might you contact about writing a foreword for your book? You might be amazed at how readily someone might agree. The Introduction Generally an introduction is a summary of the book’s contents or main ideas. and website. so it is usually written last.
include a disclaimer. use a separate page. but write on the best topics in your own words. the law. finances or accounting. If most of your competition includes one. the Disclaimer. Sometimes this information is included on the copyright page. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. the Introduction.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 113 The Disclaimer A disclaimer is most often included in books with contents that could be used poorly and cause harm to the book’s reader. If you are discussing issues concerning health. If you need more room. then you should too. On a separate piece of paper. the Foreword.com . or other such topics. Go with the flow on this one. write your notes about each competing book’s use of the disclaimer. if brief. • Does the book have a disclaimer? • What specific topics are included? • Where is it located within the front matter? Don’t use their exact words (that’s plagiarism). BookNote #42 ANALYZE THE ADDITIONAL PAGES Complete the analysis of the additional pages: About the Author. Step 10: Evaluate Each Book Now bring together all of your results and summarize your findings for each book.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 114 Create a 2-column worksheet. Why is this aspect a strength for this book? • Weaknesses – Where does the book fall short or disappoint you as a reader? Benefits for readers – What benefits do you see the reader receiving while using the information in the book? If you see these as important for your own readers. Answer the following questions. for each competing book. why doesn’t it work here? • Has the book included enough front matter pages? How does this affect the appearance or usefulness of the book? • Are the chapter structure aspects used consistently? Are they helpful or not? • Are the chapter elements used consistently? Have they included ones that shouldn’t be there or omitted ones that should be? • Has the author included Back matter pages? Has too much been included? What would you have included or omitted? • Is the index useful. with the left column containing the underlined words of the points below.com . if there is one? Is the index pathetic and not at all helpful to the reader? Or can you find stuff using the index? • How much detail does the book go into? How deeply does the author dig into the topic? Is this a strength or weakness? • How comprehensive (broad in scope) is coverage of the topic? Is the book an overview of the entire topic. • Strengths – Be fair. Use your insights to make your book the best one possible. • What features or elements stand out as being the best content? What features or elements are the least impressive for this book? • What content have they included that you would leave out? What content have they left out that you would include? • Is the material organized well? If not. then add that benefit to your list and make sure you offer it. or do they dig deeply into one subgroup of a broader topic? Is this coverage a strength or weakness? • What is the writing quality? How does this qualify effect the readability? The author’s credibility? • Is the literacy level too high or too low for the target audience? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. What does the book do well? Perhaps you should do this in your book as well. the right column is for your insights about patterns detected and other notes to yourself.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 115 • Cover art – Do the covers look professionally designed or by someone with little sense of design. then they will design the covers. Use the right column for your notes and findings. • How does each book differ from the others? List the obvious and subtle differences. If a traditional publisher will be publishing your work. Use the underlined words for the row labels of the left column. Decide on the following issues: • What are the strengths of all of the books? • What are the weaknesses of the books? • Are the books all about the same length? Are their chapters about the same length? • Do they cover the same material? What chapters or topics are always included? What chapters or topics are unique to certain books? Do these different chapters refocus the topic in a beneficial way? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. • What is your overall evaluation of each competing book? Give it a letter grade. or rate it on a scale of 1 – 10. Self-publishers are notorious for having poor cover design because they do it themselves to save money. BookNote #43 EVALUATION OF EACH BOOK Complete the Evaluation of Each Book worksheet. Create a 2-column worksheet and record the detected patterns or overall evaluations of all the books analyzed.com . bring this information together to identify patterns. NEXT COMPARE YOUR COMPETITORS TO EACH OTHER Step 11: Compare the Competition Now that you’ve analyzed all of your competing books.
Time on the Internet should yield a few titles. think a bit.com . an amateur. any of which will cause the publisher to refuse your proposal. What if There is “no” Competition? Never say there’s “no” competition. Then sit back. Then figure out how these affect your vision or plans for your book. So find your competition. • What information can you learn from your competitors that you can use in your own book? BookNote #44 COMPARE YOUR COMPETITION Complete the Compare Your Competition worksheet. or you haven’t done your homework. organizational scheme? How does the difference come across to you as the reader? What are advantages of these different choices? • How does each book differ from the other? Look for subtle differences in the content’s angle. and summarize your insights. elements. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. This indicates to a publisher that you are blind to reality. Most topics have at least one book or article written about them.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 116 • What angle hasn’t been covered by any of these books that interests you and that you can write? • How much detail do they go into? Is this a strength or weakness? • How comprehensive (broad in scope) are they with the topic? Is this a strength or weakness? • How do they differ in their chapter structure. There’s always competition. even if only related to the topic.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 117 BookNote #45 NOTES ON MY BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT Summarize your insights and apply them to your own book. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. now and in the future.com . Find Internet sites that relate to the topic area. CDs and DVDs. start a list (and keep working at it) of your competitors (the good ones) for each topic area. as well as other competitors for your readers’ attention and time. Include books. with which they could find information about your topic. information products. Record your notes and file in your binder. For the general topic area(s) you wish to write for. Actio n St ep fo r Lesson #7 1.
Additions would include more or different ideas. In the sample below. and structure so you can create a first draft that is fairly close to your vision. organization. I would put reference information in the outline for quotes I wanted to include in the paper. You should have been adding to the Basic Outline since you created it in Lesson 4. rather than as part of the outline. quotes to use. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Now is the time to finalize your book’s content. This method made writing my first drafts much easier because I knew where all the reference material went and could easily find it. when I was writing 40 to 50 page papers for my graduate courses and adding research materials from many sources. locations of research findings. This massive document is a multiple page outline that will act as your writing guide for your first draft (discussed in Lesson 9).com . An Extended Outline is a much fuller version of the Basic Outline. and so on. Reference information is included in this outline as well.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 118 LESSON 8 FINALIZE YOUR EXTENDED OUTLINE The last step in the Prewriting stage is to finalize your Extended Outline. though it won’t be perfect by any means. reference information for quotes to include. so they don’t confuse the organizational structure of the outline. THE EXTENDED OUTLINE I first developed this technique in graduate school (the first time). you’ll notice ideas for individual points to include in parentheses. It may include major and minor sections within the chapter. and so on.
it must be highly visible and obvious on the page or screen. The mention can’t be buried in a paragraph of words.Who is usually affected by the problem (directly and indirectly) .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 119 If you need information in a section but haven’t found it yet in your research. Bracket the question or point to include. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.Jane Williams’ discussion (use Ch 2 and 5) .When and where is the problem seen? .Albert Smith’s discussion (see Ch. mention the topic of focus of the missing information in the outline as well. SAMPLE OF A BASIC OUTLINE Introduction Basics of the Topic The Problem Described Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 And so on SAMPLE OF AN EXTENDED OUTLINE Chapter 1 Introduction .Benefits to be gained if you use this book Chapter 2 Basics of the Topic . their symptoms .Many people suffer from this problem.What the experts say about the problem . • You can identify gaps in your thinking and content. Spread them across your desk and study them as one unit.What does the problem look like in a person’s life? . 4) .A summary of the book’s major sections.What does the lowest point of desperation look and feel like? Benefits of an Extended Outline The Extended Outline serves several valuable purposes for you at this point: • You can see your entire project on a few pages.Zoe Aronson’s discussion (use Intro) Chapter 3 The Problem Described . or put a blank line to be filled in later.How to use this information .com . main points made . Whatever method you use to indicate the gap.
It must be as good as possible. whole. • You can identify other problems. Keep working on the Extended Outline until you feel it is complete.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 120 • You can identify duplications in your content. Do not move onto the first draft until your Extended Outline is complete. you can fix them in the outline. Have others read it. Then fix the problems. rather than trying to remember to fix them in the draft stage and then having to fix them in revision. Once you’ve identified problems with your book through the Extended Outline. as well as points to make within each section and references for research materials and quotes you want to include. and organized. When you have an outline that feels full and complete.com . At that point. It can really help make writing the project much easier because you’ve identified and solved most problems before setting a word down on the first draft. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Process of Using an Extended Outline Beginning with the chapter headings of the Basic Outline. otherwise. start on your first draft. Do not skip this step. Identify the following problems: • Gaps in the information presented • Missed steps in the process • Duplicated or near duplicated information that should be joined • Illogical sequencing • Other issues that jump off the page at you. evaluate it with a critical eye. you will spend time fixing problems during revision that could have been fixed more easily now. add sections within each chapter. or you can’t stand not actually writing the book. • You can get a definite sense of accomplishment for having reached this point in the process.
If you are planning to submit your manuscript to a traditional publisher. Copy the Extended Outline Sections to the Chapter’s Computer Files The last step before embarking on the first draft is to copy each chapter’s Extended Outline section into that chapter’s computer file. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. What if you get new ideas while drafting (or revising or editing.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 121 BookNote #46 FINALIZE YOUR EXTENDED OUTLINE Finalize your Extended Outline and file it where you’ll put your Table of Contents in the project binder. Use your Extended Outline as your writing guide for your first draft. Simply fill in the sections with the required information. When you get a contract. (Ha! Gotcha. but that’s essentially what you will be doing working from the Extended Outline. Move sections around if you find the need. then you should continue writing.) BookNote #47 COPY THE EXTENDED OUTLINE SECTIONS TO THE CHAPTERS’ COMPUTER FILES Copy each chapter’s section of the Extended Outline to each chapter’s computer file. which happens all the time)? Add to the outline as ideas occur to you. Create a book proposal (see Resources for recommended books about this process and document). It’s not a simple task to fill in the outline. stop here.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com . If you are self-publishing. Convert an existing project’s Basic Outline to this Extended Outline template. Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #8 1. regardless of the publishing route. What information would you want to include? Create a worksheet to add this information as you create any Extended Outline. 2. Practice with a project that holds less pressure than your current book project. or set up a template on your computer. then by all means continue writing. if you have time and the activity won’t distract you too much from your book project for this course. Make a worksheet. to create a standard Extended Outline. if you wonder if you can actually write the book. then keep going.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 122 Of course.
