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EXECUTION Creating a book?

Readerly

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@Andy Black and I have been discussing the overall plan for the book. I've suggested 2 basic approaches:

Approach 1: Have the book be more "aphoristic." By that, I mean a series of short essays that are more or less copies of your best forum posts with some light editing for clarity and flow. The narrative thread (the story of your brand) would't be as emphasized. Readers could read the book straight through from cover-to-cover. But it would feel less like a journey. It wouldn't have as strong of a story arc to it. Alternatively, readers could jump in randomly for nuggets of wisdom that float within the book more or less independently. It would be organized loosely by theme.

Approach 2: Give the book a stronger narrative spine. We would organize the "essays" into more coherent chapters. The chapters would flow like a story, taking the reader on a journey. The story would emphasize the step-by-step process. The reader's transformation through the process would be more explicit. This approach will require more work--more editing to make the pieces (your posts) fit better together and flow more coherently.

Here's what the chapter breakdown might look like for Approach 2:

Foreword [by MJ DeMarco?]

Chapter 1: Introduction

This is the TL;DR version of the whole book. It also emphasizes what's at stake. It answers the "Who cares?" and "So what?" questions for your target reader.

Chapter 2: Andy's Origin Story

Chapter 3: Detail the Problem

Chapter 4: Overview of the Plan


[Introduce the four steps to the plan
  1. Find out what people want.
  2. Find out if you can sell it to them.
  3. Find out if you can make a profit.
  4. Do it.]
Chapter 5: Plan Step 1

[Find out what people want.]

Chapter 6: Plan Step 2

[Find out if you can sell it to them.]

Chapter 7: Plan Step 3

[Find out if you can make a profit.]

Chapter 8: Plan Step 4

[Do it.]

Chapter 9: What Success Looks Like

Chapter 10: Conclusion


[summarize the whole journey; invites readers to get in touch, offer them something else of value beyond the book]

I think Approach 1 would be easier. We could bang it out more quickly. But I believe Approach 2 would have a bigger audience, one including but expanding beyond Andy's forum fans.

Andy is leaning toward Approach 1.

Which book would you prefer?
 
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Andy Black

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I sent these lines to someone today:

"You can't invoice for input."
(Blaise Brosnan)

"What if you already know enough?"
(Craig Desorcy)

"The market doesn't pay for activity."
(Blaise Brosnan)

"What would Richard Branson do?"
(James Schramko)


Their reply?

Maaaaan, each of these lines has so MUCH meaning.

Andy you should have a book only with these one liners...
 
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Andy Black

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The people I want to help are the people I’m already helping.

It seems they’re people who are tangled up and in their own way. They’re focused on consuming their way onto team producer, and they’re doing everything in their power to not engage the market.

I’d like to create a small book called “Start”, that people can dip into, get inspiration, and put down while they go off and start. I don’t want to turn people into consumers.

Maybe the sequel will be another short book called “Engage”.

All the material is there. I think it’s a case of writing the books I want to give my friends who are stuck, and that I want my kids to read.
 

dru-man

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I recommend going with the cohesive arc.

A lot of people online these days have taken the approach of turning blog posts into books, for example - a common complaint you'll see in reviews these days is that it read like a bunch of blog posts, and the readers seem to feel somewhat robbed in these cases. I've felt somewhat the same at times.

I don't think this is just a case of feeling like they could have gotten the info free (a book compilation of posts is still more convenient to read); I think it just contrasts with the experience you expect when reading a book and falls kind of flat. You expect a book to take you on a journey of sorts.

So from what I can see, putting in the time to create a more book-like organization and flow is more appreciated by the market and perceived as a thing of value. In my experience, turning a lot of chunks into something bigger is often more work than it looks like going in but it may still be worth it in the end for the improved product.
 
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I recommend going with the cohesive arc.

A lot of people online these days have taken the approach of turning blog posts into books, for example - a common complaint you'll see in reviews these days is that it read like a bunch of blog posts, and the readers seem to feel somewhat robbed in these cases. I've felt somewhat the same at times.

I don't think this is just a case of feeling like they could have gotten the info free (a book compilation of posts is still more convenient to read); I think it just contrasts with the experience you expect when reading a book and falls kind of flat. You expect a book to take you on a journey of sorts.

