The First Word
Developing a smart book structure is a consistent theme in the work we do at Winning Edits. One author we're working with now has impressive domain knowledge, but his manuscript conveying that knowledge skips and jumps from idea to idea. It lacks flow, energy, and (ultimately) influence because it lacks structure. (We're working on that.)
Good structure is hard to craft, and is vastly important because of it. Sally Kerrigan describes how one might work toward meaningful structure in her A List Apart article, featured below. The salient point is clear: writing is thinking. And complete writing is complete thinkingâ€”finding connections among ideas and weaving them together so that the reader can easily follow in your cognitive footsteps. Anything less is incomplete, which is to say unfinished and likely disappointing.
This illustration, originally by Hugh MacLeod, captures the essence perfectly.
Authors and editors must embrace the struggle of giving form to an otherwise messy blob of ideas if the desired outcomeâ€”a convincing and satisfying bookâ€”is to be attained. There's no real magic in this, just the dogged application of skill and goodwill.
Thanks for reading!
Founder, Winning Edits