In fact.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 123 LESSON 9 DRAFT AND SIMMER All first drafts. You have to create something to work with. It is Not your best work. and s/he will tell you that first drafts are usually an awful but necessary part of the writing process. If you do show the first draft to someone. Ever. “shitty. Period. Just tell them that you’re not ready for anyone to see your work at this point. but simply a wordy or vague representation of the eventual book. practically even better news…is the idea of shitty first drafts. really shitty first drafts. For me and most of the other writers I know. the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really. you’re letting yourself in for criticism that you don’t need at this point. directed by the vision of your book and your Extended Outline.com . First drafts are simply regurgitations from your mind onto paper. First drafts should never be shown to anyone. WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT Ask any professional writer about first drafts. are lousy. writing is not rapturous. or to use Lamott’s wording. The true intent of the book will be realized during the revision and editing stages. no matter how proficient the writer.” To be specific: Anne Lamott said in Bird by Bird Now. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. All good writers write them…. So keep it private.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. As I have discussed.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 124 Often creating the first draft is pure joy. You KNOW your book project at this point. B. Think about your level of frustration during that process. It may be bad. Take chances. White said: Advise from this elderly practitioner is to forget publishers and just roll a sheet of copy paper into your machine and get lost in your subject. ideas and arguments. regardless of the amount of prewriting you’ve done. Think about how you usually accomplish your first drafts. you should be feeling pretty confident that the actual writing will be – if not a breeze – at least easier than anticipated. splash around a bit. I get to fill it up with words and images. For example. I would imagine. Ernest Hemingway The first draft of anything is shit. E. But the quality of the first draft can be. Of course. an activity you’ve been aching to do for a while now. drafting can be done in two ways: the hard way and the easy way.com . It’s your choice. Different authors have different strategies to approaching and completing the first draft. but it’s the only way you can do anything really good. Others may suffer from “The Fear of the Blank Page” which is so often discussed in quotations about writing. poor. These strategies are often quoted as well. and create that first draft of your book project. admittedly. but some of us delight in the blank page. if you’ve done all the prewriting activities described in this course up to this point. These two methods are described below. William Faulkner said: Get it down. Then read how you can make the drafting process so much easier. So let’s plunge into the water. stories and information.
while drafting. keep at it. You may eventually produce the book you envision. syntax as you write. Half an hour or an hour will work. one of two results will occur: A. Make each word and sentence perfect the first time on the page – or at least try. definitions. When writing fast. making you feel like you’re staring into a fog. In other words.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 125 Draft the Hard Way You can make drafting difficult – write it the hard way – if you pay attention to your grammar. Start with a section you want to write. a useful helper during revision and editing. So if you insist on writing the hard way. You will be refreshed and able to write more. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. then return to your writing. type faster. Draft the Easy Way Here’s how you can write the first draft the easy way: • Use your Extended Outline as your writing guide. If you draft this way. Or you might not. If you do hear the Critic. as you should. fill in the sections with explanations. Tip: if and when you feel this fog rolling in. your brain gives out first. you’re listening to your Critic-on-your-Shoulder (as I was taught to call it. You can call it Fred if you want. This is best done on a computer (or typewriter. and other information. take a nap.) The Critic is the editor. you could take months or years to complete the first draft. analysis. spelling. In fact. If you write the hard way. in the best case. your Critic can’t get a word in edgewise because you’re typing so fast.com . you’re ignoring your Critic-on-Your-Shoulder. or B. you could quit long before you get anywhere near the end. as discussed earlier in this course. read the Extended Outline section. examples. write your first draft. but you still want to write more that day. Struggle over every word before you put it down. With typing. • Write fast. but not here. if you’re still working with stone age technology) because you can usually type longer and faster than you can write long hand. Use the Extended Outline as your writing guide to keep you focused.
“Then write: ‘This is the first sentence of my paper.com . As you become a better writer. do the best you can but don’t pay too much attention to writing quality. showing a higher quality of writing. And I include this here to help you if you suffer from the great time-wasting disease of perfectionism. He said he wanted the writing to be perfect the first time out. so he wouldn’t have to revise it. and sat down. That first sentence is a killer. and said. Sholem Asch said: Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.” He wasn’t satisfied.” I paused. with more practice (read: more books written and published. So relax and enjoy creating the first view of your vision on paper or on the screen. it’s just due. “But I can never get started. I really hope my comments helped. I thought about that a moment and quoted a colleague from years before: “Writing is never perfect. with your voice.” You’re simply dumping ideas about that chapter’s particular topic onto the paper or screen. during revision. Auden said: How do I know what I think until I see what I say. Later. “ He laughed. more articles done). The revision is the most important part of the process. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. He then said. nodded. “Writing is rewriting. continue to write. and he didn’t really like writing. Terror of the First Sentence A student once approached me on the first day of class (a college business communications class) with a problem: He admitted to being a perfectionist. compassionate to his plight. You are NOT trying for perfection or even a great first draft. and said. you can take that sentence out.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 126 And remember about “shitty first drafts. your drafts will naturally become better. to help the reader. W.” I thought again. H.’ Once that’s down. You’re pulling research from other sources and creating your own content. Of course.
If your content requires a sequence of actions for the reader to understand because: • the reader must follow the steps in order to accomplish the task. Don’t start with the Introduction. At least. you don’t really know what’s going to be in the book. Then write the next one you really want to write. If your book doesn’t require a sequence or foundation.” Writing the book in this manner will allow you to create that foundation and sequence necessary for the reader. 2. start anywhere you want. At this point in the process.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 127 Where to Start Writing You must know your content to make the decision of the place to start. I hope it does. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. A Tip: Focus on one section at a time while writing.com . after I’ve written the book because the introduction is usually a summary of the book. start with Chapter 1 and continue through to the end. in fact. then stop. I often write the Introduction last. “and go on till you come to the end. Continue until you’re done. Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: “Begin at the beginning. It will also allow you to see the gaps in your content that you didn’t realize needed to be explained because the process is too ingrained in your thinking.” the King said gravely. Start with the chapter you’re most anxious or excited to write. But laying it out and writing it in sequence will help you remember all the steps. at least not in detail. until you are done writing it or done for the day. even those you’ve forgotten. Forget all the other sections and chapters. You have two choices here: 1. or • the beginning chapters establish a foundation required to understand later chapters.
if you have a word that is close to the meaning you want. Wait to revise until you get to that stage of the writing process. write a similar word and put it in brackets and move on. always drafting. when you are fairly sure of the content of your book. record them and file them in the project binder. Do NOT go back and reread it. in the section to which it refers. and put the description inside brackets. so that you can write at optimum efficiency. move on. 1. You’re drafting now. don’t return to previously written material and revise it. or you’ll start revising. When you detect an additional research need. For example: [Visual: Bar graph of salaries by occupation level goes here] [Photograph here: Show the saddle fully equipped and on the horse] • When you finish a section or chapter. Always Keep Writing Forward Always keep writing forward.com . and continue drafting. • While drafting. • When you get stray ideas that belong in other chapters. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. create a new paragraph and describe the visual. The point is to move forward. put that need in brackets [ ] in the form of a question or statement of need. find the right word during the revision process. Can you see why the revision process takes so long? • Write as much as you know about the topic. Know Your Writing Goals and Rhythms It’s helpful to understand your own writing rhythms and your writing goals for the project. Later. That way they’re easier to find. You might even start it as “Visual” or the type of visual you envision. but you don’t want to take the time to think of the right word (because you’re in the flow and the words are pumping). Create and stick to a writing schedule. that is. • If you see a need for a visual at some point.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 128 Drafting Tips Here are a few tips about writing your first draft. and go back to writing the draft.
the right duration of the writing session. Buck said: I don’t wait for moods. Be patient with yourself and your timing estimates. If I get too far behind in my schedule. every day. • Give yourself at least an hour each time. so when I sat down to write. Make sure it is an output goal. 2. Setting a time goal is pointless. I adjust the schedule. I had to write more than I expected. BookNote #48 WRITE THE FIRST DRAFT Using your Extended Outline as your writing guide. if you can. figured once a week. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Maybe my Extended Outline wasn’t complete or thorough enough. I generally set the daily goal as finishing a section or chapter. so my estimates have become more accurate over the years. If I say I’ll write for two hours and write nothing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 129 • Write at the same time. Experiment with timing until you find the right timing for you: the right time of day (or night). Your mind must know that it has to get down to work. My schedule dictates the time I have available. if you can. You’ll soon understand how long a writing task takes. Pearl S. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Sometimes the writing is more complicated that I had anticipated. write your first draft. and I usually meet that goal. Set a writing goal of a number of pages or a whole section or chapter to write. so I don’t get as much done as I had scheduled. The plan and schedule should be flexible to handle life’s little surprises. I have learned from my timing mistakes and experiences. fast.com . then I’ve accomplished nothing for the day but fulfilled the goal (I sat there staring at the computer screen for two hours).
Even when you’re doing the dishes or cleaning out a closet. your mind is working on the project.com . This time allows you to incubate your project while you’re doing other tasks. You’re finished your first draft and now it’s time for a little breather. your mind seeks to fill the void with words. that is being too close to the project to see the problems it truly possesses. 1934 “Are you busy?” “I’m about as busy as a pickpocket in a nudist colony. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. 1943 “You know.C. Ollie. returning to your book project or writing brings new insights that were impossible while still mired in the first draft. Field in Six of a Kind. While you are engaging in nonverbal activities. The Importance of Simmering As with cooking. thus your unconscious mind will work while you’re not working. And you’ll have simmering time at a few points in the process.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 130 SIMMER Simmering is the process of spending time away from the project.” I thought I’d include a little chuckle at this point. With time away. simmering allows the flavor of the ideas to come out in the writing. time to laugh and play with your family or pet. a time to renew. I was just thinking. Irving Bacon and W.” “About what?” “Nothing. The time away lets the ideas work in your subconscious. I was just thinking.” Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel in Jitterbugs.
How much time is enough? The amount of time away really depends on how much time it took you to create the first draft. It is a time when you allow yourself a break. give it a day or two to simmer. sometimes furiously with genuine insistence). put them in your project folder in the section it relates to. you will see it with new eyes. after a reasonable time. or more. It’s really amazing.com . and go back to the © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. give it at least a week. Of course. You’ll see problems. What if you don’t feel that anxiety to return? Then return anyway. write the ideas down. • If the draft took months (an enormous book). Simmering is the process of NOT thinking about or working on the writing project.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 131 Phaedrus said: The mind ought to sometimes be diverted that it may return the better to thinking. Remind yourself of the goals for the project and the benefits you hope for yourself and your readers. editing. that you didn’t see while you were drafting. • If your draft took a few days (it’s a really short book). give it a week to simmer. You will know it’s time to return because you won’t be able to stand the strain of being away. one should rather study it. and solutions. Albert Einstein said: One should never impose one’s views on a problem. and in time a solution will reveal itself. When you return to the project. Jump into the revisions and keep at it. Simmering Tips Here are some tips about simmering: • When ideas about the project come to mind (and they will. if you are under a time deadline. • If the draft took you weeks. and finishing. give yourself enough time to simmer but also enough time for revision.
the time you’ve allotted.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 132 activity you were doing before being so rudely interrupted by your unconscious. or whatever. such as walking. And now for one of my favorite quotes about writing – so true it is: Burton Rascoe said: What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out the window. cooking. Wolfgang Amadaus Mozart said: When I was traveling in a carriage. gardening. When your mind is occupied doing nonverbal activities. it is on such occasions that ideas flow best and most abundantly. take a deep breath. in the correct chapter. unless the need to get back to it is so great that you can’t stand it any more. • Keep to your simmering schedule. Then definitely return to the project. • You might want to create a list of favorite nonverbal activities to have ready when you need to simmer your book for a while. File them into your project folder. cleaning out a closet. it strives to fill the void with words. or during the night when I could not sleep. Be sure you have your notebook and a working pen handy so you can write down these often fleeting ideas. so ideas will come to you at the oddest times. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. When you have finished simmering. and move on to the next lesson: revision. BookNote #49 SIMMER THE BOOK PROJECT Give yourself a timeframe in which to simmer your project.com . or walking after a good meal. Decide the activities you will do while simmering. Have a system in place to record ideas as they occur and get back to doing what you were doing.