So from what I can see, putting in the time to create a more book-like organization and flow is more appreciated by the market and perceived as a thing of value. In my experience, turning a lot of chunks into something bigger is often more work than it looks like going in but it may still be worth it in the end for the improved product.
Yeah, I can see that, and I think that’s @Readerly ’s thinking too.

My thinking is to go with the simpler option first maybe, of collecting all the relevant posts and stories that help people get started, and then maybe bash them into shape.
 

njord

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I would definly go for approach 2 a story is much more engaging then book with full with random threads.

A good example i read recently would be the miracle morning where the writer writes how he went from everything to almost nothing in one accident and after that managed to get everything back again.
This was his intro in his book, then he proceeds to tell you the lessions he learnt in doing so and the hole concept of the "miracle morning"

I for one have a short attention span if people cant explain things engagingly or interestingly im gone :p

Plus I've created so many threads now I'm losing track of them all and have even duplicated threads without realising.
=> when you know you have posted to many threads :rofl:
 

BTR

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@Andy Black and I have been discussing the overall plan for the book. I've suggested 2 basic approaches:

Approach 1: Have the book be more "aphoristic." By that, I mean a series of short essays that are more or less copies of your best forum posts with some light editing for clarity and flow. The narrative thread (the story of your brand) would't be as emphasized. Readers could read the book straight through from cover-to-cover. But it would feel less like a journey. It wouldn't have as strong of a story arc to it. Alternatively, readers could jump in randomly for nuggets of wisdom that float within the book more or less independently. It would be organized loosely by theme.

Approach 2: Give the book a stronger narrative spine. We would organize the "essays" into more coherent chapters. The chapters would flow like a story, taking the reader on a journey. The story would emphasize the step-by-step process. The reader's transformation through the process would be more explicit. This approach will require more work--more editing to make the pieces (your posts) fit better together and flow more coherently.

Here's what the chapter breakdown might look like for Approach 2:

Foreword [by MJ DeMarco?]

Chapter 1: Introduction

This is the TL;DR version of the whole book. It also emphasizes what's at stake. It answers the "Who cares?" and "So what?" questions for your target reader.

Chapter 2: Andy's Origin Story

Chapter 3: Detail the Problem

Chapter 4: Overview of the Plan


[Introduce the four steps to the plan
  1. Find out what people want.
  2. Find out if you can sell it to them.
  3. Find out if you can make a profit.
  4. Do it.]
Chapter 5: Plan Step 1

[Find out what people want.]

Chapter 6: Plan Step 2

[Find out if you can sell it to them.]

Chapter 7: Plan Step 3

[Find out if you can make a profit.]

Chapter 8: Plan Step 4

[Do it.]

Chapter 9: What Success Looks Like

Chapter 10: Conclusion


[summarize the whole journey; invites readers to get in touch, offer them something else of value beyond the book]

I think Approach 1 would be easier. We could bang it out more quickly. But I believe Approach 2 would have a bigger audience, one including but expanding beyond Andy's forum fans.

Andy is leaning toward Approach 1.

Which book would you prefer?
Definitely Approach 2 is better for a book. It sounds like Approach 1 is just replacing reading through the posts in this forum with a book where its going to be the same, only in some order. I am not sure if there is much value in this approach.

Approach 2 however seems to have a structure. For readers whether they consciously look for it or not, a structure makes a lot of difference. Chapter order will make sense. It will flow.

There is a 'Save the Cat' structure for story telling that's used in screenwriting and for novels. There must be a tried and tested structure like that for non-fiction works also. I will see if I can find anything like that and post here.
 

njord

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There is a 'Save the Cat' structure for story telling that's used in screenwriting and for novels. There must be a tried and tested structure like that for non-fiction works also. I will see if I can find anything like that and post here.
@Readerly Answered this in his post on Sep 6, 2019
 

broswoodwork

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I like approach 2 as well, but I'd definitely buy an anthology. If the anthology flows in a slightly more disjointed and compartmentalized form of a longer narrative, that puts the idea spheres in proper business starting sequence, it's basically the same thing, right?

Edit: could always tie the short story segments together with a fictitious Rich Dad or pie shop owner. We budding entrepreneurs gobble that stuff up! ;)
 
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Readerly

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There is a 'Save the Cat' structure for story telling that's used in screenwriting and for novels. There must be a tried and tested structure like that for non-fiction works also. I will see if I can find anything like that and post here.
I'm a big fan of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat (also, Jessica Brody's follow-up, Save the Cat Writes a Novel).

