Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The process of writing a book

I've just read two great articles about the process of writing multiple-discipline books. One was penned by Steven Johnson, a six-time author who writes books about multiple disciplines and traces patterns over many different topics. This seems a lot like the kind of book I would like to someday write.

He mentions a writing tool named Devonthink which sounds incredible. My blog has been a sort of extended memory for myself. It allows me to write down tidbits of information; small pieces of a larger puzzle. I hope to someday connect them into a cohesive form that pierces the darkness of confusion and ignorance that I confront when I look at the future.

Thats essentially what this is about: predicting the future with greater accuracy.

But I'm digressing; this article mentioned a great tool where the author can put any sort of text file or snippet from online and dump in into this program which keeps track of everything. Then he can sort it or let the program do it for him. Lastly, it can compile all the text into one giant document.

I thought that was really cool. Right now with my blog all I can do is write down ideas and categorize them. This takes it one step further. Or two or three. But it also gave me hope for someday writing a book or novel that brings together all sorts of different concepts in a fiction form.

One idea I was just exploring is the concept of obsession, how people can spiral out of control and focus on one thing to the exclusion of all others and how that manifests itself. Also how competition drives people.

The Emperor from the movie Gladiator is protrayed as a bad guy. He has pride, passion, etc., and is possibly malicious. I'd like to focus on a story from his perspective. How he starts out trying his harding and wanting to do his best to please people but is consistently villainized and placed lower and lower. He is belittled despite his best efforts and a favorite son who is sort of a James Bond/Hero type succeeds with little apparent effort.

And while JB is succeeding easily, the hero is working very, very hard. And when he still fails it twists him and embitters him to where he just wants to hurt those around him. And the whole focus is on how he wanted to do well but kept failing and placed so much pressure on himself that he self destructed and emerged a totally different person.

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