#006 - The non-fiction planning secret ...


As with Fiction writing, you need to plan your work and this requirement sounds quite reasonable. So, the next stage is simply to sit down, on your own, in a quiet place and start to plan!

Plan 'A' - This is normally the first plan and will incorporate two very important elements called Research and Confirmation. With the availability of the Internet and probably your very best friend 'Wikipedia', research nowadays is a piece of cake. However, confirming the correctness of all that you read about someone, or something on the Internet can be much more difficult and often very time consuming. If you were around in the 1950's BC (Before Computers) you may be used to having written files as your research output, resulting from daily visits to your local library (if you still have one). This being so, you need to keep two files; one being the subject research and the other being the confirmation research.

You may bless the day you heard of 'Plan A' when you are sitting in a courtroom somewhere, being asked awkward questions as to how you arrived at certain conclusions, now irrecoverably aired to a worldwide audience through the pages of your smash hit Biography ... Sid 'Safebreaker' Stevens - My Biggest Hauls.

If you did have the advantage of being born inside a reinforced software box, then you will need to stop laughing and do the same with the project folders on your hard drive, backed up of course on a zip drive or some such similar gadget.!

Plan 'B' - This is the second plan. If you are fortunate enough to be able to interview a celebrity such as Sid 'Safebreaker' Stevens ... or any of his offspring, for example, please ensure you ask permission to record all interviews. If the answer is Yes, record away but make sure you keep the original recordings safe and at the start of each recording tape, you will need to note verbally on the tape, the time, date, location of the interview, who the interview is between and if anyone else is present in the room. Make copies of the tapes and keep the originals safe, working off the copies for your manuscript.

With any type of factual work, you should employ both Plan 'A' and Plan 'B' in putting together the necessary research to provide your masterpiece with suitable impact. If your book is about sport, interview some sportsmen. If your book is about an historical figure, interview historians who are well informed on the subject matter. Quality research creates quality information, which in turn creates quality content delivered by quality writing. The decision is yours!