Now answer these questions: a. Try both ways of drafting: the hard way and the easy way. lined or not. Listen to your Critic and make all changes suggested by that little voice. How did each way feel? Which one was more frustrating? Which one did you feel the words flowed better? b. five or ten minutes. draft the easy way. How many words did you produce? The easy way The hard way Difference c. Decide on a time limit. count the number of words produced in the same time as before. If you haven’t done so already. and see which one works better for you. or writing. Write fast.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 133 Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #9 1. count the number of words finally produced (not the ones crossed out). When you’re done. draft the hard way. Create and continue to record a list of nonverbal activities you’ll do while simmering. Have it with you always. First. Time yourself. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. your job. a family member. 3. hand written or typed. something you can easily write a paragraph about: a favorite food.com . Ignore the quality of the writing or even the ideas themselves. Create both entries the same way. When you’re done. get yourself a small notebook. Select a simple topic for you to write. Which method do you plan to use with your book? The easy way The hard way 2. Take the same topic as above and ignore the Critic. Second. to record your stray thoughts as they occur while simmering.
a professional editor. usage. refers to correcting the surface errors of the writing: grammar. spelling. our memory. Don’t confuse revision with editing. on the other hand. Donald Murray wrote: When we revise. focus on revising the ideas in your manuscript. The word revise stands for something. syntax. to be most useful for the reader. we do not so much revise the page as revise our thinking. addressed in the next lesson. Fifty percent is about right. or at least it should. Revision is about the expression of your ideas. Right now. after putting everything you can think of at the moment onto paper in the first draft. Mark Twin said: The time to begin writing an article is when you’ve finished it to your satisfaction. either your critiquers. ourselves – who we are. our feeling. Revision is the re-viewing of the writing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 134 LESSON 10 REVISION Revision takes much of the time needed to create something. Revision is working and reworking the manuscript until it is ready for other eyes. looking at it again. you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. or your readers. It is the process of making sure you have organized and developed your ideas in the best way possible. By that time. It is not a blank check © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com . Editing. and other issues.
The first draft is your lump of clay. Embrace this chance to do better.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 135 but stands for what we think and what we believe and what we care about and how we see the world. third. • Eliminate detours of thought. even if it doesn’t win you the day. • Stand out from the crowd by providing valuable content. better than a lot of the garbage offered today. From the movie Finding Forrester Write your first draft with your heart. Re-write with your head. with revision. revision molds that clay into a wonderful piece of writing. now that you’ve put most of your ideas into the first draft. the real you. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. changing the content to be suit their needs. to find the one that works best for the content and your readers. • Take second. • Play around with different organization and presentation strategies. BENEFITS OF REVISION Revision offers great benefits. • Get feedback from those doing the critique and work their comments into the book. that day. • Refine your ideas and discover your truth about the topic. and more chances to get your book right. Authenticity is always best. • Focus your ideas to better express them. not some artificial style or voice suggested by others. • Present your authentic writer’s voice. delete parts that are not necessary. to that of your readers. you get to: • Revisit and rework your book’s content. • Move the focus from you and your need to get the words on paper (or screen).
What purpose do you have for writing your book? You should have decided on your purpose at the beginning of the process. • Informative books include how-to books.com . • Persuasive books are written to change the minds of readers. or too much? Have you included the right information for the chapter’s and the book’s goals? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Apply them when revising both at the whole-book level and at the chapter level.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 136 THE SIX POINTS OF REVISION To revise your nonfiction book manuscript. but your views of the book might have changed up to this point. to persuade. Some books are both informative and entertaining. in most cases. to inform. and to entertain. so you can have two purposes. Reevaluate your purpose. Is it still the same? If it is now different. use these six points of revision. • Entertaining books include humor and cartoon books. does the manuscript reflect this new purpose? Your Book’s Specific Goals What do you hope the reader will gain (the benefits) from reading your book? What are your specific goals for the book? Have you met these goals with the manuscript so far? If not. or confirm their ideas if in agreement. but you will have one primary purpose. what do you need to do to accomplish those goals? For Each Chapter Each chapter has its own goal. Purpose/Goal Your overarching purpose for nonfiction writing can involve three purposes: to inform. history or travel books. Have you covered the topic with enough information. and often move them to action. analysis of research. usually to discuss the main point of the chapter reflected in the chapter title.
covering many topics broadly? Or will you dig deeply into one topic? So is the writing unified. experience level with the topic.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 137 Audience You must write for your audience. the information they know about the topic and the information they don’t know but need to know. For the Whole Book Does the book feel right for your audience. their level of experience with the topic or problem? Have you enabled your readers to solve the problem addressed in your book? For Each Chapter Have you addressed all of your audience’s needs. whether at the whole book level or the chapter level.com . have you included exercises and action steps. For the Whole Book Does the book offer information about one main topic or focus? Or does it seem to touch on a few related but not pertinent topics for this book. expectations. Consider the audience’s reading level. if appropriate)? Unity Unity refers to expressing one main idea in the writing. their reading level. Your purpose dictates the scope of the materials. Either take the detours of topic out (for another book perhaps?) or expand the purpose of your book (and then rewrite the book to encompass the new. detours of topic? You need to keep your book focused. larger purpose). and questions about the chapter’s topic? Have you provided them the information needed and desired to fully understand your point? Have you provided experiences helpful to learn and understand the material (that is. at the level of detail that coincides with your book’s purpose? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. you’ll lose them. will your book offer an overview. otherwise. that is.
com . If your new idea of a better sequence really is valid. for the service of your readers. even though you’ve done a lot of work up to this point. then you must change the book. These include chronological to A-to-Z listings and others. then change it. or even other books? Do some sections give you the uneasy feeling that they don’t belong there. (See Lesson 5 for descriptions of the organizational strategies. either. This change will necessitate rearranging sections and chapters. Organization of Ideas Organization refers to the sequence in which you present your information. cut and paste them to a “deleted” file (a separate file useful while revising). For Each Chapter Is the chapter organized in the most logical and helpful way for the reader? Does the chapter contribute to understanding of later chapters? Have any needed points been left out? Is the process complete and able to be accomplished with your instructions? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Don’t be afraid to change the sequence of chapters and information at this point.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 138 For Each Chapter Does the chapter focus on one topic.) For the Whole Book Does the overall sequence of chapters make the most sense for presenting your materials? Will the reader understand the content with this sequence? Play with different possibilities and make sure the one used really works. whether a large chunk or sliver? Or does the discussion veer off onto other topics best left for other chapters. If you realize that the sequence used is not the best. or in the book at all? If so. That way they aren’t part of the manuscript but they aren’t lost forever. and another careful reading of the entire manuscript to make sure everything works.
the technique discussed in Lesson 3. or too much. you have to put your mind into their space and know the questions they would ask in each situation. that is. according to your Chapter Plan (developed in Lesson 5) to meet the chapter’s purpose and goal? Could you do more. Use these to beef up your content if needed. if someone familiar with your writing style were to read your manuscript.com . presents all the development methods one can use in nonfiction. Revising for development asks the writer: “Have you written enough. as reflected in your writing style. to fulfill your book’s purpose? Have you included a variety of methods of presenting the information. enjoyable to read. For the Whole Book and Each Chapter Is your voice and style consistent? Does the writing sound like it came from the same writer. to enhance the content and avoid boredom for the readers? For Each Chapter Have you fully used all the chapter structure aspects and chapter elements. For the Whole Book Have you included enough information. Lack of development is a frequent problem for beginning writers – they leave out much needed information. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. your writer’s voice will emerge. Does the reader feel you are relating your truths? Is the writing entertaining. or too “preachy” or dense to be of much help? With practice and lots of writing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 139 Development of Ideas Development refers to creating the actual content of your book. or too much?” Or you may have left information out because you haven’t thought about the topic at that level of detail in years because you’re so familiar with the topic now. or different writers? What makes your writing yours. or less? Voice and Style Voice refers to the authenticity of your writing. But if you are writing for beginners. Development Methods as Idea Triggers.
in brief. and say it as clearly as you can. Then send it out into the world to fulfill its purpose of helping your readers. This reading will not only bring the manuscript to the forefront of your mind. and work your way down to the individual paragraphs. THE PROCESS OF REVISION Revision has an overall sequence of steps: start by viewing the manuscript as a whole book. Matthew Arnold said: Have something to say. Read without a pen in hand (so you can’t do any editing). refresh your memory of the book by reading through the manuscript. This method of reading may be frustrating at first. one single unit. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. That is the only secret to style. Try to do this in one sitting.com . Step 3: Read each chapter and revise. analyze and revise. Step 5: Repeat Steps 2 and 4 until everyone agrees the manuscript is done. Step 2: Read through the whole book and revise. you’re just reading. revise to comments. you will see problems that were invisible while drafting because you were too close to the work. of the revision process: Step 1: Read the First Draft.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 140 would they recognize it as yours? That’s showing a consistent writing voice and style. For now. if needed. Step 4: Have your chosen readers critique the manuscript. Step 1: Evaluate the First Draft Read Through the First Draft After simmering your first draft. but you’ll get used to it. especially if you’ve never done it this way before. Here is the sequence. but as you are reading.
the leaping simile. Your ear will hear problems that your writer’s eye may skip. On another piece of paper (not the manuscript. Earnest Hemingway said: The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in. brain surgery. Just read. Robert Cormier said: The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time. no matter how badly worded or organized. then put the pen down and continue to read. hopefully. find the exact word. Note any problems you see now but don’t revise or edit. after years and years of writing books. BookNote #50 READ THROUGH THE FIRST DRAFT Read your first draft to refresh your memory about the entire manuscript. shockproof shit detector. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. the problem or error detected. Create and Analyze a Draft Header Outline The Draft Header Outline is a technique developed with this book.com . Revision allows you to make it better and. Don’t agonize at how awful the draft is. You might want to read the manuscript aloud. That’s what drafts are for: to get all those ideas down on paper. unlike. which is a common problem. not yet).WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 141 Make notes when you have a question or detect a problem. This reading will take longer but may prove more productive than simply reading it to yourself. You can always do it better. not the words you think should be there. say. Remember to read EXACTLY the words on the page. the apt phrase. This is the writer’s radar and all good writers have it. note the page number. publishable.
higher levels discussing the topic in more general terms. logically? Or should you add to the chapter more? 6. You’ll probably have three or four levels of headers. record all your headers used in your text. Just go through the text and retype the headers (or you can copy and paste. To analyze the Draft Header Outline. Then revise the Outline online. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Is the content of the whole book logically organized? What chunks of text need to move elsewhere? 2. keeping your old outline to show you where chunks that need to be moved are located in the old manuscript. decide their level now and make a note on your manuscript as to each heading’s level. if that is easier). If not.com . if everything feels as if it is in the perfect place. then you need to do this outline. answer these questions: 1. Have some chapters become too big? Can one section become its own chapter? 5. In outline form (with indentation). to join all information on the same topic? 3. then you can skip this step. If you simply typed them all at the same level in the first draft (caps against the left margin). Are any chapters too small to be a chapter? Where can you join them with another chapter. Remember that each level of header indicates the scope (breadth) of the topic. start a new computer file. Does some content need to be removed from the book altogether? Change the Draft Header Outline with notes and arrows to put everything in proper order.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 142 If you finish reading the draft feeling that you have information duplicated or in the wrong place. Do some sections or chapters need more development? 4. Are there duplications? Where should they be moved to. To do the Draft Header Outline.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. revise the moved text to eliminate duplication. to make comparisons easier. Print out the new Extended Outline as a reference and reminder while you’re revising. tossing the rest. work on this new one. so that when you start revision. Label this printout with your new file name and the date of printing. with the changes from the revised Draft Header Outline. Rev1 (Revision 1). Or use the Draft Header Outline as your guide. you’re simply moving text around the computer file. At this point. Create a new computer file of your first draft (using the Save As function). The point is to keep your first draft file intact and unchanged. at this point. but don’t touch the manuscript yet. with an end point of the moved text noted. This is your new manuscript to work with. Move content around on the computer files of the manuscript (don’t bother with the printed manuscript) as indicated on the revised Extended Outline. Don’t worry about the chapter computer files for now. Implement Changes to the Manuscript Change your online version of the Extended Outline to the new sequence shown on the Draft Header Outline. nothing more. into the same chapter and section.com . Just move all the similar bits together. You might want to label the moved chunks as to the original placement. you can read all the sections you wrote on that topic and pick the sentences and words you want to use.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 143 BookNote #51 CREATE AND ANALYZE THE DRAFT HEADER OUTLINE Create the Draft Header Outline. Do NOT. Analyze it with the questions listed. Make note on the Draft Header Outline of any changes needed in book’s content. naming this new file “Title-Rev1” or whatever you decide. Change the online manuscript. Print out a copy of the Rev1 file.