Not sure, though, how Snyder's 15 story "beats" would work for a nonfiction book that's not emulating a novel. Worth considering, though.

Donald Miller's approach to plot is a bit more flexible, and clearly, geared toward the customer relationship.
 
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So @Andy Black, have any of these folks nudged you towards Approach 2?
Lol... of course. Got to listen to the market!

I must confess I don’t really understand what 2 means anyway so let’s not get hung up at this step.

What’s next?
 

Readerly

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Lol... of course. Got to listen to the market!

I must confess I don’t really understand what 2 means anyway so let’s not get hung up at this step.

What’s next?
Next is continuing to copy and paste your threads into the Scrivener project.

Then: read through and sort them into theme-based folders.

Then: Decide on Approach 1 or 2.

Sound good?
 

Bertram

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@Andy Black and I had a great Zoom session this week. A plan for executing the book is taking shape.

Right now, Andy's gathering together links to all the threads he's started here on the forum that are "authorial." By that, I mean threads where he posts an essay of sorts on a given topic, like "clarity of purpose." Then he responds to folks who reply to the original post. Often, Andy's thoughtful responses are just as valuable as the original post.

He's listed all these links in a Google Sheet. I've been going down the list, opening the relevant threads, and copy and pasting his essays into Scrivener.

If you're not familiar, Scrivener is a word-processor designed for producing longer works, like books. It lets you organize the chunks of your projects easily, then shuffle them around, as needed. It also lets you add supporting material like notes, front and back matter, research, etc. When it's time to publish, you "compile" only the text meant for the finished book into the format you want, like pdf, rtf, mobi, or epub.

Here's a screenshot of the project so far:

View attachment 27194

Anybody else use Scrivener? What do you like about it? I'm new to it, so I'm trying to pick up some tips.

On Wednesday, Andy and I started sussing out the basic structure of the book. To do this, we tried an experiment.

Are you familiar with Donald Miller and StoryBrand? I've read a lot of books on marketing and copywriting. This one stands out. Part of why it resonates for me is that I write fiction too. I love how Miller demonstrates how marketing copy is fundamentally storytelling.

(Donald Miller, Building a Story Brand, p. 20)

One of the sly genius moves of this book is that he practices what he preaches. Even though it's nonfiction, the book itself is "plotted" using the same method he teaches for copywriting. That got me thinking. Maybe we could plot Andy's book using Miller's method.

In the book, Miller gives a worksheet to develop a story for any brand, product, or service. I walked Andy through the StoryBrand worksheet and wrote down his answers. Out of this process, a structure and theme for the book started to take shape.

View attachment 27195

Here's a sample of the answers Andy came up with:

A character

small business owners, tradesmen, solopreneurs, skilled people who want to go freelance, students, freelancers trying to advance, biz owners trying to figure out new products or services to offer, or where to open a new store

What do they want?

They want an answer to this question: How do I reach the people who want what I offer and who have money in hand?

Has a problem (3 levels: external, internal, and philosophical)

overthinking, "I have this great idea", building stuff, "I'm good at this or I love doing this, so that's what I'm going to sell", perfectionism, working inside an echo chamber with no feedback

Villain

"marketers" giving misleading advice
Google (if you don't know what you're doing)

External

I don't know what to sell.
I don't know how to sell.
I don't know where to start.
I'm wasting money.
I'm wasting time.

Internal

It has to be perfect before I put it out there.
I only have one shot, the "launch."
Naivete -- I have this great idea.
Self-doubt -- I'm not enough. I need to learn more.

Philosophical

When your goal is to help somebody, all the other stuff just disappears.
You can get out of your own way and start the journey.

And needs a guide (this is Andy)
empathy


I've had all the same problems.
I've been through the journey.

authority

employee for lots of jobs
self-employed for 20 years
IT contractor
trained dozens in Google Ads, specialist to freelancers
managed a team of 35 AdWords specialists, 120,000 Euros a day ad spend
helped to build 120,000,000 keywords and ads
TFLF member for 5.5 years, posted over 8000 times, 2500+ PMs, moderator
helped hundreds of entrepreneurs and people starting out

Who gives them a plan
Process


Whatever you plan is or where you're at in your business journey, I'll help you get started.

