Nonfiction, Anyone? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 11-07-2008, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd love to pick your brains about how you approach writing book-length nonfiction. I've done lots of articles in the past (and lots of longer papers in college, if you want to go back that far), but this is my first foray into something longer.

I've been doing the notecard thing for the past few months, and I've just started venturing into the outline stage. It's really helping me see what's missing and where I need to focus my attention. I know there are other ways to plan/pre-write/whatnot, and I'd love to hear your suggestions, mamas!!

: Thanks!

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#2 of 7 Old 11-11-2008, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Nobody?

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#3 of 7 Old 11-11-2008, 10:12 PM
 
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Nope, but I'd like to hear as well. I've only done short non-fiction.

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#4 of 7 Old 11-19-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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Was coming here to post about something similar.

I have been gathering information for a couple years now for what I want, and am now trying to arrange it into sections. Ideas, writing down what outline topic goes with which actual file on my computer. My BF says I'm trying to write too big a book to start out andn I should keep it a small book but I really don't know how big it will be in the end. Maybe once it is printed it won't take up as much room as he thinks?
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#5 of 7 Old 11-20-2008, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nathan1097 View Post
My BF says I'm trying to write too big a book to start out and I should keep it a small book but I really don't know how big it will be in the end. Maybe once it is printed it won't take up as much room as he thinks?
Same here. I really can't gauge, yet, how long it will become, but I figure it's easy enough to trim it down. And, if I trim enough, I might be able to fashion a sequel out of the extra bits.

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#6 of 7 Old 12-06-2008, 08:30 PM
 
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I don't have much time on here but will try to address the questions quickly... feel free to PM me or ask more question on this thread. (I actually came on here for another writing related question in a different genre)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangled Hill View Post
I'd love to pick your brains about how you approach writing book-length nonfiction. I've done lots of articles in the past (and lots of longer papers in college, if you want to go back that far), but this is my first foray into something longer.

I've been doing the notecard thing for the past few months, and I've just started venturing into the outline stage. It's really helping me see what's missing and where I need to focus my attention. I know there are other ways to plan/pre-write/whatnot, and I'd love to hear your suggestions, mamas!!

: Thanks!
To be honest I jumped right into non-fiction because I like long-term projects, the money is more worth while and honestly because the deadlines allow more wiggle room than most articles. Also non-fiction isn't so long when it is actually broken down into small chunks. It is completely possible to write and sell book length non-fiction the key is having a marketable idea and an established platform to sell your book of topic.

I only do notecards (story boards) for fiction endeavors because items and elements of the story often end up moved and cut all together, with non-fiction I go directly to the outline stage and often have several revisions of the outline & chapter summaries.

One thing to realize with non-fiction (if it's aimed or selling to NY publishers) is you are actually not writing the book you are writing (and polishing) a non-fiction book proposal to submit to agents and publishers in hopes of selling your book. Then after it is sold the editorial department at the publishing house will give feedback on your "detailed table of contents and chapter summaries" (which is really simply a detailed outline) after that point you write the book.

As a new mom my time was precious so I teamed up with a co-author for my non-fiction I do all the writing but, my co-author has a stellar platform and it has worked wonderful for us thus far.

My suggestions for steps to take would be to read Nonfiction Book Proposals That Sell I think the authors last name is Lyons.

Good luck!!!! It's a fun journey.

"There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way and not starting." - Buddha.
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#7 of 7 Old 12-24-2008, 04:32 PM
 
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I've written two non-fiction books and my husband wrote a non-fiction book for Hay House that was recently published. We had two very different approaches.

He used Ann McIndoo's process where you put sticky notes up on a big wall. The first row is your chapter headers and then underneath each chapter header you put your main concepts, and then under that you put your details. Like an outline. Everytime he wanted to work on a chapter, he would pull down the sticky notes that went with it, or the subsections he felt like working on, and work. Then put the sticky notes back. When done with a section, he would put a check mark in the corner of the sticky note.

For me, I would outline on the computer. no sticky notes. First I would come up wiht my chapters, then my sub-headings, then 2 or 3 main points for each sub section. It was really quite easy, or at least it was well laid out.

I do think that outlining before you start is really important. It keeps you from meandering and wasting time writing sections that will have to be removed or moved.
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