Friday, October 31, 2008


This is very useful, Julie.

We have spoken about this, as you know. I like to do enough research ahead of time (i.e. before a contract) so that at least I know pretty clearly what my chapters will be. After that, it's just full steam ahead basically doing first the research then the writing for each chapter, all within a specified schedule I give myself. I try to carve up the available time to the deadline so that each chapter has approximately the same amount of time to be finished. Occasionally, I get bogged down while writing a chapter and realize that more research must be done if I am to complete the chapter adequately. In this case, I again do the research then apply it to the writing and finish the chapter before moving on to the next one. I also try to obtain as many permissions as possible while doing each chapter so that nothing is left over at the end.

Although editing is certainly important later on, I probably do more than you do to get as close to a finished version as possible the first time I write. Technical editing for sure comes later. In terms of reading the literature I need for research, I too skim a lot and then read in depth what are the most important papers/books/articles. I usually keep them nearby when writing for handy reference. But then my stuff is more "textbooky" and technical than a bio. Being rushed is part of the experience, is it not!??


Many thanks for this. Now, what do you do when you're writing nonfiction? Please post your comments so everyone can see them here.