4 Steps:
  1. You'll learn how to use a tool to find out what people are looking for (what they want). This tool could be Google Ads, forums, or "diesel and coffee."
  2. You'll learn ways to sell it to them.
  3. You'll learn ways to find out if you can make a profit doing it.
  4. You'll do it.
Agreement

(Not really applicable at this point for a book. This usually pertains to money-back guarantees and other ways sellers reduce the risk of buying.)

And calls them to action
Direct


(NA. Again, this is more pertinent to sales pages and pitches. In the book, the call to action would be to act on what you, the reader, are learning.)

Transitional

(NA. An example of this would be a "lead magnet," a free downloadable pdf on a sales page to get a prospect's email address.)

That ends in a success

You'll be able to help other people.
You'll be able to get paid for it.
You'll have a quiet confidence to do stuff.
Your mindset will be: "I'm good enough to go do stuff."

Before your brand, After your brand

What do they (the reader) have?

before: boring job, a good (but untested) idea, stagnant or inconsistent sales, no sales
after: You'll know whether your idea needs a bullet or not (as in, to be put out of its misery). You'll have a plan of action. You'll have real-time market research.

What are they feeling?
before: frustrated, stuck, confused, worried (Will it cost a lot?), anxious, overwhelmed, now knowing where to start
after: clarity of purpose, having lots of aha! moments, clarity of vision, clarity of action, free

What's an average day like?
before: doing lots of stuff, not making any progress, wondering when it will ever work, jumping from thing to thing, thinking I don't know enough
after: helping people and it doesn't feel like work, chatting to people, that first sale, getting that first impression/click/inquiry about this new product/service

What is their status?
before: feel like a wantrapreneur
after: a successful entrepreneur

That helps them avoid failure

spending time, money, and effort on some business idea and it failing
never getting started
felling like you're not enough, constantly studying, building things with no results

Character transformation
From


being stuck, feeling not good enough, desperate, rushing around worrying about the future

To

having the self-confidence in your own ability, the peace of mind to ______, not rushing around, enjoying the present moment

[end]

We could distill these answers into a book jacket blurb. But the main thing now is to keep this story in mind as we set out to organize Andy's material into the book.
I think Scrivener is fantastic for outlining booklength projects. I can use it to brainstorm fiction and nonfiction to the smallest details.
Do keep backup copies of the program as well as your project. If it ever crashes your Scrivener manuscript files will spinter into a total debris field. Devastation.
Donald Miller is a fine coach and has much to say about brand development. He tells a new version of his memoirs ever few years. Many established readers respond with disappointment and boredom.
Andy, heed my words:
RUN AWAY.
Miller is oversimplistic and highly under-educated regarding the elements of storytelling and narrative theory.
RUN AWAY.
Yes, he can identify the gross details of a story and sort the contents into categories like character, villain, authority, but here's the tragic secret. Since there is no counter-argument then of course you'll start thinking it's the only way to develop your content and parse it out into these all-too-familiar dynamics.
DON'T DO THIS!
Why?
DON'T!
But why?
Because your content will lose richness. Your narrative is already far more controlled and sophisticated, and therefore much, much more interesting and capable of surprising your reader than a Miller approach. Donald Miller's method can teach 4th graders how to create a story. The method can help you tease out ad content and storyboard an idea. You know and I know that commercial writing almost always has a lifeless aspect to it.
Miller's single essentialized formula will deaden your creativity.
His boring structure is just one of 56 basic storytelling formulas found in use cross-culturally.
OK, you're going to ignore me and go with it anyway because it's a playful exercise. Fine, be that way, it's a free country, but at lease limit it to one, single storyboarding exercise.
Then cut loose.
Unless you content is truly revolutionary, following a formula to generate content full content is going to be as inspirational as reciting arithmetic.
You're.
Better than this.
Much better.

Andy, you don't need a book of writing rules to follow, not one bit, especially when you've not even drafted and read your full first manuscript.

Don't ever let an ad writer talk you into thinking that you don't know how to write and must therefore buy his books.
AVOID HIS BRAIN-DEAD PARADIGMS.
 
