It’s been awhile since my last blog post here because I’ve been busy teaching a college night class that just wrapped up. Now that I have my free time back to dedicate to this project, you should be hearing a bit more from me. After a couple months off from writing, I’m rededicating myself to getting a book proposal ready.
I admit that I’ve been a bit stuck with the narrative of this book. My first book, which was quite different, was a lot easier for me to conceptualize. With this book, however, I find myself really struggling with how to best tell this story. I’ve been trying to just get words down on the page in an attempt to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
My biggest problem has been muddling through whether the book should be largely thematic or chronological. Currently, I think my chronological sections are a drag. Both Railroad Jack and Owney traveled extensively and in my research, I’ve closely tracked who is where when. This in important information, of course, but I don’t want it to read like, “Jack went to Buffalo, then he went to Chicago, and then he went back to Buffalo” (that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you see the problem, right?). Currently, I’m thinking of focusing more on thematic chapters (dog shows, imposters, tramping, etc.) and including a section that has an annotated chronology. That way, you still get all of the information, but the storytelling and interesting anecdotes are foregrounded and I can more easily draw parallels between the two dogs and other famous canines.
I also want to be very mindful of what my readers might like to see. This is where you come in. I’m curious what you like in nonfiction books. What don’t you like? Are there certain nonfiction authors you particularly like? Are you put off by books where the author uses first person and details some of the research process (I personally love this and am trying to do some of it in the book). Where appropriate, do you like history books that are funny (think kind of like Sarah Vowell). What would you want to know if you were reading a book about famous dogs?
Thanks in advance for your comments and help! I so greatly appreciate everyone’s support for this project since the start.