working copy. in its entirety. For some reason. focus on one topic to the depth specified in your purpose? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. as one complete book.com . Record any of the following issues that occur to you as you read: • Does the book satisfy your purpose in writing it? Will it give the readers the benefits you envisioned? • Does the book meet the needs of your audience? Does it answer all of their questions and give them information they need to solve their problem or use your book properly? • Is the book unified. BookNote #52 CHANGE THE ONLINE MANUSCRIPT. You won’t be working with it anymore. Step 2: Revise the Manuscript with a Whole Book Viewpoint Read through the Manuscript with a Whole Book View With your newly revised manuscript (a hard copy. That’s your record of your first draft. SAVE. You need this reading to get the new arrangement of text into your mind after the changes. please).WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 144 Put the first draft printout into an envelope or folder and file it away in your archive box. Put this manuscript in your project binder as your current. start revising by reading the entire project all at once. revising from the screen doesn’t work as well as working off a printed copy. Do not attempt to read or revise on the screen. Save and print your manuscript from the Rev1 file. PRINT A FRESH COPY Create a new file (Revision 1) and change the online manuscript to the revisions dictated by the Draft Header Outline.
put your revision notes behind the Table of Content page.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 145 • Is the book organized properly. • For any ideas that refer to an entire chapter. Put notes on the manuscript. or omitted important definitions or explanations? • Where could a visual add to the experience or usefulness of the information? • Are the visuals you have included helpful to the reader? Are they accurate? Are they labeled properly: title at the top. Take a break. as follows: • For ideas related to the overall organization of the manuscript. BookNote #53 READ FOR A WHOLE BOOK VIEW © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. William Blake You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough. put your revision note behind that page in the binder and note the change on the manuscript page. After your time away. put the revision note at the beginning of the chapter. note each change on a sticky note or another piece of paper for the longer notes and changes (yellow paper is nice because it stands out from your white printed pages). • For any idea that refers to a specific paragraph or section. source information at the bottom? Is your key easy to understand? • Where did you have more questions (or realize the readers would have more questions)? Do these questions require more research? If so.com . add the question to your Research Questions List. for the best use of the reader? • Is the book developed well enough? Where do you need to add content to make it better for the reader? • Does the manuscript have a consistent voice and style? • Where have you overwritten and need to delete? • Where have you underwritten and need to add content? Where have you been vague.
Three Ways to Change Your Chapters You can change your manuscript in three ways. explanations. or that duplicate other material. Delete content. then read to delete.com . definitions. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. 2. Add content. So you’ll read to add. wording. 3. then read to change how the ideas are presented. or whatever needs changing. and any of the other types of text mentioned throughout this course. so move it to the other location with arrows or notes (“move to page 79”) and mark the new location with the information coming.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 146 Read your manuscript with the whole book view in mind. Change development methods. Step 3: Revise Each Chapter Evaluate Each Chapter for the Six Points of Revision Evaluate each chapter for the six points of revision (as discussed earlier). Take out all those bits that are not necessary. To avoid becoming overwhelmed. Change the chapter by revising the all the chapter structure and chapter elements. Hans Hoffman said: The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak. as discussed in Lesson 5 and stated on your Chapter Plan. 1. Add examples. you might consider using one change method at a time with the chapter. organization. Add notes from your Whole book reading done earlier as well as any ideas that strike you while reading this time. You might find that a deleted piece really belongs elsewhere.
Make sure the chapter follows your Chapter Plan for chapter structure and chapter elements.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 147 Revise Your Manuscript’s Content Start with Chapter 1 and revise in sequence.com . in your first draft. Check your Visuals for Each Chapter Visuals are called either tables or figures. organizational charts. If needed. Tables have rows and columns of data. line drawings. BookNote #54 EVALUATE AND REWRITE EACH CHAPTER Evaluate and rewrite each chapter. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. one at a time. photographs. As you realize you need to do something in another chapter. bar charts. That way. Check Your Chapter Plan For Each Chapter Go through each chapter and make sure it matches your Chapter Plan. add the change to a Revision To Do list. then tackle each section at a time. add it to your Chapter Plan. you read the information in the same sequence as the reader will. Check that the chapter structure aspects are there and that the chapter elements are there in the right place. and so on. or even each paragraph. maps. If you added something. on a whim. where appropriate. Go back to the chapters already rewritten and add it to each chapter. which you’ll keep in your project binder. Figures are everything else: graphs. Revise Each Section within Each Chapter If tackling each chapter as a whole appears to be overwhelming. and would like to continue with it.
whereas in academic writing. If you have the source information handy. Remember that the title goes at the top of the visual and the source information. Make sure your visuals are labeled properly. paragraphs are often one to two sentences long in newspaper writing. But in the real world. For example. goes at the bottom.com . Align them to the left margin of the visual. paragraphs can be a page or page and a half long because they are © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. if any. paragraph length depends on the rules of the genre (type of text) you are writing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 148 First. make sure that the visuals you have in the manuscript are necessary and fulfill their purpose of enhancing the text. BookNote #55 CHECK AND ADD VISUALS TO EACH CHAPTER Check and add visuals to the chapter. Add where they seem appropriate. go through the manuscript and add visuals as requested in your notes in brackets (added during the first draft or during revisions so far). as well as in business writing. The paragraph’s idea is stated in the topic sentence (more on that below). A paragraph is one idea + details to support or prove that idea. with the rest of the paragraph revealing details about that idea in the form on generalizations and details. add it now to save you from going to back to find the source later. Paragraph Length Were you told in school that a paragraph must have five or eight sentences? As you read different genres – from books to newspaper articles – did you discover that this rule didn’t apply? Your teacher was trying to force you into developing your idea more fully. Second. Check your Paragraphing for Each Chapter Each paragraph serves as a single unit of information with one clear idea.
at least ten or more? • Indicating a new paragraph – is a new paragraph indented ½ inch. topic sentences are still valid with longer paragraphs. Short paragraphs are used for emphasis of one idea with no details needed. Then come one or more generalizations. supported by details. However. Topic Sentences Yes. noting the aspects of paragraphs listed below. so the reader can be prepared for © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. as used in this course? • Development of the paragraph – how much detail is placed in each paragraph? Is the idea complex and contained within a long paragraph? Or is the complex idea broken into smaller. Often the paragraph ends with some kind of conclusion. skim through your manuscript and adjust as needed. making it harder to use? Then address your own writing for paragraphs.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 149 supporting a rather broad point. Paragraph Structure Paragraphs have a structure. If you are unsure about paragraphing for this book. A topic sentence summarizes the main idea of the paragraph. • Length of the paragraphs – how many sentences does the typical paragraph contain? How many lines are most paragraphs? Is the length consistent or does it vary. the effect of that style is lost since the one-liner doesn’t stand out from the others. if you have too many one-line paragraphs. or do they leave a blank line between paragraphs.com . more manageable paragraphs? • Are the sections or paragraphs numbered or are they labeled with a header? Or does the book lack any kind of section labeling. they start with a topic sentence. regarding paragraphs. skim through your competitors’ books. which is a summary of the paragraph’s main idea. Generally. with some paragraphs being one to a few lines while others have many lines. You must discover and apply the rules. as in block style. as appropriate to your genre.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
the details that follow. Transitions are used to connect paragraphs that relate to the same idea. In one reading, read the first sentence of each paragraph. Do the topic sentences provide the reader with a good summary of that section or chapter? Or does the reading feel scattered. Adjust your manuscript as needed. Create topic sentences or add transitions when needed. Enter Changes Online As Needed and Print a Fresh Copy When the pages are so messy you have a hard time figuring out the changes, enter the changes onto the computer file. Keep your old, revised pages until the project is done. You might need to go back to find something you deleted and want to add back later. Keep these in your archive box. Do NOT revise the computer file every time you make a change. You’ll waste far too much time doing that and not do the real work needed.
BookNote #56 ENTER CHANGES TO THE COMPUTER FILE WHEN NEEDED Enter changes online as the pages become too messy. Print a fresh copy to work with.
Revise the Table of Contents as Needed As the Table of Contents becomes too messy with revisions and arrows, revise the online version and print a new copy. Keep all the old Tables of Content in your archive box, in case you need it for reference or to figure out your previous changes. It’s also fun to go back and look at those first ideas to see how much your book changed.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
Simmer Time Every once in a while – at a natural break in the process, while waiting for something or someone, or when you get too tired of the project to continue – take some simmer time. Do something else for a while. Try not to think about the manuscript. Do a nonverbal activity and let your mind do its job. During this simmer time, have a pad of paper and pen within reach. Note any stray ideas that occur to you. Write them all down, even if you think they are irrelevant. It’s a form of brainstorming, with all the rules of that activity. You can evaluate the ideas, fears, and so on later. Just write them down. Then go back to your activity.
Step 4: Send the Manuscript to your Readers for Critique
Contact those friends or fellow writers who have agreed to critique your book. They may have already been involved with your book project from the beginning. Or not. W. Somerset Maugham said: People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise. Send them the manuscript along with a list of questions or concerns you have about the manuscript. Include any niggling doubts you have, points you’re not sure are right or wrong, (you have your suspicions they need fixing but you don’t want to tackle them right now). Remind them (and yourself) that they are to be revising only, not editing. How are the ideas presented? Organized? Developed? What are you doing while they’re reading? Do all those chores you put off while writing? Talk to your family and friends. Go to the movies (don’t be surprised if a totally unrelated idea in the movie or during a conversation sparks an idea about your book. Your subconscious is still working on it, even if you aren’t.)
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
Clean your office and organized your notes and drafts, deciding which ones to keep and which ones to toss (toss as little as possible at this stage). Try not to think about the manuscript. This time is for simmering, so let your mind and your readers work unimpeded. Gertrude Stein said: Every genius needs praise.
BookNote #57 SEND THE MANUSCRIPT OFF FOR CRITIQUE Send the manuscript off for critique, with a list of questions and concerns for the readers to address. Then do something else while you’re waiting.
Revise from Comments When you get the comments back, take a breath, and read them as if they’re about someone else’s writing. Do NOT take the comments personally. You are not your book. It is simply a product of your mind and experience. Do another read-through of the entire manuscript with these comments in mind. You will have been simmering it (not thinking about it) while the readers had the manuscript, so you’ll return with fresh eyes. Pay attention to the comments if everyone agrees. Sometimes all of your reviewers will say the same thing about the same sections or issues. Consensus generally means the manuscript has a problem. If only one of the four or five reviewers notes a problem, then see if you agree, objectively. If you have doubts, then the reader might be right. If you know in your gut that they’re wrong (maybe that is a hot topic for them), then you can ignore the comment.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
sending to your readers. even if they mean more work. What about getting close friends or your mother to read the manuscript? Use friends and relatives ONLY if you know they’ll be honest and the experience won’t ruin your relationship with them. Keep revising. take those that make sense or confirm your own doubts. to © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. I usually abide by her comments because I know they are informed and valid. change) the Front and Back matter as needed. ignore any or all comments made about your manuscript. Revise (add.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 153 You can. BookNote #58 REVISE FROM THE COMMENTS Revise the manuscript from the comments received. They will probably make the manuscript better. she tells me when something doesn’t make sense or is badly written. and revising again until you feel you have the best possible manuscript. Make sure the Table of Contents is accurate to your headings and subheadings. Mark up your manuscript with those comments that feel right.com . rinse. to make the book better. Step 5: Repeat Steps 2 through 4 Until the Manuscript is Done As it says on the shampoo bottle: soap. of course. once again) to see how the revisions sound. Read the manuscript again (yes. and repeat. so put in the time. Accept their comments. so pay attention. and ignore the rest. verify. Remember to leave the editing until later. I am fortunate to have a sister who is a great reader. But realize that they are only trying to be helpful. Incorporate your readers’ comments into the revision when they are right and appropriate.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
as many levels as you want to show on those pages. Don’t worry too much about the Table of Contents right now, as you’ll finalize that page in the final steps of the process.