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Readerly

Yes and
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2017
180
309
177
Portland, Oregon
I think Scrivener is fantastic for outlining booklength projects. I can use it to brainstorm fiction and nonfiction to the smallest details.
Do keep backup copies of the program as well as your project. If it ever crashes your Scrivener manuscript files will spinter into a total debris field. Devastation.
Donald Miller is a fine coach and has much to say about brand development. He tells a new version of his memoirs ever few years. Many established readers respond with disappointment and boredom.
Andy, heed my words:
RUN AWAY.
Miller is oversimplistic and highly under-educated regarding the elements of storytelling and narrative theory.
RUN AWAY.
Yes, he can identify the gross details of a story and sort the contents into categories like character, villain, authority, but here's the tragic secret. Since there is no counter-argument then of course you'll start thinking it's the only way to develop your content and parse it out into these all-too-familiar dynamics.
DON'T DO THIS!
Why?
DON'T!
But why?
Because your content will lose richness. Your narrative is already far more controlled and sophisticated, and therefore much, much more interesting and capable of surprising your reader than a Miller approach. Donald Miller's method can teach 4th graders how to create a story. The method can help you tease out ad content and storyboard an idea. You know and I know that commercial writing almost always has a lifeless aspect to it.
Miller's single essentialized formula will deaden your creativity.
His boring structure is just one of 56 basic storytelling formulas found in use cross-culturally.
OK, you're going to ignore me and go with it anyway because it's a playful exercise. Fine, be that way, it's a free country, but at lease limit it to one, single storyboarding exercise.
Then cut loose.
Unless you content is truly revolutionary, following a formula to generate content full content is going to be as inspirational as reciting arithmetic.
You're.
Better than this.
Much better.

Andy, you don't need a book of writing rules to follow, not one bit, especially when you've not even drafted and read your full first manuscript.

Don't ever let an ad writer talk you into thinking that you don't know how to write and must therefore buy his books.
AVOID HIS BRAIN-DEAD PARADIGMS.
Strong opinions about Donald Miller!

Not to worry, though, the "epic" plot is just a basic scaffold on which to array the flesh of the narrative. There's still plenty of flexibilty for originality.

Further, much of the vitality in a book comes from the voice of the narrator. Wouldn't you agree?

Andy's got that in spades.

If you're curious about my take on imaginative conventions, check this out (I wrote it):

https://www.popmatters.com/a-brief-lesson-on-poetry-for-physicists-2495444247.html
 
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Bertram

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Strong opinions about Donald Miller!

Not to worry, though, the "epic" plot is just a basic scaffold on which to array the flesh of the narrative. There's still plenty of flexibilty for originality.

Further, much of the vitality in a book comes from the voice of the narrator. Wouldn't you agree?

Andy's got that in spades.

If you're curious about my take on imaginative conventions, check this out (I wrote it):

https://www.popmatters.com/a-brief-lesson-on-poetry-for-physicists-2495444247.html
Creative life is too short for moderate advice.
I think Andy's epic hero's journey is a combination of the Old Testament David and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Miller's approach is too simplistic to be able to integrate the two.

Both epic journeys (Biblical Male and original Babylonian/Iraqi Male) are foundations of Western culture. The very same epic structure shows up in both! The seven steps include meeting one's (male) peer and very first best friend. Next, the epic hero and peer have casual competition with one another, for example wrestling. Think of Robinson Crusoe and Friday. Think of Mark Twain and Huck Finn. Homer and Achilles. Here the best friend teaches a unique attitude to the hero by beating him in sport with a wrestler's trick. With street wisdom. The hero learns humility, to take things in stride, and that there's much he doesn't know about life, so he needs to get a clue. These are extraordinarily valuable realizations for anyone, but imagine their importance to a larger-than-life epic hero!

Anyway this is just one out of seven steps in the (male) hero's journey over a 6000 year cultural mindset. The female epic journey is actually far different. An epic journey crosses the lifespan but also is about the complete growth of the self.

These paradigms show up everywhere in society.
"The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels," by Alexander Haidel, is a foundational book on understanding the meaning and major structures of epic narrative for anyone curious to know more.
So yes it's true, I have a nice strong opinion about what Miller presents, because it's frankly misleading and even impedes good creative writing.
Why?
Because he covers 2% of the information that is available to anyone halfway interested in the subject. He encourages shallow, limited narrative experiences.
Miller's books also don't sell all that well anymore, now that he follows his own formulas.

Someone once said that listening to a really good performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony should be in some respects as exhilerating as a roller coaster ride - in a classic wooden roller coaster. How so?
It's because the thrilling thought that the coaster wheels are stressed almost too far and could leave the rails and pitch you into thin air - which you know that won't happen - is what demonstrates how ingenious the invention is.
And if a Beethoven performance doesn't take you to that thinnest edge of uncertainty, because its dynamics were too uninspired and too predictable, or because the conductor just used trendy tastes, you've missed out as the audience.

