book writing/ half day seven

Today was a little period of review before Barbara left. We had the option of going through everything we’d written in some detail, or just doing a brief reprise. We opted for the latter, adding into the text the various things we’d need to find, or develop, in order to complete the section we’d done.

What happened next was a fine end to the writing. It was typical of the way we work really. From a chance remark, a bit of silly banter, came a new title, and a new angle for the whole book.

This kind of serendipity is one of the characteristics of our co writing – periods of silliness where we just play with ideas. We don’t try to do anything particularly, it’s not a we-must-now-be-creative-and spontaneous. But quite often, unexpected things do happen as a result of these conversations. It’s one of the benefits of having a co –writer, the dialogue. We often just chatter and in doing so, we come up with jokes, or little strings of words, or a new name for things – and these fit back into the work.

We’d been having trouble with the title. Our original version was a play on the notion of new writing basics. However the publisher already had a series called something rather like this, so we couldn’t use it…. We had to go back to the drawing board.

The thing about a title is that it orients not only the introduction but also the way in which some of the major bits of content are set up. So when we had to junk the idea of basics, we settled for something neutral and innocuous but we lost more than the title. We couldn’t really get the kind of angle that we would usually have to position our writing.

We got terribly excited about the new title this morning – it doesn’t seem to be one anyone else has used. I immediately emailed our publisher to check it out, but we also went back to the introduction we’d written on day one and rejigged it in the light of the potential new title. Ooh, indrawn breath.

This was a great way to round off the writing. We’re enthusiastic about how we can use the title and its new angle and now we just have to wait a bit to make sure that it’s acceptable to the publisher!

Fingers crossed.

About pat thomson

Pat Thomson is Professor of Education in the School of Education, The University of Nottingham, UK
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2 Responses to book writing/ half day seven

  1. Y. Prior says:

    Hope the new title is accepted – and I also enjoyed reading this post – with the way you shared about the chemistry you share with the co-writer – that is the kind of stuff that I think readers can also feel from books – it is subtle, but I think this kind of energy sometimes shows up in little ways.
    best wishes. 🙂


  2. Robyn Ward says:

    Thank you for sharing your writing process with Barbara. I enjoyed reading about the importance of talking and the role this seems to play in clarifying your thoughts and subsequently your work. Best wishes for the success of the new book.


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