Book writing progress

So, I’ve managed to put together about 50 pages of my book so far, once you take out the title page and the contents. Mostly I’m gathering old essays, web posts, etc and dumping them together, but it turns out I’ve written a lot of stuff in the last few years… So, with any luck I’ll have gathered together 100 pages by the end of the week. I reckon that’s not impossible, if I can find enough old stuff and burble about new things that catch my interest. It has surprised me just how quickly I was able to put together this much. Ah, the benefits of a wasted youth.


7 responses to “Book writing progress”

  1. Is it going to be a collection of essays, or are you going to use what you’ve written already as a basis for something completely new?
    Speaking as someone with editorial experience, you might want to get someone to go over what you’ve written if you’re going to re-use it and ensure that the style/tone is consistent and the structure makes sense, as people’s writing styles can change a lot over time. But getting someone else to have a look would be a good idea anyway IMHO.
    Hmm. I have a friend who’s a professional editor and proofreader, who’s also a dungeon master and has had articles published. Would you be interested in having contact with him at any point?

    • Ooooohh… thanks.
      I think all of the essays will be broken up and sold as scrap for new uses. I feel at the moment it’ll break up into a few parts, and then lots of chapters in each part. The parts will probably be: Introduction, Creating Characters, Playing Characters, Creating Games, Running Games, Miscellanea and Resources.
      Probably, in order to make it sound like a book rather than an end-to-end collection of some egotist’s ramblings, I’ll have to do a full re-write. I don’t really know, but I have a strong feeling that’ll be necessary. So I guess the idea is to create a kind of Frankenstein book, with the right subjects covered, and the structure basically correct, but where all the parts are a mismatch of style and tone. The final draft will be a write-though of all the subjects, in the order they appear in the Frankenstein draft, but all in the same voice. Does that sound sensible?
      Under that system, though, I think it is difficult to drag other people in to read and comment. Since nary a word written in the Franskenstein draft will appear in the final, how can you get feedback? Any ideas?

      I’d be very interested in contacting your friend, actually – I guess the right kind of time is somewhere near the end? I have a lot of very critical friends to keep me going in the meantime 😉

      Actually, I’m not sure exactly the kind of tone to use. Since this is currently a jumble of posts to friends, web articles, web forum posts, and my own snippets and ideas, I’ve written for a lot of different audiences, and I’m now not sure what tone would be best. Should I write as an authoritative teacher, to inspire confidence? In a chatty tone that reflects friendly discussion? I don’t know.

      • It’s just occurred to me that Derek would be a good person to review what you come up with, too.
        Does that sound sensible?
        That sounds like a good idea. If nothing else you have the structure and then can include the topics you want to cover under each sub-heading, with sub-topics drawn from areas you’ve already written on. (And of course, as some of it is old, you’ll have more experience/a different perspective to bring to it which may necessitate a rewrite anyway.) It depends how ruthless you are about editing. I sometimes find I get too hung up on rewriting something I’ve written to sound better, when I should just delete it and start form scratch. If you have that discipline already though that shouldn’t be a problem.
        re feedback. I think you have to trust the process, write a draft (not the very basic one) and then show that to people. Otherwise whatever they say you’ll always have the ‘but I was going to rewrite that anyway’ response. Better use of time to get it into shape first IMHO.
        I’m not sure exactly the kind of tone to use
        This is a tricky one but I think it matters less than the tone being consistent – as an inappropriate change of voice can be jarring. You know the sort of audience you’re aiming for and I would say not to make it too informal as after all you are trying to teach something. Perhaps you could use two tones (depending on what you’re trying to do), one for the theory and one for the practice. Eg you describe some aspect of gaming and use the authorial voice for that, then in practical real-world examples use a less formal tone. I don’t know whether you’d planned to do it that way.
        My gut says ‘write in a way that feels natural to you’ and for a subject like this, where you are passing on knowledge to those less experienced but equal to you, you don’t need to try to sound authoritative; that will come across anyway from the kinds of things you are saying.

  2. You’re producing faster than L. Ron Hubbard
    Aha! a masterplan! Step 1, produce book. Step 2, create a new religion targetting roleplayers. Step 3, destroy the evil Futon invaders!
    (Sadly, the Futon thing is allegedly true. Scientology ‘evil aliens’ are meant to be called ‘Futons’. I find it terribly amusing that the Scientology church on Tottenham Court Road is just over from Futon Express and the Sofa Workshop…)

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