The same holds true with any kind of substantial book. A perfect examp!e is the sense of uncertainty a reader has while reading Malcolm Gladwell, or rather following his epic journey to answer a single question over the course of an entire book.
The work is best received when there are risky, impromptu departures. One of the reasons why Demarco writes works of genius is because he writes similarly through a deep epic journey and takes phenomenal risks. Like Gladwell he makes the reader pause a moment and then commit to reading further. Ingenious. Jared Diamond does it too. If you are capable of it, as Andy clearly is, don't ever pass up on the chance to write THAT kind of book.

Another point to consider. Never give readers what you know they want to read. Give them what you know they need to read.

You ask in a post here somewhere just who do I think is reading this. How dare I lecture, etc. The readers who will value this content are always beyond you and me.
 
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Readerly

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Creative life is too short for moderate advice.
I think Andy's epic hero's journey is a combination of the Old Testament David and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Miller's scheme is too simplistic to compare the two.
Both epic journeys include the developmental lesson of meeting one's (male) peer and very first best friend. Next, the epic hero and peer have casual competition with one another, for example wrestling. The best friend teaches a unique attitude to the hero by beating him with a wrestler's trick. With street wisdom. The hero learns humility, to take things in stride, and that there's much he doesn't. These are extraordinarily valuable realizations for anyone, but imagine their importance to an epic hero!
Anyway this is just one out of seven steps in the (male) hero's journay. The female epic journey is actually a bit different. The journey crosses the lifespan but also is about the complete growth of the self.
These paradigms, which afe 6000 years old, show up everywhere in society.
"The Gilgamesh Epic and Old Testament Parallels," by Alexander Haidel, is a foundational book on understanding the meaning and major structures of epic narrative. Yes, I have a nice strong opinion about what Miller presents because it's frankly misleading and even impedes good creative writing. Why? Because he covers 2% of the information and encourages shallow, limited narrative experiences. Miller's books don't sell all that well anymore, now that he follows his own formulas.Miller's
Someone once said that listening to a really good performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony should be in some respects as exhileratinv as a roller coaster rise - in a classic wooden roller coaster. Why? Because the thrilling thought that the coaster wheels stressed almost too far could leave the rails and pitch you into thin air, which you know that won't happen, is what demonstrates how ingenious the invention is. And if the performance doesn't take you thers because its dynamic were uninspired and predictable and just used trendy tastes, you've missed out as the audience.And the same holds true with any kind of b
To be honest, your response rambles. It's hard to follow. Some punctuation would be most appreciated. Also, it'd be nice if you made an effort to find out who you're lecturing to.

Did Donald seduce your wife or something? You really seem to have it out for the guy.
 

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To be honest, your response rambles. It's hard to follow. Some punctuation would be most appreciated. Also, it'd be nice if you made an effort to find out who you're lecturing to.

Did Donald seduce your wife or something? You really seem to have it out for the guy.
The keyboard usually obscures the text as I type and the backspace key adds blank spaces where none should go. The end result is that I have to prune and mow over typos a few times immediately after posting my reply, as I am now doing. The final edit and proofread will clean up well. In this case, the dicey keyboard caused me to post my reply before I was finished and had edited it.
I find other members here proofread and edit their replies multiple times after posting so I guess premature posting is a common glitch. Nothing to worry about. Maybe the scholarly reference is distasteful to some. But I know a couple of people here are going to look for the book! One of the best books for serious writers and other curious people.

I have no antipathy towards Miller whatsoever. I admire him for being introspective and prolific. My warnings have value to other real writers, and you as well, maybe in spite of your being too tired to read me for now.
No offense taken.
 
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Worth rewatching this (it's only 2 mins) and was my very first talking head video, way back in Jan 2016:

View: https://youtu.be/mUs5Gowvnhc


My goal is to help people, NOT to "write a book". A book is just another way HOW to help people. Even when writing a book there's many ways HOW to accomplish something. Let's not get hung up on the HOW, and just figure out who we're helping, why they need the help, and the best way to help them.
 