BookNote #59 READ, REVISE, REPEAT Keep revising until the manuscript is ready for the world.
Here are some revision tips to help you with your process: • Focus on one issue or problem at a time. If you try to read the entire manuscript for all possible errors (both revision and editing), you’ll miss many of the obvious errors or problems and all of the subtle ones. • Accept the fact that, to do revision right, you must read the manuscript many times. By the end of the process, you will feel like you’ve memorized the whole thing. That’s why you need other sets of eyes to read your manuscript. They’ll see the problems that you simply can’t see. • As you revise, make sure you don’t get caught up in the flow of your ideas and forget the activity’s purpose, which is easy to do. That’s why you want to do one task at a time. It’s easier to focus and get the job done. Too many purposes will distract you from any useful work. • Avoid editing for now. Throughout this revision process, don’t rewrite sentences unless the information is wrong or needs developing. Tinkering with the sentences is done while editing. Think about it: There’s no point editing a paragraph that you’re going to delete because it’s redundant. So refrain from editing at this point. Focus on the ideas and making the material as clear and focused for the reader as possible.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
Peter Murphy Rewriting is like scrubbing the basement floor with a toothbrush. Isaac Singer The wastebasket is the writer’s best friend.
Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #10
1. Create a Revision Checklist for your own process. As you are working through revision of any manuscript or document, note any additional tasks or activities (other than those discussed in this courses) you discover that you need to perform in order to revise properly. You might also note scheduling guidelines, so you can have time to focus on the tasks needed. 2. Talk to your writer friends and ask for tips about revision, tips they have discovered on their own and that work well for them. Evaluate the tip and use it if it sounds reasonable.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
LESSON 11 EDIT THE MANUSCRIPT
This lesson points out the common errors made by many writers. A brief explanation of each is included here, due to space considerations. You can find fuller explanations, examples, and exercises (with an answer key) in another publication Common Writing Errors Workbook, also available from Quilliful Publications. This lesson is not meant to replace a good grammar handbook. You’ll find hundreds of these handbooks on the market. Find one whose writing style and presentation you like, read it, and use it. Keep it next to your dictionary on your desk. It also doesn’t eliminate the use of a professional editor as a final check on the manuscript, either. Note: When I refer to subject, I am referring to the subject of the sentence, not the topic of your book. The subject refers to who or what is doing the action in the sentence.
BASIC EDITING TIPS
• Read your writing as it were produced by your worst enemy. Actually look for mistakes. In the right mindset, you’ll find them. If you read your writing as if produced by yourself, or your best friend, those errors will slip by unseen. • Know your writing problems, the errors you constantly have to correct. Make a list of them, call it your “Favorite Errors List” and use the list as a guide in your editing process.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
com . That’s the only way to learn to be a better writer. YOUR WRITING SHOULD BE… Your goal should be to create the best piece of writing possible. but make sure you know the differences between your chosen words. They can count and compare. use printed pages. The writing should be: • Concise – Make your writing as short as possible while still maintaining quality and communicating the ideas desired. Don’t take its word for anything.” for effect. but since they can’t actually think. • Do not try to do any serious editing (or revision. Seeking help too soon truncates the learning process. So if you insist on using the online grammar checker. • Use a thesaurus when you are stumped for the right word. but they can’t advise well. And use it. for that matter) directly off the computer screen. you will misuse a word and change the meaning of your writing without intending to. which will earn a green squiggly line under it. Use short paragraphs. Grammar checkers are pretty good with punctuation and spelling. and short words unless dictated by the © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Otherwise. always have your dictionary handy. • Find someone proficient with language to edit your manuscript. depending on the issue observed. You shouldn’t try to read the manuscript for every issue because you’ll miss the more subtle mistakes. And sometimes you’ll make an intentional “error. to your loss. they don’t know the meaning of your writing. but for deep editing. only when you know enough grammar to know if the advice is wrong. But ask for this help only after you’ve done the best you can on your own. have a handbook nearby to check the grammar checker. short sentences. When using a thesaurus. You can catch the obvious errors while at your computer. research by composition professionals have found that computer grammar checkers are wrong some to most of the time. which happens frequently.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 157 • Read the manuscript for one editing issue at a time. Over the years. • Use an online grammar checker with caution.
and rules are becoming guidelines or stylistic choices (note the comma now often seen before because in the middle of a sentence). In this day and age of computers. logical manner. show your humanity. Correct all misspelled words. if your word processor adds them. Remember that. relay your opinion in your writing. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Then immediately move back to concrete writing. with the green squiggly lines. Philip Cosby said: When in doubt. according to your audience – Use simple words rather than complicated ones. if you correct the error.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 158 rules of the genre or audience. Check for those red and green squiggly lines.com . Since language is always changing. 1. using specific details and examples. and the green line is not always under the problem word. Thus you need to understand grammar or have a grammar handbook handy to make sure the grammar checker is right. • Simple. • Concrete – Write of people taking actions. your use of “the rules” will have to change as well. so do it in the way expected. • Subjective –If appropriate to your field and genre. Remember that your goal is to communicate with your reader. in a friendly tone. the green line goes away. Keep up with the language by reading. reveal yourself in your writing. tell personal stories. as if writing to an equal. delete it. The red lines are for spelling errors and the green form grammatical errors. Use abstract terms only when they are the only ones possible to communicate your idea. • Conversational – Write as if talking to a friend across the table. express your ideas in a simple. real people taking real actions. THE EDITING PROCESS Here are my steps for the editing process. spelling errors (words actually spelled wrong) should never appear in print or online. written at your audience’s level of understanding.
for example). so change only those places that need changing. passive voice. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com . • Obvious grammatical errors • Jargon use depends on your audience. and so on. include an explanation and example. Read the printed copy of the manuscript once for obvious errors. such as a closed series (a series without and before the last item). ignore the computer’s advice. BookNote #60 CHECK AND CORRECT FOR THE SQUIGGLY LINES Check and correct for red (spelling) and green (grammar) squiggly lines that your word processor has added. Simplify the writing. BookNote #61 EDIT FOR OBVIOUS ERRORS Correct the printed manuscript for obvious errors. But it also doesn’t like some perfectly good constructions. Know the typing errors you make and go a global search for each variation and correct the mistakes. or whatever is needed to make it clear for your readers. as follows: • Using the wrong word spelled correctly (form for from. define the term. or the for they. 2.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 159 It’s great for detecting extra spaces. If the “error” is not an error.
BookNote #63 EDIT FOR OTHER ERRORS Read the manuscript for other errors described in this lesson. enter your changes online and print a fresh copy. for each error not on your Favorite Errors list. add it to your Favorites list and learn not to make it. Print a fresh manuscript and continue editing until done. 4.com . BookNote #62 READ FOR EACH ERROR ON YOUR FAVORITE ERRORS LIST Read the manuscript for each error on your Favorite Errors list. 5. or when the pages become so messy that you have a hard time figuring out the notes. Add to your Favorite Errors list as needed. Read the printed copy for each editing error on your Favorite Errors list. BookNote #64 ENTER CHANGES AND PRINT Enter corrections when the pages get too messy. If you find the error occurs more than a few times. read the printed manuscript again. Continue editing until the manuscript is as good as you can make it. Using this lesson as your guide.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 160 3. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. one error at a time. When you are done with all the editing.
a linking verb is. Several variations are possible: Wrong Number of Verb Use the wrong verb form according to number. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence. To solve this problem. Subject Verb Agreement This error occurs when the sentence’s subject is singular and the verb is plural. Multiple Subjects If two subjects are joined with and.com . Last. If two subjects are joined by nor or or. avoid clichés like the plague. change the verb form so that it agrees with the subject. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all. If you reread your work. they are considered singular. they are considered plural. use a singular form of the verb. you will find on rereading that a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing. or vice versa. Several common errors are addressed here. Here’s a good summary for editing (enjoy!): William Safire wrote in Great Rules of Writing: Do not put statements in the negative form. use a plural verb form. And don’t start sentences with a conjunction. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do. but not least.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 161 CONSISTENCY ERRORS Consistency within a sentence is crucial for good writing.
revealing nothing about who or what is actually doing the action. you must refer to the individual units or people of the noun. jury. or uses an abstract term for the subject. youth To use the singular collective noun as a plural. If no other action takes place in the sentence. crowd. criteria. Use there only to indicate existence. Subject Focus Subject focus errors occur when the writer chooses an empty subject. rather than the actual subject of the sentence. class. people. flock. With these examples. team Plural Collective Nouns (but sound singular) Children. college. group. though boring. writers can read the last noun and use that to form the verb.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 162 Collective Nouns A collective noun refers to a group of objects or people but considered to be a single unit. faculty. majority. For example. members of the team. It is often followed by an empty verb. There is a sunset is fine. company. Separation of Subject and Verb When the subject is separated from the verb by several words. family. audience. COLLECTIVE NOUNS Singular Collective Nouns (name one unit) Army. Using There as an Empty Subject There is considered an empty subject. gang. then you can use this construction. society. list. data. bystanders in the crowd. To verify your correction. media. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. committee. read the subject and verb only). read the sentence without the words between the subject and verb (that is. soldiers in the army. band. are. you would use the plural form of the verb.com . public. showing no real action. such as is. government. and was.
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
To correct this error, identify the true subject and true verb and revise the sentence. Using It as an Empty Subject Using It as the subject doesn’t work if It hasn’t been previously identified. Replace It with the true subject, who or what you’re talking about. Subject using an Abstract term Abstract terms have no physical reality, no presence. They are not tangible, sensed with any of the five senses. However, they are often given significance in the sentence by occupying the subject position, creating elusive and unclear writing. The reason to start a sentence with an abstract term, as this one does, is often the writing of a lazy writer. To correct the error, put the true subject of the sentence in the subject position, the one actually doing the action. SOME COMMON ABSTRACT TERMS USED TO START SENTENCES agreement, ambition, argument, beauty, family values, freedom, idea, justice, liberty, logic, love, philosophy, process, reason, research, sadness, theory, time, truth
Pronouns offer a minefield of errors for writers. Pronouns stand in the place of a previously mentioned noun. Without that first reference to the noun (called the antecedent), the reader has no idea what noun the pronoun is referring to. Again, pronouns offer a variety of problems. Pronoun Number When a plural pronoun refers to a singular noun, or vice versa, change the pronoun to match the true antecedent.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
Indefinite Pronouns When the subject of the sentence is an indefinite pronouns, use singular pronouns with singular indefinite pronouns, and plurals with plurals. INDEFINITE PRONOUNS Singular Anybody, Anyone, Anything, Each, either, Everybody, everyone, everything, Neither, much, one, Somebody, someone, something, Plural All, any, both, few, many, most, several, some, such
Possessive Pronouns Be careful to pick the right word (and spell it correctly) when using possessive pronouns. Note that possessive pronouns do not use any punctuation. So its is the possessive, while it’s is the contraction for it is. POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS Pronoun Number Subject Pronoun Singular I, he, she, it Plural we, they Both singular and plural you, who Possessive Pronoun my, mine, his, hers, its our, ours, their, theirs your, yours, whose
Using they or it when that pronoun could refer to any noun creates a vague pronoun. Properly identify the pronoun with the noun’s name.
