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Thursday, 18 January 2018


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Mike wrote, "I like cameras, but I've always liked pictures more."

Lest we forget, a camera is a just a tool we use to make pictures.

"You just have to know where you're going..."

Ah, well, that's the trick, isn't it?

[I'm helped in this case because it's a true story, but it's still tough to know what to put in and what to leave out. --Mike]

Keep writing, and reading, and writing. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

Glad to see you’ve scheduled some time to keep chipping away at the book. A large part of my work involves writing - admittedly business requirements for financial product & system changes, so no Pulitzer Prize candidates :)
I find the two main challenges are:
- Getting to the knub of what it is one is trying to do or say. Once this is determined, the rest is filling in the details, in one sense.
- Editting. For me this is the grind. My objectives are clarity of meaning, accuracy, completeness and coherence throughout the document.
Whatever one’s objectives, it can be very hard to read your own words objectively and with “fresh eyes”. In this sense TOP’s comments section is perfect for me. The preview pane presents the words just differently enough that I can effectively review and edit - when I have the time :)

The thing about writing a book is to keep going, and get something down on a regular basis. Chances are, as you have found, it will end up 50% too long. That's a good thing - cutting is easier than injecting additional substance. But at that stage you have only done half the work, and it's tempting to sit back, heave a sigh of relief, and approach the cutting and refining process in a grudging, almost reluctant frame of mind, due to exhaustion and (by then) boredom with the whole damn thing. Take a break and go back refreshed. Cutting, approached with the right attitude, is fun, and vastly improves almost any book. Then remember that captions are as important as (perhaps more important than) the main text, and take more time to get right than you expect. More than half your readers will pick up the book, look at the pictures, read some of the captions - and that's it. Sad but true.

Keep going!

You write a book the same way you eat an elephant -- one bite at a time (I guess I was reminded of this by having just caught up and seen the B&W Baker's Dozen post with the lovely section about "the elephant problem"). (My community here contains a lot of professional writers, including my wife.)

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