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The keyboard usually obscures the text as I type and the backspace key adds blank spaces where none should go. The end result is that I have to prune and mow over typos a few times immediately after posting my reply, as I am now doing. The final edit and proofread will clean up well. In this case, the dicey keyboard caused me to post my reply before I was finished and had edited it.
I find other members here proofread and edit their replies multiple times after posting so I guess premature posting is a common glitch. Nothing to worry about. Maybe the scholarly reference is distasteful to some. But I know a couple of people here are going to look for the book! One of the best books for serious writers and other curious people.

I have no antipathy towards Miller whatsoever. I admire him for being introspective and prolific. My warnings have value to other real writers, and you as well, maybe in spite of your being too tired to read me for now.
No offense taken.
Just please consider this with an open mind:

Some folks are sitting around a table, having a pleasant, productive conversation. One person says the other, "I like pomegranates. You're looking for advice on what to use in your recipe for a dinner you're making. I recommend adding pomegranates to your recipe. Here are the reasons...etc."

Another person comes up to the table and sits down. It's a big, round table, so there's room for everyone. The others welcome the new person.

Then the person blurts out, "POMEGRANATES ARE SHITE. DON'T EVER USE POMEGRANATES."

Now, how do you think the person who is asking for the advice, as well as the person who is giving the advice, are going to feel about this?

With all due respect, we're people here in the forum, not just foils for your opinions.

Also, it's not that I'm against scholarly references. If you took the time to notice--if you were genuinely curious--you'd learn that I'm actually a former scholar.

We could have had an interesting conversation about genre theory. Instead, I got lectured at by someone who comes off as a pedant from a Plautus comedy.
 

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Just please consider this with an open mind:

Some folks are sitting around a table, having a pleasant, productive conversation. One person says the other, "I like pomegranates. You're looking for advice on what to use in your recipe for a dinner you're making. I recommend adding pomegranates to your recipe. Here are the reasons...etc."

Another person comes up to the table and sits down. It's a big, round table, so there's room for everyone. The others welcome the new person.

Then the person blurts out, "POMEGRANATES ARE SHITE. DON'T EVER USE POMEGRANATES."

Now, how do you think the person who is asking for the advice, as well as the person who is giving the advice, are going to feel about this?

With all due respect, we're people here in the forum, not just foils for your opinions.

Also, it's not that I'm against scholarly references. If you took the time to notice--if you were genuinely curious--you'd learn that I'm actually a former scholar.
Plautus would have burst out laughing.
@Readerly, funny you bring up table manners.
You ridicule and attack a forum member ("did he make a move on your wife?", "try just once to have an open mind") because you're inconvenienced by their warning not to use very bad advice. Miller's advice for writers is equivalent to cooking with pomegranetes harvested at Chernobyl.

Why do you need anyone to look you up before posting replies here (to others)?
Are you a child-emperor?

Not sure where you got the impression that I wasn't addressing Andy but was instead "lecturing" you. That's still no excuse for rudeness.

Sorry as well, no can do, I won't quest through Google to learn who you are and then adjust my sunny smile to a mien. That result would also be highly unlikely.

EDIT: Guess what. I did check. Are you kidding me? You're just a puppy.

@Readerly I can definitely help you write better and compose stronger books. Now wouldn't you like that?
 
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Plautus would have burst out laughing.
@Readerly, funny you bring up table manners.
You ridicule and attack the worth and integrity of a forum member ("did he make a move on your wife?", "try just once to have an open") because you're inconvenienced by their warning not to use pretty bad advice. Miller's advice for writers is equivalent to cooking with pomegranetes harvested at Chernobyl.

Why do you need anyone to look you up before posting replies here (to others)?
Are you a child-emporer?

Not sure where you got the impression that I wasn't addressing Andy but was instead "lecturing" you. But that's still no excuse for rudeness.

Sorry as well, no can do, I won't quest through Google to learn who you are and then adjust my sunny smile to a mien. That would also be highly unlikely.

EDIT: Guess what. I did check. Are you kidding me? You're just a puppy.

@Readerly I can definitely help you write better and compose stronger books. Now wouldn't you like that?
I'll pass. Thanks. You can keep your gift.
 

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I'll pass. Thanks. You can keep your gift.
Little Troll, that is an observation. Not an invitation.
Come on, no more sniping.
The people need us.
Andy can produce a true NYT bestseller here, not a little zombie clone.