When one pronoun could possibly refer to two or more previously mentioned nouns, replace the ambiguous pronoun with the noun involved.
Relative pronouns introduce adjective (dependent) clauses starting with who, whom, that, which, whose. Please, don’t start a sentence with Which. It just shows your ignorance.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS
Another problem is with the use of that when referring to people. That is used for objects; who and whose are used for people. The misuse of who and whom is another problem discussed later with Adjective Clauses.
Parallelism refers to the requirement that two or more elements used together must have the same grammatical structure. You may have to rearrange the words or find another way to express your idea to make it parallel. Elements in a Pair or Series Each element of the pair or the series should use the same grammatical structure. Sentences Comparing Ideas With sentences comparing ideas using than or as, each element of the comparison must be the same grammatical structure, using the same words as much as possible. Listed Items When you use a list of items, all items should be the same grammatical structure. Lists are most commonly used: • in bulleted lists • with headers and subheaders • in the Table of Contents • with numbered steps in a sequence or process.
Correlative conjunctions are standard pairs of words that compare or contrast two ideas. The words and phrases following each conjunction should be parallel.
© 2010 Katherine Ploeger
All rights reserved
... either. This error happens most often when one is used in the first part of the sentence. whether.. not only. It should feel incomplete when read. POINTS OF VIEW PERSON 1st 2nd 3rd SINGULAR I you he. Fragment A fragment is an incomplete sentence punctuated as a complete one.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 166 CORRELATIVE CONJUNCTIONS both. she.or. A fragment makes you feel like your “waiting for the other shoe to drop” (to use a cliché). and you is used later. when. neither.and. where. thereby creating either a fragment or a run on sentence.. Avoid using Questioning Words in Regular Sentences Forcing yourself to remove the questions words – who.. SENTENCE BOUNDARY ERRORS Sentence boundary errors relate to the proper construction of the sentence.nor.but (also). what.com .. or third person... You must remain consistent. second. The most common error results from improper punctuation. chronological sequence.. why. put the actions in their logical. how – used in non-question sentences will force you to express your ideas more clearly. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. it. The practice will make your writing clearer and cleaner. one PLURAL we you they Actions in Chronological Sequence When you present a series of actions.or Point of View Point of view refers to the first.
Fix a run on by placing something at the end of the first sentence: • insert a period. to express your full thought Run On Sentences These errors are also called run together sentences (RTS). If the fragment is alone. joining the fragment to the sentence it is logically linked to. clunk. clunk. you need to add words to create a full sentence. They also allow you to avoid choppiness in your writing. creating a dependent clause with one of the sentences. when reading these sentences reminds you of a train going over the tracks: clunk. • insert a transitional element. • insert a coordinating conjunction (pick the right one). • insert a subordinating conjunction. such as however. then simply change the period to a comma. The problem is usually the punctuation. • cut one of the sentences into a phrase and join it to the sentence. Though technically correct. fused sentences. and comma splices. Using modifiers to insert detail into your writing makes your sentences more complex and interesting. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. these choppy sentences show a lack of sophistication in the writing.com . • insert a semi colon. Using modifiers is a way to tighten your writing. MODIFIERS Modifiers are those extra clauses and phrases that add information to the sentence without creating a new sentence. They are all written with the same grammatical construction.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 167 If the fragment logically leads to or follows a sentence.
condition. or condition related to the main clause. You have to read it a few times to figure out a comma needs to go after Thanksgiving.com . Sometimes the introductory elements simply add detail to the idea. not necessary for the construction of the sentence. which can confuse the reader. but I have found that even five words before the main clause can confuse the reader. Some grammarians suggest that if the phrase is five or fewer words. This phrase always starts with a noun and is followed by details about that noun. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. making one into an introductory expression. means of travel. The error comes in choosing the right preposition for the right meaning. the words flow together. Prepositional Phrases Prepositional phrases are phrases starting with a preposition. For example. Prepositional phrases often act as Introductory Elements. and so on. otherwise.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 168 Introductory Elements Introductory elements are phrases or single words that begin a sentence. and sometimes they combine two sentences. Noun Phrase Appositives A noun phrase appositive is a noun phrase placed next the noun it is describing (before or after the noun). Commas are placed before and after the noun phrase appositive since this is extra information. no comma is necessary. On Thanksgiving dinner was a feast. Even with single word expressions. location. Prepositions indicate location. time. I recommend a comma to separate it from the main clause because the comma’s placement can change the meaning of the sentence. often stating a time or condition related to the main clause that follows. A comma always separates the introductory expression from the main clause. usually with time.
in addition to. no commas used Whose (object) NONRESTRICTIVE CLAUSE Who (subject) extra information for the clause. within. up RESULT. since. out of. from. down. because of.com . that. during. ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put. beneath. outside. by. so they should never be considered a complete sentence. against. as. They start with who. despite. besides. beyond. CONCLUSION through. past. down. below. inside. around. instead of. under. Adjective Clauses Adjective clauses are dependent clauses. besides. which. less than CONDITION About. onto. among. They introduce information into the sentence either in the form of a restrictive or nonrestrictive clause. through. up. like. throughout Winston Churchill said: From now on. as well as. Whom (object) commas used around the clause Whose (object) OBJECTS That Which Your choice depends on whether the main clause needs more explanation to make sense: © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. past. until DIRECTION Around. since. until QUANTITY In addition to. over. with. upon. whom. near. throughout. Because of. without TIME At. more than. before.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 169 PREPOSITIONS BY MEANING LOCATION Above. except. off. underneath. to. in front of. at. besides. out. between. behind. by. toward. next to. before. until. whose. instead of. RESTRICTIVE AND NONRESTRICTIVE CLAUSES PEOPLE RESTRICTIVE CLAUSE Who (subject) essential information for the Whom (object) clause. beside.
only. If the main clause’s verb is in © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Otherwise. Misplaced Limiting Words Limiting words need to be placed as close to the word they are modifying as possible. see how the meaning of the sentence changes with each example: • Only Tracy wanted to view the current exhibit. whom is followed by a noun or pronoun. Another issue concerns the use of who and whom. most often used (storming the bank). • past participial phrase (stormed the bank). • Tracy only wanted to view the current exhibit. so the writer uses that for extra information and which for essential information. Generally.com . • A nonrestrictive clause provides extra information. • Tracy wanted only to view the current exhibit • Tracy wanted to view only the current exhibit. just. Use who when referring to the subject of the clause and whom when referring to the object. which can be taken out of the clause.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 170 • A restrictive clause provides essential information for the main clause to make sense. it tells of an action that can take place at any time. For example. LIMITING WORDS almost. hardly. when whom refers to the object of the sentence. One common error is mixing up that and which. scarcely. and the clause still makes sense. the meaning of the whole sentence can change. Verbal phrases come in three varieties: • infinitive (to storm). Be cautious when using the past participial phrase (the past tense verb form as a verbal) because you can create problems. so be careful. and • gerund. which also creates a passive voice sentence. simply Verbal Phrases A verbal phrase is a phrase starting with a verbal (a verb without a tense).
it must be attached to an independent clause. It is not a complete sentence and cannot stand alone. OTHER ISSUES AT THE SENTENCE LEVEL Clauses to Phrases. making it into a dependent clause (for example. creating a pair of verbs. Phrases to Words First. A change in tense creates the verbal phrase. so that the sentence feels awkward or humorous (unintended). Verbal Phrases that are Dangling Modifiers A dangling modifier occurs when the subject of the verbal phrase is different from the independent (main) clause it is attached to. Remember to put the actions in logical sequence.com . Misplaced Modifiers Misplaced modifiers are modifiers put in the wrong place.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 171 past tense. It can stand alone. • Dependent Clause: A partial thought is begun with a subordinating conjunction and contains a subject and verb. or you create a fragment. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Verbal phrases can cause problems. Any of the modifiers discussed in this section can be misplaced. a few definitions: • Independent Clause: A complete thought expressed with at least a noun and verb. you can do one of two things: • change the verbal phrase to use a subordinating conjunction. To fix this problem. As he was driving down the street…) or • change the subject of the independent clause to match that of the verbal phrase. Creating verbal phrases is a great way to join sentences related in action because you are showing the relationship of the actions. then the verb simply becomes a second verb in the sentence. as described below with Dangling Modifiers.
positive ideas Nor Equality between two negative ideas But Opposition or contrast between ideas Or Alternatives. Each has a different meaning. nor. In other words. It is not a complete sentence. Coordinating Conjunctions Use coordinating conjunctions to join two independent clauses of equal value. Don’t use and for every instance. MEANINGS OF COORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS Coordinating Meaning. You can take a series of independent clauses and create a series of verbal phrases in one complete sentence. Tighten your writing by shortening clauses to phrases. and. A more formal word for because. relationships shown Conjunction For Cause – effect/result. And Equality between two independent. you create a fragment. still attached to the main clause. English uses seven coordinating conjunctions. The words form the acronym of FANBOYS: for. or emphasis (a stronger but) So Cause – effect/result © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com . boy. yet. All sorts of sentence constructions can benefit from this practice. two negatives Yet Opposition. so. joining them to make one complete sentence. Or you can reduce a sentence with a dependent clause into a phrase. Punctuation with a coordinating conjunction involves a comma after the first clause and before the coordinating conjunction (not after). Thomas Jefferson said: The most valuable of talents is never using two words when one will do. and if you punctuate it as such. or.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 172 • Phrase: A partial thought expressed with a noun or verb but not both. both ideas are equal. so be sure to use the right one.
or than. whence. provided. as though. In passive voice. even if. in order that. if. that Comparison As. whereas. as soon as. Active and Passive Voice Active voice. rather than. the subject of the sentence is actually the object of the sentence. The dependent clause might be placed in the middle of the sentence if that makes more sense (as in this sentence). as if. unless Place Wherever. so make sure you use the right one. whenever. if only. usually the preferred voice. focused verb placed next to the subject who is actually doing the action. while Concession. If the dependent clause starts the sentence.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 173 Subordinating Conjunctions Subordinating conjunctions are used to combine two sentences of unequal value. MEANINGS OF SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTIONS Meaning Subordinating Conjunction Addition In addition to Cause and effect as. as long as. once. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. while Choice Condition As if. wherever (location): Punctuation with subordinating conjunctions can be confusing to some writers. a comma separates it from the main clause (as happened with this sentence). That is. so. though. where Result In order that. as.com . that. as long as. before. provided that. uses a strong. so that. since. even if. whether. even though. if only. whereas. Each subordinating conjunction has a different meaning. Sequence or after. because. so that. than. the idea in the main clause is more important that the idea in the dependent clause. don’t use because all the time. while Space where. as though. since. Clauses that begin with a subordinating conjunction are dependent clauses. Contrast. Time when. until. they can’t stand alone. Although. even if.
