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Requisite procedural insight

April 1, 2010

I’ve talked plenty about my research for this book, plumbing the depths of out-of-print zines and interviewing everyone I can find with anything remotely relevant to say. But as that process starts to dovetail with the actual composition of the book, I figured I’d give a little insight into how I’m actually writing the thing.

I have a very loose outline of how I expect the narrative to unfold. The research I’ve done so far has mostly been contextual stuff, so not much of it has found its way into the outline (I do have some actual manuscript written from this stuff, but I’ll get to that in a second). Basically, my primary (but not my only) goal for this first round of interviews is to piece together the framework of the story. The beginning, middle and end.

From there, whenever I do an interview, I can go through the recording and slot each piece into the appropriate part of the story, fleshing out this narrative skeleton. As the story takes shape, the interviews then become more focused; with specific holes to fill, I can be much more particular with my questions. This is why it’s important to write while I still have such easy access to the people I’m writing about. As long as I stay on top of things, this book will pretty much write itself.

As for the actual writing part, that will mostly come once the outline is much more substantial than it is now, or at least when chunks of it are. For now, I’ve seldom had the spark to sit down and write a few pages at a time. But for one such spark (which I can’t talk about now but will be able to soon), the pieces of the actual manuscript have come when I’ve been struck by a few paragraphs or even half a sentence, in the middle of something completely unrelated to this project (I’m at my pithiest in the shower and my most romantic just after I’ve turned the lights out for bed). So, for now, it’s just bits and pieces of wit and sentiment, some (and possibly all) of which I’ll end up discarding.

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