To advance the writing discussion here, someone asked what it is about Andy's writing that makes it very engaging.
The answer is that it's the author's relationship to his subject. In this case, the theme of giving first intrigues and motivates Andy. His 'voice' expresses this feeling.
Think of voice as one aspect of expression.
When a story sounds flat and almost pointless, reconsider what it means to write it, and what it means for you, of all people, to write this.
There. You're an even better storyteller now.
 

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Little Troll, that is an observation. Not an invitation.
Come on, no more sniping.
The people need us.
Andy can produce a true NYT bestseller here, not a little zombie clone.

To advance the writing discussion here, someone asked what it is about Andy's writing that makes it very engaging.
The answer is that it's the author's relationship to his subject. In this case, the theme of giving first intrigues and motivates Andy. His 'voice' expresses this feeling.
Think of voice as one aspect of expression.
When a story sounds flat and almost pointless, reconsider what it means to write it, and what it means for you, of all people, to write this.
There. You're an even better storyteller now.
Please. I'm asking nicely. Sincerely. Stop.
 

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Andy your posts remind me of simplifying concepts that others would feel obligated to make overly complex.

i.e. What's my business plan? No, just launch and learn.

So maybe an overarching theme could be "back to basics"?

Business: Back to Basics by Andy Black
 
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someone asked what it is about Andy's writing that makes it very engaging.
The answer is that it's the author's relationship to his subject. In this case, the theme of giving first intrigues and motivates Andy. His 'voice' expresses this feeling.
Interesting. It’s true, and I hadn’t really thought about it.

I am indeed intrigued by the difference between the results givers and takers get (as defined by the audio book I’m listening to that I think is called “Givers and Takers”).

I like pushing the free boundary to prove it works, and to show people it works.
 
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Andy your posts remind me of simplifying concepts that others would feel obligated to make overly complex.

i.e. What's my business plan? No, just launch and learn.

So maybe an overarching theme could be "back to basics"?

Business: Back to Basics by Andy Black
Thanks. I like simplifying things. The less words to get the point across the better. I’m fascinated by what resonates with people and gives them the aha moment.

I think it I heard from @eliquid that we turn prospects into clients when we give them an aha moment.

If someone gets an aha moment in the first page then job done. I’ve put books down after reading the preface because I got an aha moment and wanted to implement immediately.

When I was learning to ride a motorbike I struggled with the u-turn. The instructor finally told me to get on he back while he did a u-turn. Aha! I got it.

He then told me he had about 6 ways of explaining how to do the u-turn, and each person learns it differently. It just so happened the first 5 didn’t work with me and the last resort was for me to get on the back and experience it.

I like short books. I’d like mine to be no fluff and for people to not finish it because they got an aha moment and put it down to go implement.
 

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Yeah, I can see that, and I think that’s @Readerly ’s thinking too.

My thinking is to go with the simpler option first maybe, of collecting all the relevant posts and stories that help people get started, and then maybe bash them into shape.
Andy, I help a lot of authors with developmental editing. You may end up creating a great deal of extra work for yourself by just using serendipity to gather your materials. Some authors get bogged down for several years doing this and make absolutely no progress.
Coming up with a single, specific question will speed up the process. Even if you stick with the first proposed format of collected essays, you should organize the sifting and gathering to answer that question, along with ideas that branch off it. Whether it's an essay or essay sequence or a series of chapters, your readers need a sense of forward momentum. All you need to do is come up with a question (done) and explain why it is important (done) and then go in search of the answer, preferably delivered in increments along the way. The quest for the answer should take the reader on several very interesting detours. This is where serendipity and reflection will best serve you. Even the author needs to be surprised by a fresh view, an unexpected sight.
Three excellent practitioners of this technique, writing a book about answering a single question, are Malcolm Gladwell, David Sedaris and Jonathan Franzen. These very different writers have perfected exactly the same method. I find it to be the easiest way to integrate new and old material. For one thing, it's fun to allow yourself to seek the answer far and wide.
Good luck as you go.
 
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All you need to do is come up with a question (done) and explain why it is important (done) and then go in search of the answer, preferably delivered in increments along the way. The quest for the answer should take the reader on several very interesting detours.
That’s why I create so much content in forums. Someone asks a question and I try to answer it. If I had a blog then I wouldn’t be able to create anywhere near as much content.

I’ve also noticed I start answering and don’t know where it will go myself. That happened in my Snapchat videos too, and I even did a video about it. It’s like mathematical equations where you just focus on going from one logical statement to the next. If each step makes sense then you arrive at a conclusion.
 

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