If so. Or ask yourself. Your word choices make you the writer you are today. and its use is not right. • use when you want to emphasize the object over the subject. WORD CHOICES Word choices serve your ideas. the rules must be conscious and heeded.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 174 Passive voice has four main uses: • use when naming the doer is unimportant. A lot of these issues require learning. that is. each decision. understanding and memorization of the rules. Until then. your vocabulary within your field and for the language in general. then you probably have a passive voice construction. Grammar checkers are great at identifying passive voice. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.com . rewrite the sentence for active voice. So use this editing time to ensure the quality you expect of your writing. With English being a compilation of many languages. allowing you to write exactly your meaning or express your ideas. • use when you don’t know or don’t want to reveal the name of the subject. to avoid placing blame or responsibility. confusion reigns. so pay attention to those green squiggles under a whole sentence and see if you’ve written in passive voice. impacts the meaning of your writing. To identify passive voice. look for the stated or implied word by followed by a noun (the true subject of the sentence). “Who is actually doing the action in the sentence?” If that subject is not stated. Then you won’t have to think about them all that often. • use when you want to avoid admitting to something or taking credit. Each choice. You must practice and notice the rules in others’ writing until the rules become ingrained in your writing style. They show your style of writing. Passive voice is often used in government writing.
The joy of reading is in finding the details interesting. David Long said: Name names. by the way. so you must use the right word. And use your own expertise. furthermore.com . become. Each linking word has a specific meaning. Make your writing physical. Often the to be verb creates a wordy present or past participle (was standing) that can be revised and shortened (stood). Using to be is like using there or it as subjects. being. The weather is hot today simply states an equality: weather = hot.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 175 Use Specific Nouns and Verbs Always use the most specific noun and verb available to express your idea. in the same way. prove. incidentally. which come from those specific nouns and verbs. Simply remove the to be verb and make the remaining verb the main verb of the sentence. in comparison. Use lots of exact nouns. are. in addition. The word expresses nothing. been appear. too Comparison as. equally important. is. moreover. equally important. remain. “Food” is an idea. grow. Use words like soffit. COMMON LINKING VERBS Common forms of the to be verb Close to the to be verb (though they can be strong verbs if used properly) am. likewise. turn Transitional Elements Transitions link ideas and chunks of text by showing their relationship. For example. Naming not only makes the writing more visceral. “black bean soup” is a thing. draw shave. Revise “to be” + a verb to use a stronger verb. besides. was. MEANINGS OF TRANSITIONAL ELEMENTS MEANING TRANSITIONAL ELEMENT Addition also. spit valve. The most common linking verb is to be. were. it makes the reader trust you. whatever “insider information” you have. similarly © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. seem.
in summary. meanwhile. finally. all in all. today. third. however. in the second place. Common Writing Errors Workbook has an extensive list of words and phrases to replace. second. specifically. at any rate. First. tomorrow. still. thus Summary/conclude after all. for example. at any rate. later that day. at the same time. similarly. illustration incidentally. that is Example or as an illustration.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 176 Concession although. eventually. so. Place or location beneath. likewise. nevertheless. yet Reduce Wordiness and Redundancy Cut to avoid wordiness during the editing process. and that wordiness appears on paper the first time. indeed. nonetheless. as a result. then. The same goes for unnecessary phrases. yesterday. nonetheless. granted. on the other hand. after all. consequently. on the other hand. in conclusion. because. certainly. but conversely. despite that. Your first draft will be wordy because we are wordy in our speech. namely. on the contrary. whereas. now. and the writing will be as it should be. finally. so that. certainly. the next week (month. back at the ranch. meanwhile. underneath Change in thinking but.’ Your editor will delete it. even though.com . in spite of. in fact. thus Result accordingly. subsequently. next. therefore. yet Emphasis anyway. in effect. hence. of course. however. over. in contrast. year). naturally. in short. never the less. in other words. even so. then. finally. instead. # years ago. for instance. to conclude Time sequence after. by the time something happens. still. such as “As a matter of fact…” or © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. though Contrast at the same time. Mark Twain wrote: Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very. due to. otherwise. of course. on the other street.
State the Right “Thing” We use the word thing as a lazy way of talking and writing. Most handbooks also offer such a list. Often these phrases have taken on a different meaning than the original words meant. if this is one of your issues. Here are the common words with homonym issues: © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Homonyms Homonyms include words that sound the same . Be specific. or what? Then replace thing with the actual word. which is often an entertaining read.com . Whole books have been written with these confusing words. but they are spelled differently and have different meanings. And Common Writing Errors Workbook has a list of common clichés to be avoided. an emotion. Use the Right Word (Confusing Words) Many words are often confused because they sound the same. whole books have been written stating the cliché and its history. and too” but are different words with different meanings and functions.such as “to. Is it an action. take a moment to think about the real name of the thing you are referring to. When you find yourself writing thing.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 177 “Due to the fact that…” Common Writing Errors Workbook has a list of these phrases. a task. Baltasar Gracian said: A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one. a weather condition. Again. an event. two. get the book. Common Writing Errors Workbook also has a long list of confused words. Rewrite Clichés Cliché are those “tried and true” expressions that everyone uses that have become so worn they are boring. or nearly the same.
3rd person) there (location. existence) Were (past tense of ‘are’) Jargon Jargon is the special language of a field or discipline. use it. but generally. If you’ve watched House (with Hugh Laurie). • It is a fraction without a whole number: one-half full. we have many new words for the dictionary. it all makes sense. and new set of jargon. two-week vacation. If not. Numbers Various style guides (rule books for grammar) have different rules about numbers. Use the jargon appropriate and expected by your audience.com . If they understand it. some say any number more than ten should use numerals) • It is part of a compound adjective. you’ve had your fill of medical jargon. it’s garbage (funny garbage). To one who tweets.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 178 COMMON HOMONYMS POSSESSIVE CONTRACTION PRONOUN its it's (it is) our their they're (they are) theirs there's (there is) whose who's (who is) your you're (you are) We’re (we are) OTHER hour (time). With the advent of Twitter. here are the more common agreements: Spell out the number when: • It starts a sentence • The number is less than ten • It uses one or two words (this really varies by the style book). The users and developers of Twitter have devised their own language to describe their unique actions. as in four-day work week. don’t. To a non-Twitter user. are (to be. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.
slow down. Someone (anonymous) said: Proofread carefully to see if you any word out. dashes.com . Use a semi colon: • Between independent clauses not separated by a coordinating conjunction © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. precise measurement. time. much like a period. even if one is less than ten. statistic. and understand that the next clause (idea) is directly related to or an extension of the first idea. following the rules above. The two sentences (ideas) are closely related to each other. serial number. sees the semi colon. colons.” in which you drive up to the stop sign. and other special uses.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 179 Write the numeral (digit) when: • It is a date or a year • It is the number of a street address • It uses three or more numbers • It refers to a chapter. The reader reads the first clause (idea). but with less of a stop than with a period. Semi Colon A semi colon is placed between two independent clauses. I think of a semi colon as what we in California call a “California rolling stop. This section discusses the more problematic punctuation: semi colons. commas. to printed books. apostrophes. TV channel. route number. and turn right without really stopping. and italics. • All the numbers of the passage are in numerals. And finally. Money can be written with letters or numerals. A semi colon does the same thing. PUNCTUATION Punctuation errors abound in everything from online blogs (don’t get me started).
however. • Around expressions that interrupt the flow of the sentence. the sentence will be grammatically correct and a complete thought. moreover. still and so on. the transitional element simply splits an independent clause. Another problem writers have with semi colons is their use with transitional elements. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. only commas are used around the transitional element (as in this sentence). in fact. Commas Commas have a few rules as to when and when not to use them. If the transitional element breaks two independent clauses. nevertheless. usually adding information. consequently and the like in a sentence must follow the same rule. also. Generally. Do not use a comma: • Between two items in a pair.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 180 • Between independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb: however. meanwhile. then. if you remove the modifier. • Around phrases that provide necessary information for the sentence to make sense (with restrictive clauses). use a semi colon. you won’t have an independent clause with the second verb.com . moreover. • Around modifiers that add extra information. If. consequently. on the other hand. furthermore. even after the item before and. likewise. and so on. That is. • To replace the commas when writing a string of phrases or clauses that use commas within them. Using however. • Between two verbs acting with the same subject or between the subject and a prepositional phrase. besides. • After an introductory expression (one that begins a sentence) of any length. therefore. This rule also applies when presenting a list with internal commas. thus. moreover. not required for the clause to make sense. otherwise. of course. • Between all items of a series. This often happens with words such as however. Put a comma: • In front of a coordinating conjunction when the conjunction connects an independent clause.
place the apostrophe before the s. as with contractions. Use apostrophes for possession: • to show possession with a singular noun. For example. • For words that have both a singular and plural form. • In a series with and or or between each item in the series. the apostrophe is placed after the s. Claire added salad ingredients – shredded carrots and sliced beets– to enhance the color of the dish. such an aside (a statement mumbled out of the side of the mouth) • To emphasize an appositive. This error also happens with collective nouns.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 181 • In front of a subordinating conjunction that appears in the middle of a sentence. and they shouldn’t be because they are essential to conveying the correct information. show how many items are being considered by using the right word and then place the apostrophe in the right place. Apostrophes It seems to me that apostrophes are becoming an extinct punctuation mark. often to set off an aside from the rest of the sentence. • For plural nouns that end in an s. • to show possession with a plural noun. Apostrophes have two functions: • to show possession • to indicate a missing letter or number. such as “women’s room. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. • Between the subject and verb when they are located next to each other. such as families and babies.com .” the apostrophe is placed before the s in the word. Don’t use it for an ordinary pause or stop. Use a dash: • To show a sudden break in thought • To set off a parenthetical element or expression. Dashes The dash is used for dramatic purposes.
the apostrophe indicates a missing number. yours. Note that both are complete sentences. the apostrophe indicates missing letters: you are becomes you’re. ours. • After the book’s title and before the subtitle (it introduces the subtitle). • With possessive pronouns: his. Use apostrophes for missing letters or numbers: • In contractions.com .WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 182 • If two subjects are involved. as in ’10 for 2010. • to form the plural of letters and symbols: They all earned A’s in the class. Do not use apostrophes: • With plurals. the ‘s is attached to the second noun as the possessor. Colons For the most part. For example. you must know who owns the item. if only one item is involved. He is right: the water is rising. • When a number or letter is not missing. its. theirs. However. whose. • With numbers. A colon is also used as follows: • After the name in the salutation of a formal letter (Dear Mrs. These constructions can take the common form of: • a list that follows a complete sentence • a long quotation • an explanation of the first sentence. a colon introduces a construction at the end of a sentence. hers. in the 90’s should read in the 90s. Green) • Before the details of an announcement (for sale: a red bicycle) • After the word Resolved in a formal resolution (Resolved:…) • After the speaker’s name in a play (Hamlet: To be or not to be…) Italics Use italics: © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.
movie. play. add them to your list. Make this a living document. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. create a Favorite Errors” list of grammatical errors you often make. a collection of poems or short stories. • Names of ships. From your own experiences of editing your work. such as a book. Actio n St ep fo r Lesson #11 1. magazine. remove it from your list.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 183 • The title of a full work. journal. TV show. long poems that are published as books.com . As you learn one of these errors enough not to make it anymore. figures. This replaces the underline of previous years (which was a typesetter’s signal to italicize). spacecraft • Foreign words not yet Anglicized • Words. newspaper. As you notice other errors that you frequently make. or symbols referred to as such • For emphasis. letters. when you can’t convey the meaning any other way. aircraft. paintings. a learning tool for you to become a better writer.
but the tasks discussed here are the more common tasks needed to finish a manuscript. not by what we start. based on your topic or field and your book’s content.com . John Cheever The point is to finish and go on to the next thing. you can perform other tasks that use the page numbers. Pagination simply refers to finalizing the page numbers for the manuscript. and thus the pagination. Someone (anonymous) said: We will be judged by what we finish. Many tasks will affect the spacing. Some of these tasks are for self-publishers only.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 184 LESSON 12 FINISH THE MANUSCRIPT Finishing refers to all the final checks to make sure the manuscript is consistent and complete. Most are for all writers. Your book will probably have special needs. if you choose to do one. such as finalizing the wording and page numbers on the Table of Contents and doing the index. Once the page numbers are correct. of your manuscript. who will be creating a pdf file or other compatible file for production. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. These tasks must be done first.
