Thursday, January 04, 2007

So You Want To Write A Book? Lesson 6

Yesterday we started the New Year off on the right foot with a few truths about the writing process.

And since we've already chosen working titles and themes, we're going to pick an obvious path and . . . we're going to start writing!

We'll be writing portions of your book that Maisel calls "chunking."

"A chunk is a piece of writing about the length of a newspaper column that, like a newspaper column, treats a single subject in an anecdote, a vignette, an exercise, a complete thought, a description of a place or an event."

Maisel also adds, "As you get practiced at writing nonfiction you will acquire an increasingly fine sense of what chunks feels like and what they can accomplish. Chunks are the building blocks of nonfiction books."

We'll start by writing five chunks of your book this week. These are not complete pieces of thought, these are doodling vignettes that you've either been collecting or thinking about, and these don't have to be perfect. Just start "chunking."

A sample mini-chunk from me:

A writer's bootcamp is a simple title for an organized approach to writing for magazines. This approach came to me in a brainstorm after I spent too many hours writing a query to one magazine, including meticulous research, and after I sold the piece, I knew that all that research (I am an over-researcher) would go to waste.

Now, I work to maximize the research I put in to try and sell at least five pieces instead of just one.


That's not too hard. And remember, Maisel says that "the first step in deciding which chunks to write is an emotional one: to make a commitment to one version of your book. It is actually a tentative commitment, which sounds like an oxymoron because it is shorthand for the following idea. You are to make a full commitment to one version of your book, while reserving the right to change your mind after you've done some writing."

So, our goal for this week is to write five chunks!

Tomorrow is Grammar Rant Friday! (I know, you cannot wait.)

No comments: