Writing Journal 12: Nonfiction – “What’s Your Point?”

Writing Journal 12:  Nonfiction - “What’s Your Point?"
My writing journal for Saturday, August 23, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Fiction, nonfiction, and email

1,100 words of the novella; I’d hoped for more, but I did another couple of cluster diagrams, getting to know the characters and the conflicts. Still solid.

I managed 2,000 words of the nonfiction book. It’s flowing well. I need to do a little research today, if I get around to it. I made some notes for research, and read through what I have and the outline. I’ve added another chapter to the outline, and deleted a chapter from the outline, because it’s not needed.

Why do I know that the chapter isn’t needed? It’s because I have a slant — a promise I’ve made to the reader. Your slant focuses your writing.

Writing nonfiction… what’s your SLANT?

I’ve received some questions about nonfiction. Many of my writing students are self publishing nonfiction books. They do well once they understand how nonfiction works.

They start out wanting to cover everything about their topic.

Of course they get stuck. Such a book is impossible to write, and no one would want it anyway. Readers want a book which fixes a problem. So, when you’re writing nonfiction, you always have a point of view: a slant. Think of it as the promise you’re making to the reader.

Ask yourself: “what’s your point?” before you start writing. If you don’t have a point, your book will meander, and it won’t be satisfying to the reader.

Consider the “For Dummies” books. They promise the reader that he can get up to speed on a vast number of topics. Their tagline is: “Making Everything Easier”.

They promise they’ll make a topic easier, but they don’t promise the reader everything on a topic. You’ll find For Dummies books on topics as diverse as planning a budget wedding, composting, and car repair.

So, when you write nonfiction, ask yourself what you’re promising the reader. Everything that doesn’t relate to that gets deleted.

Next, it’s time to deal with email, but Honey needs her breakfast first. Her arthritis is bothering her this morning.

I have my own breakfast, while reading blog posts. Then I wrote a quick blog post on Fab Freelance Writing Blog on discoverability, and selling more ebooks.

It’s Saturday, so I’m off to run errands.

Late afternoon. Time to check email, and compile a MOBI file of the third novella, so I can read it on my iPad. The first read is always just to get a sense of the book as a whole; I might highlight a few paragraphs, but I avoid making notes. I discussed a basic self-editing process here.

Time to review my work for the day, and tot up my word counts. And I’m done. Time to take a break, have dinner, and then read the novella.:-)

3 Writing Programs Closing in 24 Hours

Three writing programs are closing in 24 hours:

As you may know, we’re clearing the decks of our bestselling writing programs. We’ve got more coming, so we’re withdrawing all the programs which we’re not actively promoting. This is good news, if you’ve been considering a program.

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Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.