Number them in one sequence throughout the manuscript. Do the following tasks before you finalize the page numbers on your table of contents and page references within the text. Make sure all the page breaks are where they need to be. with the title at the top and the source information (if appropriate) at the bottom. combine all chapters into one document (do Save As and create a new file. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Pagination refers to the numbering of pages.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 185 FINISHING TASKS BEFORE PAGINATION IS COMPLETE Read the manuscript once for each task listed below.1. Also make sure the visuals are labeled properly. once labeled). If you are sending the manuscript to a publisher. one set for tables and another for figures.). or number them sequentially within each chapter. use Lesson 11 for editing corrections. • Make sure the headers and identify the sections you desire. are they consistent: o in their wording (grammatical structure) o in their use of capitalization or upper/lower case lettering? o If you haven’t used the style sheet (which makes all headers the same. If you’ve imported previously written files and tables into your manuscript. then do a final spell check with the computer.com . • Visuals: Check to see that the visuals are numbered consistently within the chapter. If your computer program doesn’t identify these errors automatically. differences may have occurred. So the first table in Chapter 5 could be Table 5-1 or 5. then you won’t need to worry about the design issues. Check the standards used in your field and follow suit. outside of the visual itself. For grammatical errors. First. if appropriate for your situation. Also. Check the following: • Correct for the squiggle marks under the words: red for spelling errors and green for grammatical errors. then are the headers in the same font and size appropriate to the level? • Make sure the body text in the same font and size.
put a copyright notice [ © ].WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 186 • Visuals and spacing: Are all visuals complete on the page? Do not break them so they are split between two pages unless it takes more than one page. • Documentation: Have you given attribution (credit) to any authors quoted or paraphrased in your text? Have you cited these references in your References or Works Cited page in the back? Are you using a documentation style appropriate for your industry or topic area? © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Also be consistent with spacing around chapter elements and other extras that are not in body text. • Top Header Box: Is the content in this box right? Have you included page numbers? • Footer Box: If you are self-publishing.” and your web address in the footer box. • Make sure that no headers or subheaders sit alone at the bottom of the page. This issue is for self-publishers only. so readers can go right to the desired web address? Are there any gaps in your Resources sections? • Spacing: is the spacing consistent: o Chapter headers start on a new page. • Exercises and other chapter elements: Make sure the exercises. If the book will be in print. Use numbers if the list requires a sequence of actions. samples. and other chapter elements are numbered consistently if you number them. showing the benefits of referring to them? • Resources: Are all Resources correct and still available? The Internet changes constantly. use the above if there seems to be no standard. making them easier to use? That is.com . have you grouped all the websites by their category. • Have you added any appendices your reader will need to understand the text? Are they complete? Have you mentioned them in the text. The publisher’s page designer should check this issue before concluding the design. • Be consistent with the use of * or bullets. “All rights reserved. • Resources: Have you categorized your resources. so perform one final check on all URLs before sending the book off for production. Use the two options discussed for visuals. make sure the page is an odd-numbered page. o before and after each type of header? o around chapter elements and other extras that are not body text Have a cheat sheet in front of you when reading to remind you of the spacing rules you’ve established for the manuscript. Follow your field’s practices first.
Make sure you’ve noted in the text that a word is listed in the glossary. messy pages in your archives. • Do a glossary. • Make sure all page references within the text (referring to specific pages.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 187 • Endnotes: Are all endnotes complete at the back of the book? Are they referenced properly in the text (with an endnote number)? These numbers usually change automatically. illustrations. FINISHING TASKS FOR AFTER PAGINATION IS COMPLETE Once you know your pagination is correct (that the page numbers are correct for the content). and chapters elsewhere in the manuscript) are correct to the latest pagination. as it shows your professionalism. if desired. Does it have the correct ISBN or other identifying number on it? Is the website for your company or publisher listed correct? BookNote #65 DO THE FINISHING TASKS BEFORE PAGINATION IS COMPLETE Do each task on the list for you’ve set the page numbers. • Print a fresh copy for the editor or publisher or yourself. • Check the Copyright page. • Do the index. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. if desired. an index is highly recommended. then check the following: • Table of Contents: Are the headings of your chapters worded the same in the text as in the Table of Contents? Add the page numbers to the Table of Contents. File your old.com . forms. • List of Illustrations: Check that the titles on your visuals match the List of Illustrations and put in the page numbers. as the selfpublisher. For printed books. you can bold the word or link it to the glossary entry.
then get a professional set of eyes to look it over. Swap editing jobs: she’ll edit yours if you edit hers. It takes a lot of time and expertise to do the job right. Make sure she knows how to write nonfiction books.com . walk away. BookNote #67 HIRE A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR Find a professional editor or a writer/colleague to edit your manuscript. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. and haggle over the manuscript. When you’re rich and famous. Put the copy into your project binder and file the old. Fees for a professional editor can be high. you can afford a professional editor and save wear and tear on your friends and colleagues. What if you can’t afford a professional editor? Find a fellow writer whom you trust to do the job. Hire a Professional Editor When you are satisfied you’ve done the best job you can with the book. Talk to friends. face to face. messy copy with your archives. ask for referrals from other writers.00 a page. so you can sit down.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 188 BookNote #66 DO THE FINISHING TASKS AFTER PAGINATION IS COMPLETE Do the finishing tasks after your pagination is complete and print a fresh copy. If someone offers to do it for $1. Work with someone local if you can. Or go with someone you’ve heard about whom you feel comfortable with.
illusory. have fun. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. if you will use it. that we have much more to say than appears on the page. We all have the conviction. Create a checklist. a Few Closing Sentiments Issac Bashevis Singer said: Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. it’s time to start thinking about the next book. 2. Have it ready. either to a publisher or as a self-publisher. Return to Lesson One and repeat the process. Create a checklist for each type of writing and have it ready the next time you need to produce a piece of writing. Now you can call yourself a writer (whether your actually believe that statement or not may take time). The chasm is never bridged. so be proud of it. You’ve completed the course and written your book. While you’re selling your book. with the names of the tasks needed for each stage of finishing: Before Pagination and After Pagination.com . That’s a major accomplishment. CONCLUSION Congratulations! You’ve done it. perhaps. Sinclair Lewis said: It’s impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say. And by all means. they’re going to write.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 189 Actio n St eps fo r L esso n #12 1. And Finally. Take the finishing tasks discussed in this Lesson and decide which ones are applicable to other types of writing you do.
com . Virginia Satir said: Who is stopping you but you. Dr. Thomas Edison said: Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. you’re right. Henry David Thoreau said: Go confidently in the direction of your dream. THE END of this course … And THE BEGINNING or continuation of your career as a nonfiction book writer! Go forth and write! © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. Babe Ruth said: Never let the fear of striking out get in your way. Live the life you have imagined. Eleanor Roosevelt said: You must do the think you think you cannot do.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 190 Henry Ford said: If you think you can or think you can’t do a thing.
New York: Charles Scribner’s and Sons © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 191 REFERENCES Osborne.com . Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving. Alex. (1963).
reports.. Brainstorming is being reworked and expanded as a course. mostly in electronic form. CA. She trained for and tried her hand at being a Film Script Supervisor in 2005-2006 but decided that career wasn’t her calling though she loved being on set making movies.A. In 1992. she began self-publishing the Focus Your Energies series and other materials for writers. In 1994. M. These books were first published in 1994 and revised in 1999. a mainstream novel called Rose and Crown (set in 14th century England) and an adolescent novel. She continues to selfpublish materials for writers to this day. Children’s Book Insider.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 192 ABOUT KATHERINE PLOEGER. House of Time. asked her to convert Focus Your Energies on Writing for Children and Teens to create three workshops-in-a-book called CBI Indepth: Character Workshop. M. All are available from www. Plot Workshop. Over the years.F. Ploeger has also written three novels (unpublished). Captain’s Inn: Captain Mike’s Treasure to an adolescent novel of the same name. Born in San Francisco.com. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.quillifulpublications. a proposed series.com . Beginning in 1980 with her self-published travel guide Tips for Women Travelers. and Brainstorming Workshop.A. through her publishing company Quilliful Publications (www. textbooks). Plot and Character. both self-published and published.write4kids. In 2010. She has also converted a (family film) screenplay. a small publisher in Colorado. she self-published several titles for the travel industry before switching to writing for writers in 1989. Katherine Ploeger lived and worked in California until her move to Oregon in September 2009. the first novel was also set in 14th century England. both fiction and nonfiction.com). Ploeger revised and expanded two of the three books for release as e-books. Ploeger is the author of more than 40 titles (books. Ploeger holds two Master’s degrees: a Master of Arts (MA)n English – Composition (teaching people to write better) from San Francisco State University in 1994 and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Screenwriting from Chapman University’s Dodge School of Film and Television in 2005.
and taught a series of workshops for writers. Google “Katherine Ploeger” for a list of some of these titles. Ploeger has also written ten screenplays. works with clients as a writing coach and consultant. and blog posts. business communications. She also blogs at katieploeger. and runs her publishing company. teaching writing. Quilliful Publications. CA. produced. and other related courses. getting used to the rain. In addition to writing and publishing. OR. She writes full time. she accumulated more than 15 years of experience (full time equivalent). Ploeger served as an adjunct/associate professor at various California colleges and universities. literature. from 1994 to 2005. which in her view is an improvement over the constant (and boring) sunshine of Southern California.com . education. With her teaching double loads. several of which have won awards at screenwriting contests (her family films). general information for affiliate sites featuring products. Katherine Ploeger resides in Beaverton. during 2007. including travel (including her photographs). offered in Orange County.com © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications. writing.com http://ploegerservices.com. She published extensive materials packets for each workshop.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 193 Ploeger has also written many articles on a variety of topics. Check out her websites: http://quillifulpublications. She also developed. Currently.com http://katieploeger.
this workbook expands on the analysis process with worksheets for each step of the process. The Chapter Plan Workbook Using Lesson 5 as the foundation. Publications for Nonfiction Writers These publications are spawned from this course: Common Writing Errors Workbook Just in case you need more information about writing errors.WRITE THAT NONFICTION BOOK! THE WHOLE PROCESS 194 FROM QUILLIFUL PUBLICATIONS Empowering Writers for Success Check out www. The BookNotes Workbook Use this workbook as a quick and helpful guide to the nonfiction book writing process with all of the BookNotes and worksheets for exercises and action steps. Only the BookNotes are duplicated here. The answer key is in the back of the book. including samples filled in and a blank worksheet you can print/copy. and exercises for all the writing errors discussed in Chapter 11. © 2010 Katherine Ploeger All rights reserved quillifulpublications.quillifulpublications. This workbook includes descriptions. here is your solution. along with practice by doing exercises. Competition Analysis Workbook Using Lesson 7 as the foundation. examples.com for details about the publications described below. You can buy directly from the website (download) or from online bookstores (printed book). this workbook expands on creating a Chapter Plan with longer explanations and more examples of each page or item used.com . along with worksheets.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue listening from where you left off, or restart the preview.