Words On Wednesday

2016-10-19 Writing a Book

I want to write a book. Honestly, I think a lot of people want to write a book. It appeals to many different people for many different reasons.

The Appeal of Writing

For some people, it’s the promise of a form of immortality. If you write a book, you will have always written a book. Even if you aren’t the next Charles Dickens, making it onto high school reading lists year after year, you work is in print. Well over a century and a half past the death of Edgar Allan Poe, we can still read his own words recorded in his various poems and stories. Perhaps not Tom Riddle levels of leaving your soul in a book to banter with future generations, but at least words written from your own pen.

For others, notably the most vain among us, writing a book is an attempt at fame. Say you do write a piece that makes it big. Your name will be known the world over. Your signature in a first edition will be worth hundreds if not thousands, depending on the magnitude of your success. Some people thrive on the idea of that sort of fame and popularity.

Yet another group simply want an outlet for creativity. I consider myself part of this group, hence why I’ve kept a blog for 2 years now. There’s just something therapeutic about spilling the contents of my mind onto paper. And sure, while I could keep a private journal or diary, there’s something appealing about the idea of sharing my mind with other people. The back and forth of an interesting discussion can be both exhilarating and enlightening.

Even still, I feel like this blog isn’t the entirety of what I want to do with my writing. I want a cohesive work of some length, not just unrelated weekly posts of a few thousand words each. I want to explore a topic at length, to create something in my mind and properly bring that creation to life through the words of a book.

A Whole Book…?

The idea of writing an entire book, though, sounds so daunting. That’s a lot of material, and a lot of time invested. Can I really elaborate on something enough to turn it into at least a novella? Would I just start repeating myself after some time? Nothing I’ve ever written has been longer than maybe 10 or 15 pages. To write hundreds of pages, all about the same topic, seems insane.

But… what if I don’t write hundreds of pages all at one time? What if I break it into chunks of manageable length and release them incrementally? It worked for Andy Weir, author of The Martian. Why not for me? I’m certainly not expecting the great success that Weir has experienced, but I don’t see why I couldn’t use his methodology for my own material.

I have a few ideas floating around of topics I would like to write on. One idea in particular about Nietzsche’s philosophy of eternal return would need to be collected into a single release to have the effect that I want. Some other ideas, though, I could probably publish in serial format. They’re still in their infancy, but I could probably put together enough to actually start releasing material.

Once I’ve released a decent amount of material, it really wouldn’t be so hard to collect it all into a single work. With the chapters finished, the pieces are there to put the entire puzzle together. After I’m done with the story to my satisfaction, I could group everything together into a single book. Maybe have some editing done, make sure the entire thing is cohesive and consistent, and boom – I’ve got a book.

There are plenty of benefits to the serial release schedule. If I’ve already published a number of chapters, I’m not completely abandoning the project if I stop before the story is finished. There have been chapters released, people can read them, and I can pick back up on it later if I want (though I suppose that’s also true for non-serial releases).

Plus, giving out chapter by chapter allows me to get feedback from readers early in the process, which can reflect where I go with the future of the work. There can be a gradual evolution of my writing style, which could be retroactively applied to previous portions of the book if I do decide to release it as a whole package.

I genuinely want to move forward with this. Even if I never finish a whole book, I can at least say I’ve tried. Besides, a chapter at a time can’t be *that* difficult (I say before I’ve even written the first word). To my potential readers, I welcome any criticism you might offer. If you think it’s garbage, tell me. However, I request that you also tell me what I could try to make it not as bad.

Meta:

Words: 825 | Characters: 4471 | Sentences: 52

Paragraphs: 14 | Reading Level: 9-10th Grade

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