Still making progress, even though I’ve been rather quiet about it. I’d hoped to be blogging more here, but it’s enough just to focus on finishing the editing process.
I’d originally hoped to publish this book by the end of 2015. The editing process is proving to be much more involved than I anticipated, and also life intervened. But I’m nearly done with this editing. Parts 1-5 are edited, I’m one chapter shy of editing Part 6, which will bring it to a total of 21 chapters edited so far. Part 7 will be 5-6 short-ish chapters, And then I need to write the front & back matter (introduction, epilogue, and resources). Then I’ll pack it up and it’ll be ready to go.
It’s been a long, long road for this book, but I’m very happy with how it’s turning out. My initial manuscript was a sprawling monster of about 120,000 words. Now the first 20 chapters (roughly 5/6 of the total final manuscript length, I’m guessing) is just shy of 47,000 words — and it’s much tighter, better organized, and easier to read. I estimate that when all is done, I’ll have the equivalent of about a 180-page print book.
What’s been finished so far? For a sneak preview, here’s the outline of the edited chapters…
Part 1: Riding the Relationship Escalator
- Ch. 1: Welcome to the Relationship Escalator
- Ch. 2: How Can You Tell If a Relationship Is on the Escalator?
- Ch. 3: What the Escalator Is Not
- Ch. 4: Can Unconventional Relationships Work?
- Ch. 5: Why People Ride the Escalator, and Step Off
- Ch. 6: Monogamy and the Power of Social Norms
…This is followed by 5 parts, each of which focuses on how relationships can diverge from each of the five hallmarks of Escalator relationships:
Part 2: Nonexclusive Sex and Romance (on relationships that are not monogamous)
- Ch. 6: About Open Relationships
- Ch. 7: Openness for Fun, Exploration and Adventure
- Ch 8: Hearts on the Line: Polyamory
- Ch 9: Not “Just” Friends: the Friend-Lover Specturm
Part 3: Preserving Independence (on relationships that are not life-entwined)
- Ch. 10: In Love, not Live In: Separate Homes
- Ch 11: Long Distance Relationships
- Ch 12: Going Solo
Part 4: Love Among Equals (on relationships that are not hierarchical)
- Ch. 13: Understanding Relationship Hierarchy
- Ch. 14: Egalitarian Relationships
- Ch. 15: Relationship Anarchy: Total DIY Love
Part 5: Love Minus Sex/Romance (on asexual/aromantic identity, and nonsexual/nonromantic relationships)
- Ch. 16: Asexual and Aromantic: Part of the Rainbow
- Ch. 17: More Nonsexual Relationship Options
- Ch 18: Celibacy
Part 6: Not Always and Forever (on flexible, intermittent, or finite relationships)
- Ch. 19: Bending Without Breaking
- Ch. 20: Pauses and Limits
- Ch. 21 Happy, Fuzzy Endings
…The last part of this book, Part 7, will offer a few chapters on several key issues (advantages and tradeoffs) people mentioned about their unconventional relationships, as indicated by responses to my survey.
The wonderful thing about this project is that my cutting room floor is my factory floor. I pulled two huge chunks out of the original draft manuscript which will become the second and third books in the Off the Escalator series: a short book answering five common questions about unconventional relationships; and a meatier book that addresses being out vs. closeted, and how to make the world a friendlier place for unconventional relationships.
I prefer to keep my projects moving, and at times it’s been quite daunting to see that I’m still not done yet. Admittedly I’m doing this the hard way — all by myself. But since I’m trying to not just write one book but create an ongoing resource (and build a business around it so I can support myself on this mission), I really have needed to do much of this myself, to create a strong foundation. It’s been humbling — but I keep looking at what I’ve done so far, how far I’ve come, and how much support, encouragement and insight I’ve gotten from friends, family and strangers… And I think: Not freaking shabby, after all!
I’m confident that when this book is finished, it’ll be readable and useful to a broad audience — to anyone who wants to think more deeply about intimacy and the social norms influencing intimate relationships, as well as people who are actively involved or interested in unconventional intimate relationships. It’ll help people recognize aspects of themselves, and the people they love, more clearly, and empower them with ways to think and talk about how they wish to connect with others. Even if they ultimately prefer to stick with every step of the Relationship Escalator, they’ll be able to make this a conscious choice.
OK, back to work….