Project progress: 3 rules that are helping to shape my book

Just a taste of what I'm dealing with. Here's a very small part of my library of quotes curated from my survey on unconventional relationships. (Click to enlarge)
Just a taste of what I’m dealing with. Here’s a very small part of my library of quotes curated from my survey on unconventional relationships. (Click to enlarge)

I’ve been busy, busy, busy revising my original manuscript for the first book in the Off the Escalator series — slimming it down from a gargantuan 105,000 words to around 60-70,000 words. For awhile I was really struggling with how to do this, especially how to better manage integrating quotes curated from over 1000 surveys.

But I think I’ve got a handle on those problems, and I’m making tons of progress.

Keep in mind: I have a categorized library of thousands of quotes from surveys, and that’s just the stuff that was good enough that I thought I might want to use it! Picking and choosing from that wealth to explain, succinctly, the various ways that people go about stepping off the Relationship Escalator, is daunting. My first draft had waaaaaaaaayyyyy too many quotes.

Initially I was seeking the help of an editor to revise the book. But as I continued working on this project, I found 3 very simple rules that have helped immensely in making this book flow well, while including a diversity of voices and views:

  1. No chapter more than 2000 words long.
  2. No more than two quotes in a row without some transitional text.
  3. End each chapter with an extended quote (a few paragraphs), which gives me a chance to present a little more storytelling and personal voice.

And it seems to be working! I’m thrilled with how the manuscript is shaping up since I started following these rules. I just keep reminding myself: my cutting room floor is my factory floor. Every bit of good content will get used, somehow. If not in the initial book, then in subsequent books or on this website.

Oh yeah, this website! While I’m focusing on editing, producing and publishing the book, I’m not really taking the time to write many blog posts. But I do want to give you a taste of what’s to come. So for a while, I’ll be posting here some excerpts from the book-in-progress, or some of my favorite quotes from the survey.

What would you like to hear more about, related to unconventional relationships? Parenting? Communication? Sex? Accommodating differences? Dealing with stigma? Making the world a friendlier place for unconventional relationships? Anything you’re curious about, I guarantee someone discussed it in my survey. Please comment below or e-mail me to let me know what interests you, and I’ll do a blog post about it.

Aggie

Amy Gahran is a longtime journalist, writer and editor based in Boulder, CO. She wrote the blog SoloPoly.net under the pen name "Aggie Sez," and she also co-moderates the Solo Polyamory group on Facebook. Her "Off the Escalator" series of books grew from a 2012 post in SoloPoly about the Relationship Escalator.

3 thoughts on “Project progress: 3 rules that are helping to shape my book

  1. I’d definitely like to hear more about parenting. Also, kind of specifics-side stuff about communication. You always hear ‘communication is very important’, but not necessarily how people actually *do* it.

    1. Thanks, Inge. I’ve had a couple requests about parenting and unconventional relationships, so I’ll move that up in the queue. For both parenting and communication, I identified several sub-themes in my survey responses. Look these over and let me know if any sub-themes in particular interest you, that’ll make it easier for me to decide what to post about.

      And here’s my complete list of themes and sub-themes identified in the over 1000 survey responses I’ve analyzed so far.

      PARENTING:
      wants/might want kids, options for how
      I was raised in nonmonogamous household
      does NOT want kids
      undecided re kids
      examples Off-Escalator parenting
      quotes advantages of Off-Escalator parenting
      drawbacks, risks, problems w/ Off-Escalator parenting
      drawbacks of traditional parenting
      questions, considerations re Off-Escalator parenting
      observations about Off-Escalator parenting
      creating a friendlier world for unconventional relationships via parenting
      do the kids know?
      non-parent roles that adults can have re kids

      COMMUNICATION:

      benefits of communication
      failed/avoided communication
      skills communication
      risks & problems of communication
      communicating with others about unconventional relationships
      helping others via communication
      communication is overrated
      ▾ communication is more work
      – more work good
      – more work bad

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